There are 19 significant watersheds that drain into Sooke Bay, Inlet, Harbour and Basin. Eighteen of these watersheds are within the District of Sooke boundaries and fourteen of these watersheds are known to be fish bearing. Stormwater flows and the receiving environment are monitored and reported annually to assess the efficacy of rainwater management plans and initiatives occurring in the watersheds.
Rainwater Management Plans
Rainwater Management Plans (RWMP) are developed to guide “on-the-ground” solutions to rainwater management issues at a watershed scale. All watersheds in the District were reviewed as part of the LWMP study to identify priority streams for RWMP review. The highest priority watersheds identified for RWMP development were the Ella Stream, Nott Brook, Throup Stream and Wright Road Creek. The three primary objectives of this RWMP are to:
- Protect public safety and private property from flood damage;
- Protect and enhance ecological health and function of the watersheds, riparian areas and watercourses; and
- Improve water quality in watercourses and receiving waters.
The development of the RWMP was guided by the vision and goals of other District of Sooke plans including the Official Community Plan (OCP), the Sooke Master Transportation Plan, the District Parks and Trails Master Plan, the Sooke Town Centre Plan, and the LWMP. The RWMP provides a vehicle to manage the rainwater and watersheds off all these plans.
The field reviews and development of hydrotechnical and ecological watershed inventories identified known flooding and erosion locations as well as aquatic and riparian habitat enhancement opportunities such as removal of invasive species, planting native riparian vegetation, improving channel complexity and improving fish passage through culverts. The results indicate that several reaches of the watercourses in the study area are properly functioning and some are showing significant signs of erosion and degradation of the stream channels. Improved implementation and enforcement of rainwater BMPs and restoration of these reaches is needed to improve and protect the ecological health of the watercourses.
The Capital Regional District (CRD) Integrated Watersheds Management Program (IWMP), in cooperation with the District of Sooke, works to limit impacts of contaminated stormwater runoff on the environment and to protect public health. This report provides the results of work completed in 2013 as part of the program.
Historical reports are available on the CRD website.
The District of Sooke has a growing population of approximately 11,500 residents, and varied land uses (i.e., residential, commercial, agricultural and institutional). These land use activities and increasing property development and expansion of businesses and industry in the District of Sooke have the potential to impact stormwater quality.
In the past, failing on-site sewage systems have resulted in elevated fecal coliform levels (an indicator of sewage contamination) in stormwater flows, watercourses and the marine environment in the District of Sooke. However, in January 2006, a sewage collection system and secondary wastewater treatment plant was completed. Since then, the majority of residential properties and businesses have connected to the collection system. IWMP continues to monitor stormwater flows and the receiving environment for changes in environmental fecal coliform levels due to sewage collection and treatment.