The Cowichan River floods the Hatchery dike in Duncan, Monday, Jan. 29. (Tim Kulchyski photo)

Column: What’s up in the Watershed? Lots and lots of rain

Flow rates in excess of 440 cubic metres per second were being recorded

By Jill Thompson

“And when it rains…. ”

While summer droughts and lake storage are frequently up for discussion at the Cowichan Watershed Board meetings, the Jan. 29 meeting had some attendees preoccupied by the opposite trend in our changing climate.

Flow rates in excess of 440 cubic metres per second were being recorded, eventually reaching 560 CMS by day’s end. This is enough water to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool about every five seconds, and is about 100 times more than the summer flow rate in recent summers.

Cowichan Tribes’ biologist Tim Kulchyski shared a photo from that morning showing the river rushing up a side-channel that Cowichan Tribes built to provide sheltering habitat for fish.

What if some of this current abundance of water could be saved for slow release in the late summer months? That question and others are being addressed by the community members including Cowichan Watershed Board and Cowichan Tribes who are working with the CVRD on the Cowichan Water Use Plan to be completed this spring (https://cowichanwup.ca/). The board is also running a “Capture the Rain Campaign” in partnership with the Citizen to promote residential rainwater capture and storage for outdoor summer watering.

Executive Director Tom Rutherford gave a review of the board’s work to explore and strengthen watershed co-governance between Cowichan Tribes and CVRD. Updating the board’s governance manual to clarify that the Koksilah River system is part of the Cowichan watershed and clarifying the “consensus-based” decision making model were two of the many items identified so far through a facilitated workshop series to make the Watershed Board stronger and more effective. The goal of the workshops is to make improvements to the Watershed Board in its current role, and prepare it for an expanded role in watershed governance.

The board also heard from biologist Dr. Dave Preikshot on the 2017 water quality sample results in the Cowichan, Somenos, Quamichan, and Koksilah systems. A full report is expected next month but initial data analysis identified significantly elevated levels of phosphorus and e-coli bacteria in some areas. The results will pinpoint problem areas to enable targeted management strategies.

A 2017 year end summary highlighted the annual Cowichan River clean up, the Water Conservation Challenge, citizen outreach and education, and supporting the committed volunteers in the Cowichan Valley Stewardship community as some of the other accomplishments last year.

Our meetings are held on the last Monday of the month at 9:15 a.m. and are open to the public. More info: http://cowichanwatershedboard.ca/meetings

Just Posted

Cat taken from senior in Duncan care home now with family

Cat was replaced with a robotic stuffed toy

Adopted pet pig gets killed and eaten

Animal was adopted out by SPCA staff in the Cowichan Valley

Broombusters seeks volunteers

Group says the invasive Scotch broom continues to be a problem

Brentwood and Shawnigan hope to meet at AA Islands

Shawnigan Lake School senior boys basketball head coach Vito Pasquale doesn’t like… Continue reading

B.C. Seniors on tap at Glen Harper Curling Centre

Wes Craig’s Duncan Curling Club rink is carrying the hometown hopes as… Continue reading

President praises nearly 1,800 volunteers at B.C. Games

Ashley Wadhwani sits down with the Kamloops 2018 B.C. Winter Games President Niki Remesz

Coming up in Cowichan: Irrigation; Palestinian children; fun with fungi

The Cowichan Watershed Board is presenting a free efficient irrigation workshop

The way government learn someone has died is getting a digital overhaul

Governments in Canada turned to private consultants 2 years ago to offer blueprint

Bobsleigh team misses Olympic medal finish

Canadian team finishes four-man event 0.84 seconds behind first place, 0.31 seconds from podium

B.C. Games: Athletes talk Team Canada at PyeongChang 2018

From Andi Naudie to Evan McEachran there’s an Olympian for every athlete to look up to

Minor injuries after car veers into Courtenay dance studio

A driver and passenger were taken to hospital after their vehicle crashed… Continue reading

Snowboarders sliding into fresh territory at B.C. Games

Athletes hit the slopes for first appearance as an event at the B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops

Looking back at the 1979 B.C. Games: Good memories, even better jackets

39 years later, Kamloops is hosting the Winter Games again, with some volunteers returning

OLYMPICS 101: Oldest and youngest Canadians to reach the podium

This year, Canada sent its most athletes in Winter Games history, here’s a look at record breakers

Most Read