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Restoration and Stewardship

“To love a place is not enough. We must find ways to heal it. We need acts of restoration, not only for polluted waters and degraded lands, but also for our relationship to the world.”

- Robin Wall Kimmerer


We are working to demonstrate that ecological restoration and conservation can co-exist with agriculture.


For the farmed areas, this includes soil and biodiversity restoration through regenerative agricultural practices, rotational grazing, and through the Soil Lab


A large part of Sandown will be devoted to restoration and stewardship of the land's natural ecosystems, including a former Garry Oak meadow, seasonal wetlandand a 20-acre Coastal Douglas fir forest.

We rely heavily on volunteers to support our restoration efforts! Learn more about how you can join in and help restore this land! 

Seasonal Wetland - Part of the Tseycum Creek Watershed 

W̱S͸ḴEM means “place of clay,” in the SENĆOŦEN language. The clay-rich subsoil of the area holds water and makes for slow drainage, features that are synonymous with wetlands. Wetlands provide several important ecosystem services, including:


  • Creating habitats that support populations of fish, mammals, birds, amphibians, and pollinators

  • Easing water shortages and drought

  • Providing flood control

  • Maintaining natural drainage and preventing soil erosion

  • Filtering contaminants from waterways 


Restoring the water quality and available habitats of W̱S͸ḴEM creek is a major objective of the Sandown Centre. W̱S͸ḴEM creek flows within a 947-acre watershed in North Saanich; the southeastern portion of the watershed enters the 83-acres of Sandown before leaving the land on its way to the mouth at Patricia Bay on the W̱S͸ḴEM reserve. An engineered stormwater management system exists on-site and water flows into the land in a highly variable state from the nearby industrial area.


As stormwater pools and flows through Sandown it is essential that the water be filtered on-site, to mitigate water quality issues and protect the ecological integrity of W̱S͸ḴEM creek. 

There are several invasive species that are a threat to the creek, including non-migratory Canada geese, American bullfrogs, reed canary grass, ivy, broom, thistle, and Himalayan blackberry. American bullfrogs and Canada geese are of particular concern as they have the potential to substantially affect the wetlands. American bullfrogs grow prodigiously, reproduce rapidly, and feed on a wide range of prey including native frogs. Thus, there are two main objectives that are ongoing while the long-term restoration plan is developed. 

1. Monitor Water Quality

Water testing of W̱S͸ḴEM creek is conducted every two weeks while the creek is running. Samples are gathered as the water enters the easternmost point of Sandown by Canadian Tire, as it leaves the main field, and as it leaves the entire property. The protocols were developed with the support of the Peninsula Streams Society.

2. Control Bullfrog Populations

American bullfrogs are an invasive species on-site that is of particular concern as they have the potential to significantly affect the wetlands. Substantial mitigation work has been completed with the support of the BC Provincial Government, District of North Saanich, and Stan Orchard's bullfrog control services. Approximately 500 tadpoles were culled in 2022 using minnow traps and a further 300 frogs were culled by Stan Orchard in 2021 and 2022. These included three mature females who can lay at least 60,000 eggs each!

Forest Stewardship

Sandown is responsible for a 20-acre Coastal Douglas fir forest, filled with Douglas fir, cedar, native shrubs and understory plants, as well as significant invasive species pressure. 

There is an overwhelming amount of ivy lining the forest floor, as well as Himalayan blackberry. These two species have the potential to completely take over an ecosystem, choking out native species, and impacting the biodiversity and habitat capacity of the forest. We are working to remove the ivy and blackberry, and develop and implement a long-term restoration plan for the forest.  

We are very fortunate to have a dedicated group of forest stewards leading the way in this ambitious project! Interested in becoming a forest steward? Learn more here!

Garry Oak Ecosystem

A few noble Garry oaks remain in the fields at Sandown, pointing to its history as a Garry oak meadow. Most of Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula would have been Garry oak meadows prior to European settlement, and these ecosystems were incredibly significant landscapes, cultivated by the local First Nations people.


We are in the early stages of developing a restoration plan, with the goal of re-establishing a 20-acre Garry oak ecosystem at Sandown. Stay tuned for more information in 2024!


You can learn more about Garry oak ecosystems from the Garry oak ecosystems recovery team here

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