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The Earth Day that Was
News from the Water Group
Zero Waste Sooke
Letters from our Readers
The Rain Gauge #3
Recycle for Transition Sooke$$
Upcoming Events and Meetings
Your Opinion Matters!!
Your May 2023 TS News
May 15. On my porch, under a fiberglass ceiling in full sun, the thermometer reads about 35 degrees Celsius. Much cooler elsewhere, but impressive. I watch the rhododendrons by the house simultaneously bloom and dry out. I am listening to the CRD delegation to Sooke Council Committee of the Whole Meeting explain its service capacity to Sooke. I am impressed by the informed questions from our local council members on CRD capacity for support for municipal climate action.
Susan Belford
The Earth Day that Was
Climate and environment volunteers turned out in force to staff the Transition Sooke table, and help at the Zero Waste Sooke and 606 Water displays. A cadre of EV owners showed off their vehicles and answered questions.
News from the Water Group!

The Water Group was at the Sooke Country Market for Earth Day. Adults and children all enjoyed seeing the effect of water washing pollutants down into the watershed. Chris’ homemade “Roll the Raindrop” toy was a hit and the kids’ contest to suggest a water saving tip to win a jar of organic Oregon Grape jelly was won in a blind draw. The winner of draw advised “Save rain for the garden”.  

Good news for the 606 Water Group!  The District of Sooke approved its grant application. The grant will cover purchasing a tent for future events and some costs for preparing educational materials.  Thank you, Sooke! 

May 1, the 606 Water Group held its first public meeting in the Library.  About twenty people using varying home water sources (Sooke water system, wells, rainwater harvesting and hauling) attended and had plenty to say. 

A presentation, originally prepared for Sooke Council, showed the effect of development on the water cycle, making specific reference to water sources and distribution in the District of Sooke. Then a short presentation explained how water supply and building codes are not properly aligned for rural developments because we don’t have enough information about the water supply. The meeting ended with a discussion of rainwater harvesting, wells, surface water sources and what should the 606 Water Group do next.

Education and outreach are important roles of the Water Group, helping people learn about the value of watersheds, and how the whole natural world is affected when humans disrupt the natural water cycle for themselves. Several people signed up to volunteer. 

In May, the Water Group will comment on the new Official Community Plan and the old studies and action plans found on file at the District’s  website. We are growing so if you would like to join, email us

Coming up from Zero Waste Sooke

Jigsaw Puzzle & Board Game Swap

Zero Waste Sooke and Sooke branch of Vancouver Island Regional Library are co-sponsoring another free event — a Jigsaw Puzzle & Board Game Swap!

  • Sunday May 28 11:00am to 1:00pm

To learn more, click here.

Letters from our Readers

Credit Where Credit Is Due  
On Earth Day, I noticed that a number of events were organized to bring awareness to climate change issues. Many of the groups that held these events all had a common element - they had found their beginnings within the hub organization “Transition Sooke”.

At a recent Town Council coffee chat, the value of Transition Sooke’s volunteer work was questioned. I strongly disagree with this perception and can point to the many important, ongoing projects that Transition Sooke has inspired and helped start. Groups such as Zero Waste Sooke, Permaculture Sooke, Bike Sooke, the Multi Belief Initiative, Repair Café, Wild Wise Sooke, Sooke Life Long Learning, Climate/OCP, and Sooke’s EV Show & Shine all started with Transition Sooke. These groups attempt to bring community awareness to important issues that we need to think and talk about if we are to create a livable, viable, vibrant town.

Transition Sooke is a non profit society that functions with little financial support, no membership fees and very little grant funding. Its mission statement is clear.

Transition Sooke is a citizen-based, volunteer, public-interest group focused on co-creating a sustainable, resilient and secure community that meets the challenges of the climate emergency in the Sooke region.

This objective is deserving of admiration and the Transition Sooke Logo is worthy of display on all its affiliates activities that promote action on climate change solutions.

