Bowker Creek Biodiversity Day

Kings Community Nature Space

August 12, 2023

1:00pm – 4:00pm

Saturday, August 12, 2023 (1pm – 4pm)

Come celebrate with Friends of Bowker Creek at KINGS COMMUNITY NATURE SPACE (enter from 1800 block Kings Rd or Haultain St) on Saturday, AUGUST 12 2023, from 1:00-4:00 pm. Bring the whole family for this free event, featuring music by The Bald Eagles Band, games, crafts, and ice cream. Learn about the creek and the great vision for its future. 

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Bowker Creek

Bowker Creek is coming back to life. It flows almost 10 kilometres through Saanich, Victoria and Oak Bay, but urban development in the 1900s buried most of the channel as a storm sewer. Now, the three municipalities are working together to restore the creek as a treasured public asset–partners in “a 100-year action plan”: The Bowker Creek Blueprint. A key purpose of the Blueprint is preventing flood and drought effects from climate change by restoring the creek and managing rainwater better. Volunteer groups are also working to bring back salmon in the creek and natural habitat on its banks. Diverse birds, insects, animals and plants are returning and thriving.

Expanding The Vision

This decade, people are seeing climate change and habitat destruction close to home. Heat domes and atmospheric rivers, massive fires, and floods are directly impacting us. And so, restoring Bowker Creek gains new meaning. As municipalities respond to global and local issues with strategies for Urban Forest and Biodiversity Conservation, the Bowker Blueprint vision shines with new possibilities. We picture a living stream that supports a corridor of urban forest, active transportation, adaptation to climate change, natural beauty and wellness, all at the heart of urban density. We envision a Bowker Creek Biodiversity Corridor from the creek’s sources to the sea.

Our Salmon Symbol

Thanks to Sarah Jim, visual artist from Tseycum in W̱SÁNEĆ, that we may use her “Cosmic Salmon” image. Sarah comments about it: “The salmon is a symbol of relationships. They feed the ecosystem and sacrifice themselves to the next generation. Salmon provide nutrients to the land by distribution of countless animals that rely on salmon for food and medicine. The celestial pattern within this salmon is a symbol of the interconnectedness of all things.”

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Meet the Four Indicator Species of the Bowker Creek Biodiversity Corridor:

Townsend’s warbler (Urban Tree Canopy Zone)

Townsend’s warblers nest in mature conifer trees. They typically feed high in forest canopies, combing insects off conifer buds and needles. During migration, look for them in alder and willow thickets. Birders have observed Townsend’s warblers at Kings Community Nature Space and their numbers could grow as urban tree canopy expands along the Bowker Creek corridor.

Green comma butterfly (Riparian Zone)

Butterflies are highly selective when choosing the host plants where they lay their eggs. Green comma butterflies prefer native species of willow and alder, two plant families typically abundant in healthy riparian zone ecosystems. A riparian corridor, dense with willow shrubs and alder trees would help Green comma butterflies thrive along Bowker Creek.

Chum salmon (In-Stream Zone)

Successful returns of Chum salmon are a litmus test for a healthy in-stream zone. Chum require good habitat and water quality. Volunteers now incubate Chum salmon eggs in Bowker Creek’s gravel and the juvenile salmon migrate downstream to the Salish Sea. A healthy in-stream zone will allow adult Chum to return, spawn, and sustain their population over generations.

Mayflies (Hyporheic Zone)

Mayflies are a key indicator species for a healthy hyporheic zone in a healthy stream. A mayfly lives only a day or two as an adult fly, but many months as an aquatic nymph, beneath rocks in the hyporheic zone. Abundant nymphs of Mayflies, as well as Caddisflies and Stoneflies, would denote clean, well-oxygenated water, free from pollution