What We Do

The Gorge Waterway Action Society (GWAS) is registered charity focused on preserving and enhancing the Gorge Waterway through environmental education, restoration, conservation, stewardship, and community involvement. We take on projects that support the ecological health of the Gorge Waterway, as well as the social well-being of the people who live within the watershed.

Environmental Education

The Gorge Waterway Action Society primarily supports environmental education in the community through the operation of the Gorge Waterway Nature House: an interactive environmental education centre located in Esquimalt Gorge Park. Since 2008, GWAS has been privileged to offer numerous education programs at the Nature House, catered to all age ranges and learning levels. With the interactive Seaquaria Aquarium touch tank, watershed model, and surrounding urban forest and wetlands, the Nature House has endless opportunities for environmental education.

Staff and volunteers at the Nature House support the educational team at World Fisheries Trust who facilitate these programs. GWAS also hosts community events to showcase the results of years of restoration work and societal changes in the area.

Restoration & Conservation

The Gorge Waterway Action Society focuses its restoration efforts in and around Esquimalt Gorge Park both individually and in collaboration with other like-minded community groups in the region. GWAS employs a team of motivated university summer students each year who take on targeted restoration and conservation projects throughout the area. This work includes removing invasive and parasitic species throughout the park; planting native species; revitalizing soil health with compost and tilling; conducting biophysical surveys; participating in shoreline and waterway cleanups; monitoring marine and riparian species; and monitoring water quality. In 2021, GWAS also partnered with University of Victoria students in the Restoration of Natural Systems Program to conduct experiential restoration and conservation research projects in the Gorge Waterway, supporting GWAS’s ongoing work and creating exciting new projects.

Stewardship

The Gorge Waterway Action Society supports stewardship initiatives to achieve the long-term protection, enhancement, and restoration of the Gorge Waterway. Initiatives are underway to work with landowners, community groups, and municipalities to develop and implement better Gorge Waterway stewardship. As part of this effort, GWAS is a part of the Gorge Waterway Initiative (GWI), a collaborative community-driven group of organizations concerned with protecting and enhancing the natural and cultural features of the Gorge.