Twinned Watersheds Project
The Koksilah and Chemainus Rivers, on Eastern Vancouver Island, BC, have been similarly and severely impacted by climate change and land use. In both rivers, low summer water flows and degraded stream habitats are a threat to salmon and salmon communities, including the indigenous people who have lived in balance with salmon in these watersheds since time immemorial.
The Twinned Watersheds Project, co-lead by Cowichan Watershed Board, Cowichan Tribes and Halalt First Nation, is an innovative and efficient way of sharing resources to give decision-makers the best information possible to turn this situation around.
The first phase of this unique partnership began in 2021 with local field crews gathering previously unavailable data about water flows, fish habitat, and riverbank ecology. Experts then analyzed this data to understand the relationships between these elements and presented their findings to decision-makers and government staff. Click on the icons to read more about the project sections: EFlows and Fish Habitats, Riparian Plants, Indigenous Flow, and the Big Dancing Fish! (Interviews and happy dances with watershed stewards.)
Over the next two years, the Twinned Watersheds Project will continue under the leadership of Cowichan Tribes and Halalt First Nation to also assess how many salmon are currently dependent on these river habitats.
"There’s a lot to do. We are supporting each other by the sharing of resources, sharing of time and being able to get the work done a bit more efficiently than it would be if just the one system was being worked on."
- Larry George, Cowichan Tribes
Huy tseep q'u!
The Twinned Watershed Project is grateful for the financial support of the province of British Columbia and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation for the first phase of the Twinned Watershed Project.
Huy tseep q’u siem as well to everyone who worked on the project or provided peer review.
Halalt First Nation
Province of British Columbia
Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation