Saanich Parks and a community advisory group completed a Management Plan for Haro Woods Park in 2018. Among other things the plan identified the need to assess Finnerty Creek to identify any detrimental factors and the measures needed to address them in order to improve the environmental health and function of the creek and its riparian area.
The main findings of the 2019 assessment [PDF - 13 MB] are below.
Finnerty Creek remains above ground only on the University of Victoria’s property and in Haro Woods Park. The creek is ephemeral and may disappear completely in the summer months and does not support fish. Despite having been impacted by human activities and invasive plants the creek and riparian area contribute to the area’s general ecology, and improvements to its health will help support local biodiversity.
Several issues have been identified
1. Issue: undefined stream channel
The creek’s channel is undefined in some areas, causing its water to flow over the forest floor.
Remediation measures: channel reconstruction
The assessment report’s guidelines will be used to create a shallow stream channel where the creek is unconfined. Rock and large woody debris will be strategically placed to prevent erosion and provide wildlife habitat.
2. Issue: diversion from natural course
Much of the creek’s flow is diverted from its original course when it crosses and flows into a gravel-filled trench containing a sewer line.
Remediation measures: trench dam and channel reconstruction
A ‘trench dam’ will be constructed to prevent the water from flowing into the gravel-filled trench, and redirect it to its original course. The original stream channel will be defined, and armored with rock and large woody debris to create wildlife habitat.
3. Issue: vegetation and soil disturbance
The creek’s riparian area has been impacted by foot and bicycle traffic, and invasive plants.
Remediation measures: limit access and restore
Unplanned trails in riparian areas (and elsewhere) that were created by bikes and foot traffic will be closed and replanted where necessary to allow native vegetation to reclaim them. Riparian areas and restoration sites within them will be protected by low split rail fencing and supported by educational signs.
4. Issue: invasive plants
The native forest understory is limited in some areas due to the proliferation of invasive exotic plants.
Remediation measures: invasive plant control
Invasive plants are very difficult to eradicate or control and volunteers are key to reducing their number in Saanich parks. On-going invasive plant removals are done by Saanich staff and Pulling Together volunteers.
Remediation measures will be undertaken over the next 5 years.