Douglas Creek

The Douglas Creek watershed covers 524 hectares.
It is located in the district of Saanich on southern Vancouver Island.

One hundred and forty years of development has changed the watershed from forest to farm, to its present state of 5000 properties.
Much of the original stream channel of Douglas Creek and its upper tributaries were covered over as development progressed.
About 1.1 km of the lower stream remains. It flows south to north through the easterly portion of Mount Douglas Park.
The riparian ecosystem, along the stream, is largely intact and is a fair example of the biodiversity of coastal Douglas Fir forests.

However, the developed portion of the watershed is having an ongoing impact on stream habitat.

Douglas Creek Watershed Map

The problems are typical of urbanized watersheds everywhere - erratic water quantity due to a high percentage of impervious area, degraded water quality, and diminished aquatic ecosystem biodiversity.
The stream channel shows all the effects of seasonal flood water - eroded stream banks, a channel that is deeply incised into a clay substrate, gravel loss, and a lack of large woody debris.
Pollutants enter the stream as chemicals from automobiles, lawns and driveways.

Continued urbanization is having an impact on this locally important stream.
A community-wide commitment is needed to preserve and restore Douglas Creek.


The society has been constantly battling invasive plants such as ivy and broom which are taking over fragile ecosystems.
Since 1995, they have been studying the effects of stormwater runoff (both quality and quantity) in the watershed, restoring fish habitat to Douglas Creek, and increasing public awareness of the problems and what can be done.


At the outset, the Friends of Mount Douglas Park Society realized that the stream's restoration was a long-term project.
For ease of understanding, the group divided the project into categories considered to be factors in the destruction/restoration of the creek.
They are: water quality, channel morphology, hydrology, habitat complexity, riparian function, biotic community, nutrient regime, and human awareness of environmental/social issues at the watershed scale.

The group has undertaken water quality and quantity monitoring, benthic sampling, salmonid transplant, and in-stream habitat enhancement.

  • The water quality monitoring that has been done, using Streamkeeper's protocol, shows excellent water quality for the times sampled. However, benthic invertebrate sampling indicates very poor water quality.
    Events have shown what common sense indicates - that poor quality water periodically flushes through the stream, diminishing the aquatic community. This problem is being addressed at the watershed level by public education events, and by working toward implementation of stormwater best management practices for the watershed.
  • The creek has marginal habitat, but coho fry have been introduced at various stages of their lifecycle. Transplanted eyed coho eggs have been held in "Scotty Condominiums" in the stream. Since 1999, the creek has produced smolts.
  • High summer stormwater flow, that results from rainstorms, has destroyed some of the introduced coho fry.
  • The group is working on long-term habitat improvement for coho.
    Large woody debris has been added to the channel, using channel-spanning natural windfalls.
    The municipal Arbouriculture crew cuts and drops one end of the tree into the stream. The submerged end then catches organic debris and captures gravel for spawning, while creating a sheltered pool for fry to live in.
  • The group is also transplanting chum salmon fry. Chum adults and fry are not present in streams during summer months when water quality is an issue. The adult chum can provide a public awareness benefit, when they spawn in the creek in the fall.
  • In fall 2002, the group transplanted 100 chum carcasses into the stream to add the marine derived nutrients to the stream ecosystem.

The Friends of Mount Douglas Park Society is committed to restoring what they can as opportunities present themselves.


Bob Bridgeman, Director for Streams
Friends of Mount Douglas Park Society
1481 Elnido Road
Victoria, BC, V8N 4Z7

Tom Rutherford
Community Advisor for Lower Vancouver Island,
including the southern Gulf Islands and Cowichan River Watershed
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Box 241 - 5653 Club Road
Duncan, BC, V9L 3X3
Phone: 250-746-5137
Fax: 250-746-8397
Web: Fisheries and Oceans Canada - Community Advisors

June 20, 2003
February 20, 2006