The area to be restored is just off the Songhees Walkway located immediately adjacent to Victoria International Marina in the City of Victoria’s Lime Bay Park. Project objectives include restoration and enhancement of important cultural and ecological values of the shoreline. The project will provide educational opportunities for Victoria area communities and shoreline practitioners to learn about the benefits of nature-based Green Shores practices for enhancing shoreline resiliency to climate change. The restoration techniques will also reintroduce and maintain vital nutrient and sedimentary processes and provide spawning habitat for species of forage fish which are a vital link in the marine food web.
“We are proud to deliver this shoreline and forage fish habitat enhancement project alongside our valued partners and funders and contribute to the ecological, economic, and cultural values of the Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Victoria Naturehood, and traditional Territories of the Lekwungen People.”
Kyle Armstrong, Restoration Coordinator, Peninsula Streams and Shorelines
Peninsula Streams and Shorelines is working with its partners, and coastal engineering firm Coastal Geologic Services on the project design including a backshore planting plan that will establish native vegetation in place of invasive plants, provide habitat for shoreline organisms and help to protect the foreshore environment from erosion. The project design has also been informed by innovative use of ground-penetrating radar technology to map the location of bedrock along the backshore.
Ground penetrating radar data collection at Songhees Walkway Pocket Beach. Photo credit: Kyle Armstrong
Cultural Focus: Songhees Nation and Esquimalt Nation
The demonstration site is located at Mud Bay within the traditional territory of the lək̓ʷəŋən People known today as the Songhees Nation and Esquimalt Nation. Relationship building has been ongoing with the Nations and through these collaborative efforts, feedback was received that the Songhees Nation would like to use the site for landing canoes as was once possible at the site evident in the historical photo below. Mud Bay was used extensively in the past for trading and has a long history of settlement and occupation both pre and post colonization. This design feature will facilitate a Songhees initiative to develop cultural marine tours in the Victoria Harbour Indigenous tourism: Songhees Nation plans marine tours that honour its culture. The scope of the restoration project was directed to reflect this anticipated use of the shoreline, with a redesigned backshore area that provides easier access from the water with gentler slopes.
As this site is within a Designated Cultural Resource Site, protocols are being followed including a cultural assessment of the backshore. This work is being led by the City of Victoria Parks Department in collaboration with the Province and the First Nations.
"Songhees Nation is pleased to be collaborating with the Peninsula Streams Society on the Resilient Coasts for Salmon: Songhees Walkway restoration project. The restoration of this pocket beach will aid in reclaiming and restoring our Lekwungen sites’ ecological and cultural values. We are proud to take another step towards combating climate change and contributing to the health and well-being of our territorial lands."
Enrollment of the project as Green Shores for Shoreline Development has been completed. The project plan and budgets are being finalized, and construction is expected to commence in late summer/early fall 2022. Discussions regarding the creation of interpretative signage are ongoing and will be led by the Songhees Nation.