Natural Environment

Five rare and ecologically fragile ecosystems of Vancouver Island are found in Central Saanich; the natural environment is as rich and diverse as it is breathtaking. The District is committed to maintaining a harmonious relationship with the natural environment. Central to that philosophy is to retain, protect and enhance the range of environments, which include marine shoreline, farmland, wetland, creeks and streams, treed ecosystems, and environmentally sensitive areas.

Protecting our environment

Native plants

Native plants help restore our natural heritage and ecosystems, while also being  easy to maintain, disease and drought tolerant and attracting beneficial insects. In addition, they provide food and shelter for wildlife and help enrich soils and reduce erosion and runoff. See our Native Plant Guide for a list of suitable plants.

Complementary to planting native plants, is managing invasive ones. Do you spend time monitoring, photographing or observing insects? If so, your help is needed to watch for and report invasive and migratory insect pests that harm plants, causing damage to Canada’s environment, farm lands, forests, parks and other natural areas. Early detection is critical for slowing the spread of these insect pests. View the poster to learn more about priority insect pests to watch out for at

Native plant restoration work in Centennial Park 

For more than a decade, Central Saanich Parks staff have been working to replant native species in Centennial Park. Learn about the native species (you can use them in your own garden) in the three-part video series here:

Each November, Central Saanich residents are invited get their hands dirty planting trees and native plants at Tree Appreciation Day. The planting takes place in a new location each year; in 2021, the event focused on the restoration work at Centennial Park, and included education on indigenous plants and uses by elder Earl Claxton Jr. of the Tsawout First Nation, a tree planting demo by Central Saanich Parks staff, a planting of native shrubs and edible fruit trees in the Centennial Park orchard and a planting of trees along the baseball diamond. Please watch for the event each November! 

Tree canopy management

Tree preservation is a recognized climate mitigation measure. Not only are trees key to carbon sequestration, they can also support storm water management, reduce the urban heat island effect, provide habitat and enhance biodiversity. Central Saanich has seen significant tree canopy loss, and is working to slow current loss and eventually increase our canopy cover. Our Tree Management Bylaw regulates the cutting, removal or damaging of trees and sets requirements for replacing trees.

Did you know?

  • One large tree can provide a day’s oxygen for up to four people.
  • Trees capture carbon and become carbon ‘sinks’ which reduce the Greenhouse Effect. (You need about 500 full-sized trees to absorb the carbon dioxide produced by a typical car driven 20,000 km/year.)
  • Trees provide shelter for wildlife.
  • Trees intercept rainfall and reduce run-off, thereby functioning like retention/detention basins.
  • Trees have a psychological impact of trees on people’s moods, emotions and enjoyment of their surroundings.

Sensitive areas

A number of areas in the District have been identified as a Development Permit area for the protection of the natural environment, its ecosystems and biological diversity.  These areas include:

  • Riparian and Sensitive Aquatic Ecosystems (creeks, streams etc)
  • Marine Shoreline
  • Sensitive Terrestrial Ecosystems

More information on these areas is available in the Official Community Plan or in the Planning section here.

Stormwater drainage

Stormwater has an ongoing impact on the quality of freshwater and marine environments. Careful management ensures discharge does not adversely impacts the marine environment. Central Saanich's Integrated Stormwater Management Plan identifies projects to improve rainwater runoff impacts. The three large watersheds in Central Saanich are Hagan-Graham, Tetayut and McHugh-Noble.

Pesticide use

Pesticide use is prohibited, by bylaw no. 1688, on any public land in Central Saanich. Pesticide is the general term for any substance designed to eliminate undesired insects, weeds, rodents, fungi, bacteria and other organisms. Pesticides come in many forms and can be categorized as insecticides (for insects), herbicides (for weeds), and fungicides (for fungal diseases). To determine if a product is a pesticide check the label. Any product that has a Pest Control Product or PCP number near the list of ingredients is a pesticide. Central Saanich uses natural controls and alternatives on public property.

Rodenticide use

Rats and mice can cause property damage and health problems. The most effective and economical long-term solution to get rid of a rodent problem (and prevent it from happening again) is to use an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. When prevention is not successful, snap traps or electronic traps are considered the best treatment option. Rodenticides are highly toxic and can pose a risk to people, pets and wildlife.  Many rodenticides have restricted uses in B.C. Visit to learn more.


The District’s shoreline areas have high ecological values. Due to their physical and biological characteristics, these areas need to be carefully managed to avoid potential negative impacts of development. In addition to shoreline areas, the natural environment is significant in the District of Central Saanich. The province identifies three rare and ecologically fragile terrestrial ecosystems in the District. These areas include Older Forest, Woodland, and Terrestrial Herbaceous Ecosystems.


Bylaws and Policies