What We Do

The Gorge Waterway Action Society (GWAS) is focused on environmental education, primarily through the Gorge Waterway Nature House. It also conducts restoration, conservation, and stewardship programs in the Gorge. 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. We do this through our active board, volunteers, and the university summer students we employ.

Environmental Education

GWAS supports environmental education in the community through our involvement with the Gorge Waterway Nature House located in Esquimalt Gorge Park. Specifically, GWAS manages the human resources at the Nature House, staffing it with volunteers and summer students.

The Nature House has numerous education programs catered to all age ranges and learning levels. With the interactive Seaquaria Aquarium touch tank, watershed model, and surrounding urban forest and wetlands, there are endless applications for the space.

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.

Shoreline Restoration & Conservation

GWAS focuses its restoration efforts in and around Esquimalt Gorge Park both conducting our own projects and collaborating with existing community groups working on the Gorge to supply support to their projects and fill existing voids in restoration work. In 2016, we focused on the removal of invasive and parasitic species in Esquimalt Gorge Park. In the summer of 2017, we conducted a GWAS directed restoration project and a Gorge-wide directory of past and current terrestrial, riparian, and marine restoration and stewardship projects on the Gorge to create a more comprehensive overview of the habitat restoration efforts. We have also completed two extensive biophysical inventories of the salt marsh and the forest behind the Nature House. GWAS continues to work with the University of Victoria through the UVic Restoration of Natural Systems program.

Water and Land Stewardship

The Gorge Waterway Action Society supports stewardship to achieve the short, medium and long term goals of protection, enhancement and restoration of the Gorge. 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.  

Water Quality and Clean Ups

The Gorge Waterway Action Society participates in and also organizes cleanups of the waterway and shoreline.