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Rithet's Bog LogoYour Support is Needed NOW if Rithet's Bog is to be Saved!

BARA Bugle (Broadmead Area Residents Association Newsletter),
Fall 2001 - Sharon Hartwell

It’s easy to imagine your first response to that statement: But Rithet’s Bog was saved when it was donated to Saanich for parkland! Well, no - the area was saved from development, yes, but as an ecosystem the Bog is on the critical list. Saanich residents have noticed, and expressed their concern and frustration over the falling water levels and changes in the appearance of Rithet’s Bog Nature Sanctuary. An opportunity is now available to conduct restoration work at the Bog, but it will require the commitment of significant funds by Saanich Council ($50,000 is the initial rough estimate). In this era of economic recession, public support will be crucial to persuade Council to commit the required funds.

Ducks Unlimited Canada has just agreed to take the lead role in planning and implementing water control measures at Rithet’s Bog. This would include building new weirs, opening new channels, and blocking old ditches. The changes would be designed by DU’s hydraulic engineers to maintain optimum water level and quality, restore the rare sphagnum habitat in the centre of the Bog, and create areas of open water to improve waterfowl habitat and provide opportunities for wildlife viewing. The work at Rithet’s Bog would become part of a plan to rehabilitate the entire Colquitz watershed, and would complement existing projects at Viaduct Flats and Quick’s Bottom. The whole project would be undertaken in partnership with the Municipality of Saanich and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, with all parties providing funding and resources.

DFO has already expressed support, but the project will not go ahead unless Saanich agrees to become a fully engaged funding partner with Ducks Unlimited. Saanich Council must commit to the project and allocate funds this autumn in order for work to commence next summer.

And time is critical. The dramatically low levels of rainfall that brought about this year’s water restrictions have accelerated the declining health of the Bog. If restoration work is not commenced next year, we may lose this rare and precious urban bog ecosystem forever.

Your support is crucial. In an era of economic belt-tightening, Saanich Council will commit funds to projects such as this only if councilors believe it is important to substantial numbers of residents. Every voice counts! If you care about the future of the Bog, urge Saanich to commit to this project. Phone or write Mayor and Council. Attend the Council meeting at which Parks submits a request for funding this work, and speak up. [The Parks presentation has not yet been scheduled. Please leave your name and number with Sharon Hartwell at 479-0491, so we can advise you as soon as a date is confirmed.]

Thank you for your support!

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