About the Watershed

News about the Cowichan Watershed and the Cowichan Watershed Board

Groundwater licensing just makes sense

David Slade, Cowichan Valley Citizen, 05 Jan 2017

Some facts on groundwater licensing:

There has been considerable alarm and a lot of confusion related to the new laws around the licensing of groundwater. The fact that well owners are uncertain about how the regulations and fees will affect them is not surprising, since from my own experience the government agencies are still trying to sort it out themselves.

For those who are affected and/or interested, I will try to provide some info and perhaps some rationale.

Pumps to feed dangerously low Cowichan River installed

James Goldie, Cowichan Valley Citizen, Sep 30, 2016

Workers use a large crane to move equipment as pumps are installed.Which leaves one big question: will it be necessary to turn them on?

Last week, crews were hard at work installing the equipment that will ensure water flow over the weir in the event that lake levels drop below 161 metres, which is when the weir reaches “zero storage.” The pumps are located on the north side of the weir near the boat lock.

Climate change threatens survival of Cowichan River

David Anderson, Vancouver Sun, September 23, 2106

During my time as federal Environment and Fisheries Minister I experienced firsthand how climate change was affecting Canada’s environment.  It is by far the most critical challenge that governments of the world are facing. It is not a problem for those living far away or a problem for far in the future. Climate change impacts are showing up right here and they are showing up now.

Eyes on salmon and weather as Cowichan Lake pumps installed

Susan Down, Local News Eye Cowichan, September 20, 2016

Pumps during installationLast week I watched a harbour seal cruise to the mouth of the Cowichan River and then capture and eat a hefty salmon, its tail still flapping until the end. The predatory seals are in position because they know that Cowichan Bay is teeming with fish waiting to begin the arduous journey up the river to spawn. With water levels extremely low this year, the annual salmon spectacle will be even more perilous.

Humans are doing what they can to assist. The river’s north arm has become completely plugged since last year. This week, excavation has begun to remove about 15,000 cubic metres of gravel from river bed.

Cowichan Lake needs a higher weir

Editorial, Times Colonist, September 3, 2016

After years of talking and hand-wringing, those who care about the Cowichan River have to overcome the obstacles and raise the dam. The Cowichan is world-famous for its trout and steelhead fishing. It has been declared one of Canada’s Heritage Rivers. It sustains life and jobs in the Cowichan Valley. It deserves better from us.

Cowichan River primed for pumping and counting

Susan Down, Local News Eye Cowichan, September 2, 2016

Despite the recent rainfall, the low flow of the Cowichan River is still a concern as local crews prepare to install pumps while fisheries scientists plan to set up a salmon-counting fence.

Catalyst is continuing preparations for the first-ever pumping event on the river, a dramatic emergency measure to keep spawning salmon healthy and ensure continued operations at the Crofton pulp mill during a drought year. The 20 pumps are set to arrive Sept 12 with pumping to begin about Sept 20.

20 pumps going in Lake Cowichan to maintain river level during drought

Carla Wilson, Times Colonist, August 26, 2016

Catalyst Paper is installing a $500,000 pump system in Lake Cowichan to maintain minimum water levels required in the Cowichan River.

It’s the first time that the company has turned to pumps.

It comes as the lake, which feeds the river, faces what has been deemed the worst year for early drought conditions, due to low snowpack in the winter and a dry spring.

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