About the Watershed

News about the Cowichan Watershed and the Cowichan Watershed Board

Cowichan watershed clean-up gets $370,000 from federal Gas Tax Fund

By Peter W. Rusland, Cowichan News Leader Pictorial, May 05, 2012

Two-dozen great blue herons fed on Cowichan Bay's low-tide critters while regional brass got $370,000 Saturday to help make the bay's shellfish edible for everyone by 2020.

"This is phenomenal," local Meghan Loop said of the federal Gas Tax Fund money — presented at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre by B.C.'s Minister of Community, Sport and Culture Ida Chong – to help save the watershed's groundwater through pollution detection and prevention.

Invasive algae species overtaking local water systems

By Dorian Geiger, Lake Cowichan Gazette, January 18, 2012

Something slimy and gross has overtaken Cowichan Lake — and it’s not the creature from the Black Lagoon.

Didymo, also known as ‘rock snot,’ is an invasive algae species that has invaded the Cowichan River.

Often mistaken for soggy toilet paper or slime, didymo comes in a variety of unsightly forms.

Although didymo is not toxic and poses no threat to drinking water, the algae growth is extremely repulsive-looking and can take the fun out of aquatic activities such as tubing or swimming.

Officials investigating deaths of thousands of young coho

By Peter Rusland, Cowichan News Leader Pictorial, September 09, 2011

Three salmon kills around Duncan’s Fish Gut Alley this summer are being probed by all levels of government.

The suspected culprit in the killing of thousands of juvenile coho is a possible toxic cocktail of motor oil, dog feces, detergents, and/or pesticides mixing in storm water flushed into the heritage Cowichan River during rains.

Kinsol Trestle marks historic day

Kevin Rothbauer, Cowichan Valley Citizen, July 29, 2011

Hundreds pack inspiring former railroad bridge as people allowed back on span for first time since 1980s

Darin George leads a prayer at the reopening of the Kinsol Trestle

Click here for PHOTO GALLERY

The Cowichan Valley's past, present and future came together on Thursday morning when the restored Kinsol Trestle opened.

The last spike was driven into the span by Mike Coleman, a lawyer and former Duncan mayor whose name was drawn following a raffle. Fittingly, he was aided by his two-year-old grandchildren, Grace and Blake. The Coleman family then had the honour of being the first to walk across, their footsteps becoming the first of millions that will use the bridge over the next century.

"This is a very powerful reminder of our history and what brought us to be the community we are today," said Cowichan Valley Regional District Chair Gerry Giles, who presided over the ceremony.

Lake level looks decent enough to maintain summer river flows

By Tyler Clarke, Lake Cowichan Gazette, July 04, 2011

At this point, it appears as though the Cowichan River’s summer flow won’t dip to below seven cubic meters/second.

This, Catalyst Paper Crofton Division environmental manager Brian Houle said, is thanks to there being more snow pack this year than last.

Catalyst operates the Cowichan Lake weir, which controls how much water flow goes into the Cowichan River, in order to maintain at least seven cubic meters/second flow throughout the dry summer.

B.C. lakeshores at risk due to lack of enforcement

MARK HUME, Globe and Mail, Jun. 12, 2011

When the British Columbia government did a study to find out how many people were getting permits to build docks, dump sand for artificial beaches and put up lakeside retaining walls, it got some shocking results.

On two dozen lakes selected from around the province, researchers found 420 private property Water Act permits had been issued – but more than 4,000 waterfront “modifications” had been done. That means more than 3,500 lakeshore projects were apparently built without authorization.

Wanted: proper protection of our beautiful lakes

Jack Knox, Times-Colonist, June 18, 2011

Klaus KuhnIt was after last summer's fatal collision between a speedboat and houseboat on Shuswap Lake that Klaus Kuhn phoned the area's elected representative.

The Shuswap politician had gone public with his concerns about lawlessness on the lake. Sounds familiar, thought Kuhn, who represents Youbou, pop. 900, on the Cowichan Valley Regional District board.

Kuhn had been wrestling with a litany of complaints from residents of his Cowichan Lake community: Deafeningly noisy boats, drunken boaters, shoreline erosion, construction without permits, faulty septic systems, environmental safeguards ignored. When he called his Shuswap counterpart, it was like hearing his own echo.

Then he began contacting other politicians from popular B.C. lakes - Shuswap, Okanagan, Kalamalka, Christina, 17 in all. "The complaints were all the same: lack of enforcement, lack of funding."

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