Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship annual general meeting

The room was packed at the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship meeting on July 29 in the basement of the Legion building in Lake Cowichan.

The room was packed at the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship meeting on July 29 in the basement of the Legion building in Lake Cowichan.

Those in the audience included Mayor Ross Forrest, Coun. Jayne Ingram, and Area I and F directors Pat Weaver and Ian Morrison, respectively.

Members came to hear project and financial reports, vote in the election of the societies president, vice president and board, and to enjoy a presentation by Dave Polster and Genevieve Singleton of Polster Environmental Services.

With no new nominations, Gerald Thom was re-elected president, Diana Gunderson vice president, Lois Atchison treasurer, and David Kidd as secretary.

In all, the board once again has 10 members.

Diana Gunderson delivered the Boater Education Report, saying that the Water Traffic sub-committee has successfully concentrated its efforts on riparian and water traffic concerns, and has formed an education committee.

The committee has generated a Welcome Boaters brochure with the theme “Your Holiday, Our Home.”

Committee members first began handing out the brochures at the Cowichan Lake Marina and the Lake Cowichan municipal boat ramp on July 14, and plans to do so again on August 5.

The findings of the committee were that the CVRD boating bylaws are out-dated and need work, and that though there is a culture of respect among most boaters, much more has to be done.

The Riparian Report was given by Jean Atkinson . The report states that a Riparian Insights brochure has been created, and was funded by the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

The group plans to visit lake front property owners beginning on the August 4 long weekend to educate new and established home owners on the importance of leaving riparian areas intact, minimizing impact when accessing the water, restoring damaged riparian areas, respecting riparian area regulations and avoiding applicable fines.

The group, with the help of the CLRSS webmaster, has been creating a web page that, when finished, will complement the new brochure.

Gerald Thom delivered the Water Quality Monitoring report.

Water quality monitoring has been taking place in the north and south arms of Cowichan Lake since 2004, however, this year the CLRSS has partnered up with the Ministry of Environment and local stakeholders to create what is being called the Cowichan Watershed Partnership.

This partnership will see $250,000 put into a three year, comprehensive water monitoring program for both ground and surface water in the entire Cowichan watershed.

This year the project will focus on the lower Cowichan River, Cowichan Bay, and the Koksilah River. Next year it will focus on the upper Cowichan River and Cowichan Lake.

The 4th Annual Cowichan River Cleanup is fast approaching. Saturday, August 25, CLRSS members and other volunteers will be removing debris from the Cowichan River. This event begins at 9 a.m. at the town office and includes a free continental breakfast, prizes, and free barbecue at 2 p.m. For more information phone Atkinson at 250-749-3055.