Colquitz River Watershed
The Colquitz River watershed lies within the Coastal Douglas-fir biogeoclimatic zone and includes a variety of land types from dry rocky outcrops to low-lying marshy lands with underlying clay and/or peat soils. Ecosystems found throughout this large watershed are varied, including Garry oak meadows
, one of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada, mature Douglas fir forests
with diverse understorey vegetation, low-lying wet sites with western red cedar, skunk cabbage and other associated plants, and wetlands such as those at Viaduct Flats, Rithet’s Bog, Quick’s Bottom and around Swan Lake. Riparian areas
along the Colquitz are vitally important for the health of the watershed and creek and the creatures that live there, providing food, shelter and helping to filter runoff that enters the creek. Riparian vegetation provides a buffer that stabilizes the stream banks, helps prevent erosion, and shades the creek which helps modulate the water temperature. Leaf litter from the trees and shrubs overhanging the stream are a food source for insects that in turn are food for fish, birds and other animals.
Streamside habitats of the Colquitz and some of its tributaries are gradually being restored thanks to efforts by local government and community volunteers. Damage to the watershed from urbanization, agriculture and industrial activity has compromised the proper ecological functioning of this urban creek. This trend is being slowly reversed, through habitat restoration and invasive species management.