Amid drought, Cowichan River stewards try to balance conflicting needs

Amy  Smart, Times Colonist, July 12 2015

Location of Cowichan WatershedPressure is rising on the Cowichan River, as drought conditions force its stewards to balance conflicting needs — from the livelihood of mill workers to the lives of salmon.

Much of the region is already under water restrictions after a warm and dry winter and spring, with homeowners unable to water lawns, fill pools or wash cars.

Level 4 drought rating for Vancouver Island

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, July 3 2015

Fishing closures part of comprehensive drought response

VICTORIA - Responding to dry conditions, the Government of B.C. has announced a Level 4 drought rating for Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, and taken the additional action of suspending angling in streams and rivers throughout southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands due to ongoing low stream flows and warming water temperatures.

At Level 4, conditions are extremely dry. Further declines in stream, lake and aquifer levels could lead to water shortages and affect people, industry such as agriculture, wildlife, and fish stocks. All water users are urged to maximize their water conservation efforts.

Stephen Hume: Ban anglers from drought-stressed streams, groups urge

Stephen Hume, Vancouver Sun, June 24, 2015

The Cowichan is one of Canada’s premier fly-fishing rivers for trout and steelhead. The river also support spring salmon, coho and chum. (Photograph by: TBA , Courtesy Ellen Himelfarb)Government criticized for failing to protect fish amid critically low water levels on Vancouver Island
The provincial government is failing to protect B.C.’s prized game fish in the face of a drought crisis that threatens the survival of the very trout, steelhead and salmon upon which a billion-dollar freshwater fishing sector depends.

Water and fire restrictions rise

Kevin Rothbauer, Cowichan Valley Citizen, June 12, 2015

Extremely hot and dry weather has led to increased restrictions on water use and a ban on open fires in the Cowichan Valley and elsewhere.

Beginning Monday, June 15, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, including Duncan, North Cowichan, Ladysmith, Lake Cowichan and Cowichan Tribes, will to go Stage 2 watering restrictions.

The province has declared that the region is in a Stage 3 drought, but the situation is manageable, according to North Cowichan Mayor and CVRD Board Chair Jon Lefebure.


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