Twinned Watersheds Project – Overview Booklet
TWO RIVERS, BOTH IN PERIL. The Koksilah and Chemainus Rivers, on Eastern Vancouver Island, BC, have been similarly and severely impacted by climate change and land use. Low summer water flows and degraded stream habitats are a threat to salmon and salmon communities.
The Twinned Watersheds Project is an innovative and efficient way of sharing resources to give decision-makers the best information possible to turn this situation around, and restore health and resiliency to these watersheds. For the Koksilah, the findings will support the creation of an enforceable local water sustainability plan under BC’s new Water Sustainability Act.
The first phase of this unique partnership between Cowichan Tribes, Halalt First Nation and the Cowichan Watershed Board began in 2021. Local field crews gathered previously unavailable data about water flows, fish habitat, and riverbank ecology. Experts then analysed this data to understand the relationships between these elements. The project is also incorporating traditional environmental knowledge to improve understanding of what has changed, and how to restore the health and resilience of both rivers. Over the next two years, the project will also assess how many salmon are currently dependent on these river habitats.