Be a proud Transition Sooke volunteer and encourage others to participate. Join us in an adventure for a climate champion community and work for a livable planet.                                                                                                                              
William Wallace

The Rain Gauge #3    Stewardship

The CRD region is comprised of over 300 major watersheds, as well as numerous smaller named and un-named watersheds.    A watershed is the area of land which drains water into a creek, stream or river system. Some are large like the watershed for Sooke Lake. Some are very small.  As you head up the coast past King Creek, Tugwell, Muir, and Kirby there are smaller unnamed streams that sit like narrow fingers on the edge of the land.  During rainfall events all of these watersheds catch and drain water and send it downhill, usually to the ocean. If the rain comes quickly, the water will overwhelm the ability of the ground to soak up and hold onto that water.  Water will flow rapidly over the surface, eroding the topsoil and sending it quickly to the ocean. 

Natural dams and lakes act as buffers to this quick diversion of water, slowing its movement and holding it on the land. Artificial dams and reservoirs found at Sooke Lake and Goldstream also stop and hold the water for later use.  They can also prevent sudden flooding events. On the other hand, if they are filled to 100% at the time of the rainfall, the excess water will flow over the dam and down to the ocean.  

The watershed for the CRD drinking water at Sooke Lake is the only watershed in Canada that bans all entry to the watershed land area. It is therefore well protected from outside contamination. Other areas on the South Island are not so protected. It's important, therefore, to protect against contamination of surface water by watching carefully where developments such as roads, housing and farming are located. 

Salt Spring Island has a well developed team of volunteers that monitors the watersheds and streams of their community. They also have a community well monitoring program of which this column will talk in the future.  

Peninsula Streams and Shorelines Stewardship Programs have been operating since 2002 in 13 of the Greater Victoria watersheds. Their volunteers work with anglers to monitor and improve the watershed and stream systems all over the CRD. From their webpage: “The objectives of these collaborative partnerships are to: educate the public about the importance of watershed resources, to facilitate communication and cooperation in watershed management and to provide volunteers with the training required to protect and restore aquatic and riparian habitat”. In addition, “Our dedicated stewards are also the 'eyes and ears' of local watershed conservation, monitoring stream conditions, counting salmon and alerting authorities when there are problems with local streams.”

To my knowledge, the CRD west of Sooke does not have a coordinated Volunteer group like this to monitor the many streams and watersheds that exist on our coast. Baseline information is important on all watershed areas, not just on fishery streams. This data will show us the changes being made by the climate.  When does the stream stop flowing in the summer?  When does it start in the fall?  What is the impact on water flow, habitat and animals?  What is the health of the stream?  

The answers to these and many other questions will help us to manage the use of watersheds and keep them in healthy operation during the coming decades.  We need to enlist residents to become watershed stewards.  Adopt a local watershed to monitor. If we have volunteers we can get funding to train them to access the health of watersheds and over time we will build a database of information to help us keep watch on the health of our land. 
Chris Moss is a resident of Otter Point 
Recycle for Transition Sooke $$
Transition Sooke has an account with the Sooke Bottle Depot.  All you need to do is take your refundable beverage containers to their depot and tell them know that you are doing this on behalf of Transition Sooke.  Sooke Bottle Depot will forward the funds to Transition Sooke!  
Visit the Bottle Depot at 2023 Idlemore Road. 
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10:30am to 4:30 pm.  Closed Sunday and holidays

Refundable beverage containers accepted:  refundable glass, bottles, and cans (e.g. juice, pop, wine, liquor), wine boxes, milk cartons and plastic milk jugs, rice milk, almond milk, oat milk, coconut milk, plant-based beverages, and milk substitutes.

Help raise funds for Transition Sooke and help save our planet at the same time!
Upcoming Events
May 23   Council Meeting re Official Community Plan                    Municipal Hall
May 28   11am to 1 pm   Jigsaw Puzzle & Board Game Swap       Sooke Library       
Upcoming Transition Sooke Meetings
June 13   Steering Ctte. Meeting
June 14   Monthly Meeting
July  11    Steering Ctte. Meeting
July  12    Monthly Meeting
Aug    9    Steering Ctte. Meeting
Aug   10   Monthly Meeting

To get the zoom link to meetings, please contact us.
Your Opinion Matters!
Your letters and articles in the Sooke News Mirror concerning climate change, nature and ecosystem health, development, and community resilience keep important issues in the public eye. And sending your thoughts about these issues, or Transition Sooke's stance on them to this newsletter helps keep up an ongoing dialogue. If you have a photo you'd like to send the newsletter, a letter to the editor, a short article or a piece of news, please forward it to us. Thank you!
Copyright © 2023 Transition Sooke, All rights reserved.

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