Graham and Tetayut Creeks, downstream of Keating Industrial Park, have regularly experienced high levels of pollution. In response, Peninsula Streams is working on a watershed protection initiative focused on educating businesses in the Industrial Park.
The Keating Industrial Park is located on the border of the ḰENNES (Hagan-Graham) and Tetayut watersheds in Central Saanich, with the ḰENNES watershed draining to the west and Tetayut draining to the east. Water quality in these watersheds has been monitored monthly by dedicated Peninsula Streams & Shorelines (PSS) volunteers, led by the late Denis Coupland (1940-2023), since 2006. Having a long term water quality dataset is invaluable to understanding stream health and identifying potential pollution inputs. Water quality data has over the decades revealed occurrences of high pollutant levels in Graham and Tetayut Creeks downstream of Keating Industrial Park.
PSS Volunteers (from left to right) Bruce Harding, Denis Coupland, Jim Kirby, Mary Haig-Brown and Adam, doing water quality sampling on Hagan Creek.
Photo Credit: Newton Hockey.
In 2006 and 2007, in response to poor water quality downstream of the Keating area, Peninsula Streams undertook a stormwater management educational campaign for businesses in the Keating Industrial Park. Thanks to the cooperation of many Keating businesses, water quality dramatically improved for years ensuing this initiative. Unfortunately, pollution levels are returning to unsafe levels and there is a need for another campaign to reeducate the Keating business community. An initiative mirroring what was done in 2006/2007 is being launched again this year, in the Spring of 2023, thanks to funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Ecoaction community funding program.
By mailing out information about local watersheds and stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP’s), administering a confidential stormwater management survey, and doing door-to-door site visits, PSS is educating businesses on pollution prevention and offering the opportunity for businesses to take leadership in watershed stewardship.
We hope to raise awareness that Keating Industrial properties drain into fish bearing creeks. One of our educational handouts reads, “the first step to becoming a watershed steward is to understand your location in local watersheds,” alongside a map of the Keating area delineating the boundary between the KENNES and Tetayut catchment areas, and showing Tetayut, Stevens, and Graham Creek. Businesses are asked to locate themselves on the watershed map and encouraged to reflect on their proximity to fish bearing streams.
The stormwater management survey offers an opportunity to reflect on how business practices may lead to stormwater pollution, encourages the adoption of Best Management Practices, and provides opportunities for businesses to share positive actions they have taken. Staff will do site visits to engage in conversation with businesses about stormwater practices. A culminating report will confidentially present results of the survey, and a community meeting will be hosted for Keating businesses to discuss results and facilitate dialogue between business owners.
Photo Credit: Ian Bruce.
PSS hopes to promote innovative strategies for managing stormwater such as through the creation of rain gardens. The PSS ‘Rain Gardens for Headwaters Program’, would like to facilitate the creation of more rain gardens in the Tetayut and ḰENNES Watersheds, whether that be in collaboration with businesses in the Keating Industrial Park, local schools or other enthusiastic partners who are looking to innovate and beautify stormwater management on their properties. See our rain gardens blog post for more information on this low cost, high impact green stormwater infrastructure.
Businesses like JSF Coatings, Islander Reels and Category 12 Brewing have already been excellent participants and supporters of this watershed protection initiative. PSS staff look forward to working with other businesses on this project. In the coming months, look out for PSS “Pollution Prevention Partner” stickers in the windows of businesses in the Keating Industrial Park that are taking action to adopt BMP’s and improve local water quality.
Look out for this sticker displayed at Keating businesses.
This stormwater education initiative is in response to water quality monitoring done by volunteers- exemplifying how impactful long standing volunteer stewardship, by people like Denis Coupland, can be. In addition to working on the business front through the Keating Industrial Initiative, PSS is working to revitalise the KENNES Stewardship group. From community stewardship groups, to responsible business stewardship, everyone has a role to play in a healthy watershed.
Thanks again to Environment and Climate Change Canada for funding this project.
Article in Peninsula News Review: