Welcome to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration!

The United Nations declared the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) and calls upon everyone — from governments to multinational companies, to school children — to get involved in reviving damaged ecosystems.  Saanich has committed to participating in this exciting initiative.

For a great example of ecosystem restoration check out this video featuring the Colquitz River Restoration at East Copley Park. 

Ecological restoration work is an important part of:

  • supporting biodiversity,           
  • remedying soils,                       
  • contributing to reconciliation by learning about and planting native species that are intrinsically linked to Indigenous peoples,              
  • and fostering our own relationship with nature.

In line with this initiative, we are committed to stewardship and restoring natural habitats through initiatives with partners and volunteers. Find out more below!

Trail closure and restoration

We have increased the amount of restoration projects over the last few years; from waterway restoration on Swan and Mount Douglas Creeks to small sites scattered throughout our many natural area parks.

Planting during 2015 Tree Appreciation Day


Invasive Plant Species Removal 

Staff and volunteers are creating opportunities to restore sites with native plants like Sword fern, Salal, Hardhack, Oregon Grape, Rose, Elderberry, Mock Orange and many more.

  • Pulling Together Volunteer Program Browning Park - old blackberry patchstaff and volunteers spend more than 10,000 hours each year removing invasive species. 
  • Many school and youth groups also help get rid of invasive plants.


Trail Closures

Please support restoration work by staying on dedicated trails and keeping pets out of restoration areas as these activities may have a negative impact by: 

  • Compacting soil
  • Damaging new plants
  • Spreading invasive plants, such as Garlic Mustard spread because of off-trail use in Mount Douglas Park

Sensitive wet area with skunk cabbage

Natural areas parks have well established trail systems to help the public explore and experience the diverse ecosystems within Saanich.

Split rail at Mt. Doug Creek

We use split rail fencing, mulching and planting to restrict access and restore many of these sites.


Creek Restoration

We’re restoring Douglas Creek to help restore fish habitat and bank stability. Parks and Public Works crews have worked on this project together.

Restoring creek bed

Other waterway restoration projects by staff and volunteers include Swan, Todd, Bowker and Colquitz Creeks.

These habitat restoration projects have significantly enhanced fish habitat. We have many dedicated Saanich residents to thank.

We are also managing Purple Loosestrife and Yellow Flag Iris along several water ways including Colquitz Creek and Viaduct Flats.

Yellow flag iris at Whitehead ParkVolunteers removing Yellow flag iris at Whitehead Park

Volunteers carefully dig out invasive plants by hand before they go to seed. This slows the spread of the plant and helps native species re-establish.


Feature projects

Cuthbert Holmes Park

Cuthbert Holmes Park has undergone many changes in the past, and there are many exciting changes yet to come.  These changes will be completed over 5 years and will further goals set out in the Cuthbert Holmes/Tillicum Parks Management Plan.pond created in Cuthbert Holmes Park surrounded by woody debris to provide wildlife habitat

self-guided interpretive video helps shed light on the key habitat restoration projects and why they matter. Check out more about work going on in this park.

restoration area newly planted in Cuthbert Holmes Park


Layritz Park

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure funded Garry Oak restoration project at Layritz Park is in its second year of a ten-year restoration commitment. Parks’ Natural Areas staff have been removing invasive plant species and planting native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants to help diversify the Garry Oak ecosystem.

Alongside this, a new pathway and boardwalk have just been built to help buffer the restoration work from invasive species and to provide trail users the ability to interact with the restoration project. The ~37m boardwalk was built through a sensitive wet site that has many diverse plants, in the hope not to disturb the slow seepage.

Staff will also build benches and other features on the new viewing platform to provide our community with a destination picnic site. In the future, interpretive signs will be installed along the trail to help inform our community about Saanich’s Naturescape program and our commitment to the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem restoration. Over one hundred native trees will also be planted in Layritz park later this fall by Urban Forestry staff.