About the Watershed

News about the Cowichan Watershed and the Cowichan Watershed Board

Water levels dangerously low in Cowichan Valley

Robert Barron, Cowichan Valley Citizen, May 27, 2016

Unlike much of the rest of Vancouver Island, the Cowichan region is already experiencing drought conditions.

As of the middle of May, the region is at Level 3, or “very dry”, drought conditions, according to an analysis conducted by the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

The analysis, prepared by environmental analyst Jeff Moore, said the conclusions are the result of a number of indicators.

Drought Countdown

Susan Down, LocalEye.ca, May 23 2016

We like to count in the Cowichan Valley – salmon, raindrops, lake levels. After all, management guru Peter Drucker said that you can’t manage what you can’t measure.

But measuring is only half the job. Once they have the numbers, leaders can then decide which direction to take. In the CVRD, we should be acting, fast, to handle the drought conditions that could seriously harm our region.

Officials sound alarm over low Cowichan River water levels

James Goldie, Cowichan Valley Citizen, May 20, 2016

Cowichan RiverThe Cowichan River is in danger of drying up this year, and Catalyst Paper Corporation, which controls the flow of water through the Cowichan Lake weir, has begun reducing the outflow of water in order to keep that from happening.

It may seem counter intuitive — reducing the flow of water out of the lake at a time when creeks and tributaries are already drying up — but if the outgoing water isn’t slowed down now, what’s held back by the weir in storage will be tapped out by the beginning of July.

BC’s 2016 endangered rivers list targets key waterways by region

News Release, Outdoor Recreation Council of BC, March 17, 2016

The list highlights the Seymour, Fraser, Cowichan, Thompson, Peace and Skeena Rivers and Shawnigan Creek

This year’s most endangered rivers list for British Columbia, compiled since 1993 by the 100,000 member Outdoor Recreation Council (ORC) and based on public input, details the province’s most imperiled rivers by region, including the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the interior and the north.

In the Lower Mainland, the Seymour River has been impacted by a 50,000 cubic meter rock slide that occurred in December, 2014 and now blocks the return of key early coho and summer steelhead stocks. In addition, this blockage has had broader ecosystem impacts in that wildlife, such as bears, mink, otters and eagles are being severely impacted due to diminishing fish stocks. Last fall, under the admirable direction of the Seymour Salmonid Society, it took 2500 volunteer hours to net and hand-carry fish above the slide, an option that is not sustainable.

Every child should get out in nature

Cowichan Valley Citizen, Oct 1, 2015

Editor’s note: If you haven’t met “Flo” yet, this superhero spent the summer visiting Cowichan communities, helping us face the severe drought and water restrictions, and interviewing local watershed heroes about their solutions. Cowichan Watershed Board summer student Lauren Frost wraps up her reports on Flo’s conversations this week.

Plenty of demand puts stress on critical Island waterway

Cowichan River is the lifeblood of this part of Vancouver Island, but it has been diminished by six dry summers in 12 years

Stephen Hume, Vancouver Sun, September 21, 2015
 
Rodger Hunter leans on the rail of Greendale Trestle and points to the glossy green river spilling across a broad outflow from Cowichan Lake before funnelling into narrows just upstream from the old railway crossing repurposed as a pedestrian bridge.

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