Our volunteer Bonnie carefully plants sedges around the newly constructed off-channel pond.

The Hagan-Graham Watershed is one of the largest on the Saanich Peninsula, spanning almost all of the Municipality of Central Saanich. The watershed is made up of two streams:  Hagan Creek and Graham Creek. Hagan Creek has several small tributaries and originates in the north from Mt. Newton.  Graham Creek originates just south of the Central Saanich border in the area between West Saanich Road and Old West Saanich Road.

The Hagan-Graham Watershed is impacted by a variety of human uses including, industry and agriculture.  Of particular concern is the pollution entering the watershed through the storm drain system.  Consistently high pollution levels, including heavy metals, hydrocarbons and fecal coliforms, have been measured near storm drains in the Keating Industrial area.

Several restoration projects have been completed in the lower Hagan-Graham Watershed.

A partnership was formed in 1997 between the University of Victoria, the Institute of Ocean Sciences, Woodwynn Farms and the Tsartlip First Nation to undertake the ecological restoration of this major watershed in Central Saanich.  The first project undertaken, in cooperation with the Municipal District, was the recreation of pools and riffles and bank stabilization of Graham Creek as it flows through Centennial Park.  Trails along the creek were also fenced to prevent trampling of the banks and to allow riparian plant regrowth.  Within a year of completion, Cutthroat Trout and other natural inhabitants had returned to the Park.

Next came the building of pools and riffles and encouragement of natural meanders on a major portion of Hagan Creek as it flows through Woodwynn Farms in the lower Mount Newton Valley.  The riparian area was fenced and a program of tree planting was commenced which still continues.

In recent years, the major focus has been on similar stream restoration and riparian planting on a one kilometer stretch of Hagan Creek in the upper Mount Newton Valley on three adjacent farm properties.  This year, a wetlands pond fed by artesian springs was added to the complex.

Next year, attention will focus on restoring the natural function of the Vickery Ponds on the slopes of Mount Newton near the northern headwaters of Hagan Creek.

 

Graham Creek

 
Graham Creek once flowed through old growth Douglas fir forests and a biologically rich wetland on its way to Saanich Inlet.  The ‘riparian zone’ along its banks helped to ensure adequate amounts of cool, well-oxygenated water for the cutthroat trout and aquatic life that inhabited the creek.
 
Over the last 100 years, these conditions have steadily disappeared, as forests were cleared and the stream was straightened for more rapid drainage.  As stream health declined, so has the presence of fish.
 
Restoration measures by local groups and residents have helped to restore the stream and return natural features by building riffles and pools, adding logs and boulders and re-planting the banks.