Part of the $24.2 million in federal funding to help the Cowichan watershed will be used to help pay for the new weir on Cowichan Lake. (File photo)

Part of the $24.2 million in federal funding to help the Cowichan watershed will be used to help pay for the new weir on Cowichan Lake. (File photo)

Feds pledge funding for weir at Cowichan Lake, watershed

Minister Catherine McKenna announced $24.2 million in funding last week

Part of the $24.2 million federal grant to assist with the protection of the Cowichan watershed will be used to support work to replace the old weir on Cowichan Lake.

A press release from the Cowichan Watershed Board doesn’t specify how much of the funding, announced last week by Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna, will be earmarked for the replacement of the 50-year-old weir.

RELATED STORY: FEDS PUMP $24.2 MILLION INTO FLOOD MITIGATION EFFORTS IN COWICHAN WATERSHED

But the estimated total cost of replacing the weir has yet to be determined as engineering and design work is currently underway under the leadership of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, in partnership with Cowichan Tribes, Catalyst Paper and the Cowichan Watershed Board.

Last year, senior levels of government announced they are kicking in $4.08 million over three years to help pay for the preliminary work required to build the new weir.

Much of that funding has been earmarked for the development of detailed engineering designs and permitting for the new weir, as well as strategies for the removal of the existing weir.

The new modern weir will be designed to store enough of the lake’s naturally high winter water levels to keep the river flowing adequately throughout the dry season, and sustain the iconic Cowichan River salmon runs.

The new structure will also be able to supply cooler water to the river in order to avoid potentially lethal high temperature levels for salmon and trout during hot dry summers.

RELATED STORY: WORK BEGINS ON NEW WEIR FOR COWICHAN LAKE

Much of the $24.2 million federal grant announced last week to support the Cowichan Watershed Resiliency Program will also be used for other projects to reduce the impact of climate change on the Cowichan watershed’s ability to deal with increased winter storms and summer droughts.

Another $5.3 million for the program will be contributed by Cowichan Tribes and contributing partners.

Insufficient summer and fall river flows are threatening the watershed’s once famous wild salmon runs, and winter storms have caused terrible flooding in homes located near the river, particularly those of Cowichan Tribes’ community members.

Many Cowichan Tribes homes are impacted repeatedly by flooding causing health and safety issues.

Last February, 175 homes were affected, with some residents evacuated in fast moving water.

The resiliency program will run over the next seven years, led by Cowichan Tribes in collaboration with other local partners.

RELATED STORY: COWICHAN’S STATE OF EMERGENCY REMAINS AS FLOOD DAMAGE RECKONING BEGINS

Capital infrastructure works, gravel removal, riparian restoration and other measures will be implemented as part of the program to protect these communities and the river ecosystem from increasing winter floods.

Aaron Stone, co-chairman of the Cowichan Watershed Board and chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, said the Cowichan watershed is the heart of the ancestral territory of the Cowichan peoples who have been the stewards of this ecosystem since time immemorial.

“The Cowichan Watershed Board and the CVRD applaud this funding to support the ongoing leadership by Cowichan Tribes for the watershed’s health and resilience in the face of climate change, and all the communities that depend on that for our well-being,” he said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Climate change

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A picture of Bug before the attack by the dogs on Nov. 17, 2020. (Submitted photo)
Three dogs almost kill cat in Miller Road area near Duncan

Efforts to catch the canines unsuccessful so far

Beautiful morning with the sun peaking through, as viewed from Thetis Island. (Photo by Kelly Bannister)
November characterized by a record high, no snow and plenty of rain in Chemainus region

Temperature almost hits the 20 degree Celsius mark on Nov. 4

Group wants to start a pilot program for regenerative farms in North Cowichan. (File photo)
Group looks to North Cowichan for farmland

Land could also be used for affordable housing

The CVRD will reconsider its policies on fireworks after receiving complaints. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Regional District considers options for fireworks after receiving complaints

Distict only allows fireworks on Halloween and New Year’s Eve, with a permit

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Most Read