About the Watershed

News about the Cowichan Watershed and the Cowichan Watershed Board

Province grants water-release extension to help Cowichan River flows

Peter Rusland, Cowichan News Leader Pictorial, June 5 2013

Water for fish and the Crofton mill received a provincial reprieve this year with Friday’s nod to delay releasing stored Cowichan River flows until later in July.

But local officials remain worried about long-term water-storage answers to droughts amid rising climate change.

“With continued low fall flows,something further has to be looked at,” said Gerald Thom of the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society.

Weir decision great, but please don't stop there

Editorial, Cowichan Valley Citizen, June 5 2013

A contentious issue for years, movement has finally been made in an attempt to better manage water flow into the Cowichan River.

The province's deputy comptroller of water rights has decided to allow for water to be stored in the lake until July 31 - almost a month longer than the previous July 9 date.

Those extra three weeks could really mean life or death for fish stocks and the difference between a wet or dry river come late summer and into the wall.

Date: 

31 May 2013

Author: 

B.J. Symonds, Deputy Comptroller of Water Rights

Publisher: 

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

North Cowichan wants info on local watershed control

Sarah Simpson, The Citizen, April 20, 2013

North Cowichan council wants more information before it supports One Cowichan's plea to the province for local control of the Cowichan Watershed.

On Wednesday, One Cowichan spokesman Parker Jefferson told council now is the time to act, as the provincial government is in the middle of re-writing the Water Act.

"Local elected officials and the public are certainly welcome to make comments to the regulative authorities, but in the end they have no power and the decisions are made by... government employees who don't live in our communities and don't necessarily have all the incentive to make all the right decisions," Jefferson said.

Stakeholders say local control key to saving Cowichan chinook run

By Peter Rusland, Cowichan News Leader Pictorial, April 19, 2013

Rescue plans for Cowichan River’s threatened chinook salmon, and their habitat, lie in gaining local control from Victoria of the waterway’s ecosystem, local stewards explain.

Reasons for requesting that control, and tactics to save the heritage Cowichan’s habitat, are expected to surface at today’s salmon session — stocked with government experts, plus valley stewards and leaders — at Duncan’s Travelodge Silver Bridge Inn.

“It’s ‘If you can’t get there from here, how do we make a map to get there?’” local Paul Rickard of the B.C. Wildlife Federation said of today’s invitation-only habitat huddle.

Water storage changes considered for Cowichan weir

Judith Lavoie, Times Colonist, March 8, 2013

Cowichan residents are meeting with government officials today in an effort to come up with a plan to improve flows in the Cowichan River.

The aim is to avert a crisis like the one that occurred last year, when low water levels left chinook salmon stuck in the estuary — where they were easy dinner for hungry sea lions — and unable to swim to spawning grounds.

In fall, the river almost ran dry and salmon had to be trucked upstream.

Cowichan river in danger of drying up

Sarah Simpson, Cowichan Valley Citizen, October 05, 2012

The Cowichan River could run bone dry before month's end if rain doesn't begin to fall by the bucketful, say some in the Valley's science community.

The record-breaking drought could drastically impede spawning salmon runs, put the mill's operations in jeopardy and even affect the village of Crofton's water supply, stakeholders like Paul Rickard worry.

Who's to blame isn't immediately evident, but the solution seems clear - there must be better management of the weir.

Fishing stopped on Cowichan River as chinook-salmon rescue starts

Peter Rusland, Cowichan News Leader Pictorial, October 05, 2012

All fishing has been banned on the Cowichan River while officials try to rescue this year's run of chinook salmon from drought conditions.

Gerald Thom, of the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society, stressed the fishing prohibition — including Native spearfishing — was ordered after a conference call between agents with local, federal and provincial governments, Cowichan Tribes, and local stakeholders so fish collection could happen in Cowichan Bay estuary and the lower river.

Flows in the heritage river were also pinched Friday at Cowichan Lake's weir to five cubic-metres per second, from 6.5 cm/sec, to store water for pulse tactics Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We're considering a pulse, a quick release of water over a 36-hour period at about 13 cm/second.

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