Tag Archives: Cowichan River

After generations of displacement, ‘Vancouver Island’ lands returned to Lyackson, Cowichan First Nations

By  Julie Chadwick, IndigiNews, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Surrounded by sun-dappled trees and the gentle rushing sound of Skutz Falls, a historic agreement to return 312 hectares of land to Lyackson First Nation and Cowichan Tribes was signed last week as part of an Incremental Treaty Agreement.

Continue reading After generations of displacement, ‘Vancouver Island’ lands returned to Lyackson, Cowichan First Nations

‘Here we are talking about drought in February’

Editor’s note: When the rains finally started in October 2022, Cortes Island had received very little precipitation for 97 days. That was the first year Basil Creek came close to drying up and only about 10 Chum were able to swim upstream to spawn. The creek almost disappeared during the 2023 drought and some of Cortes Island’s shallow wells stopped recharging. On Quadra Island, I-CAN’s water security team responded to the drought by launching a project to gather data on the island’s ‘water budget,’ wetlands and wells, so they can be better prepared for the future. With Vancouver Island’s snowpacks currently 70% below normal, we may need a wetter than normal spring and summer to avert another drought in 2024.

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Water security groups in B.C. are rallying to face another summer wracked by drought and wildfire after the province revealed the snowpack is 40 per cent lower than normal. And they are urging the provincial government to do the same. 

Extremely low snow levels across most of B.C., ongoing drought in certain areas of the province and unusually warm weather are increasing the risk of widespread drought and wildfire this spring and summer, according to the BC River Forecast Centre’s snow bulletin released Thursday. 

Continue reading ‘Here we are talking about drought in February’

When it comes to water security, small rural communities in B.C. largely left high and dry

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

B.C.’s small rural communities striving for water security as droughts become the norm still sink or swim without much assistance from the province, policy experts say.  

Most of the province has been in the clutches of unprecedented — but long anticipated — climate-induced drought for most of the summer. About 55 per cent of B.C.’s water basins are at Level 5 on the provincial drought scale — the point when adverse socioeconomic or ecosystem impacts are almost certain. 

Continue reading When it comes to water security, small rural communities in B.C. largely left high and dry

Small island community launches big effort to develop water security

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

As a landscape architect specializing in wetland restoration, Bernie Amell knows how water moves across the landscape. 

However, he has had a crash course in drought after Amell and his wife moved to their Quadra Island agricultural acreage on B.C.’s so-called “Wet Coast” three years ago. 

“We arrived in 2021, in the ‘heat dome’ summer, and the shallow well dried up,” said Amell, a member of Quadra Island’s Climate Action Network (I-CAN).

Continue reading Small island community launches big effort to develop water security

Saving the Cowichan Estuary from drowning in a climate-fed ‘coastal squeeze’

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

High atop a dike hemming the Koksilah River as its fresh waters meet salt, red-winged blackbirds call out as they patrol their territory.

Noisy heralds of spring, the blackbirds return to the Cowichan Estuary each year to nest and protest human intrusion with sharp signature trills from the brush along the riverbank.

Today the interloper is Tom Reid, conservation land management program manager with the Nature Trust of British Columbia (NTBC), who stands atop the 15-foot-high rock embankment he is working to destroy.

The dike, built to fortify farmland stolen from the estuary, is stifling the tidal marsh vital to the survival of a host of endangered salmon and bird species that rely on it for breeding, feeding and migration, he said.

Continue reading Saving the Cowichan Estuary from drowning in a climate-fed ‘coastal squeeze’