We have been actively repairing degraded sections of Tod Creek for several years. On Tod Creek Flats, our water management plan optimizes and integrates floodplain management, wildlife and fish habitat. The Tod Creek Fishway, completed in 2015, eliminated a barrier to fish passage created by a century-old dam.
Tod Creek watershed is a largely rural residential area, mostly in Saanich, and adjacent to two protected areas, Tod Inlet to the north and Mount Work Regional Park to the west. The watershed is close to the urban core, contains salmon-bearing streams, lakes and endangered upland habitats.
Early settlers altered the ecosystem beginning in the mid-1800s. Farmers drained Tod Creek Flats and moved Tod Creek to the east to make room for crops and other land uses. The Flats soon lost its ecological integrity and the ability to support native fish was diminished.
In the lower reaches of the creek, a dam constructed in the early 1900s to supply water to a cement plant blocked passage for returning adult salmon, after a wooden fishway fell into disrepair in the 1930s. Unfortunately, the robust genetics that were required for fish to ascend the lower river to the fishway were lost at that time.
Watershed management is an ongoing project with the Friends of Tod Creek Watershed. Working in partnership with this stewardship group, our goal is to enhance and restore salmon habitat in the Tod Creek watershed and to re-establish the lost coho salmon runs in Tod and Durrance Creeks.
In 2015 and 2016 we completed a series of new channels in Tod Creek Flats to successfully guide cutthroat and coho smolts trapped by low water levels back into Tod Creek. (Photo of Grant; photo of cutthroat from Webinar)
The Friends of Tod Creek Watershed have removed invasive weeds from the Prospect Lake inlet to Tod Creek and replanted riparian vegetation. The stewardship group also measures water flows, temperature and dissolved oxygen throughout the watershed to evaluate fish habitat.
In 2015 Butchart Gardens constructed a fishway over the dam located in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park to help coho salmon and cutthroat as they travel upstream to spawn. The fishway is about 30 metres long and functions like a ladder, with step pools at progressive heights to help the fish through the dam area.
We operate and maintain a motion-detecting camera at the top of the fishway to count returning fish. This camera was funded by significant donations from the Sidney Anglers Association and Pacific Salmon Foundation.
We also work with Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists on a PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tagging program. Tags are inserted in the body cavity of juvenile coho to track their movement and evaluate where and when to release re-stocked coho in the watershed.
As with all our fish population rebuilding efforts, the Goldstream Volunteer Salmon Enhancement Society, which operates the Goldstream Hatchery, is integral to our programs by providing out-planting stock.
Tod Creek Fishway
The Tod Creek Fishway eliminated a barrier to fish passage created by a century-old dam.
Tod Creek Flats