Bob Crandall

Bob Crandall

Generous grant to salmon group will help pay for Beaver Lake dam repairs

$25,000: Community support helps Cowichan Lake Salmonid Enhancement Society garner grant

The Cowichan Lake Salmonid Enhancement Society has won a $25,000 grant from the Shell Fuelling Change competition.

Bob Crandall, president of the CLSES, is ecstatic about the grant and thanks everyone who voted by buying gasoline or going online.

Crandall credited the Lake Cowichan Chamber of Commerce, tourism, and school kids from the area as all being part of the reason CLSES will get the money.

On the Shell website the project objective was listed as: “to promote, encourage and participate in stream enhancement, fry salvage, community trout and salmon hatchery, stream and lake stewardship, classroom incubation, Salmonids in the Classroom and community awareness.”

Crandall said the funds will help pay for equipment costs and work done last summer on the Beaver Lake Dam project and the trail system upgrades for the Beaver Lake trail along Beaver Creek from Cowichan Lake to the Dam.

The Beaver Lake Dam project was started by the CLSES and the provincial environment ministry in 1996.

“We had to create an additional spillway, remove old earth, add blasted rock, then create spawning platforms and add gravel to make the stream habitable for the spawning salmon,” Crandall said. “All of the hard work has been paying off with over 200 pair of spawning salmon were returning to the stream.”

After an 80-year-old dam in Oliver failed in June of 2010 causing a mudslide that destroyed five homes, dams like the one on Beaver Lake have been placed under scrutiny.

In 2012 year the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources inspected the Beaver Lake Dam and found it needed some minor upgrades to bring it to code. CLSES had to fix the issues or tear the dam apart.

CLSES needed to raise $50,000 to pay for the repairs.

On Aug. 30, Minister of State John Duncan, and fisheries minister Gail Shea awarded the society $20,120.

With that money along with $5,000 from the TD Bank and $5,000 from RBC’s Blue Water Fund, workers started repairing the dam.

The $25,000 from Shell helps to clear that bill and allow the area’s landscaping to be completed this summer.

And the CLSES received one more stocking stuffer just prior to Christmas.

On Dec. 23, Crandall announced a $4,000 donation from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation for the Oliver Creek Palsson Elementary Native plant nursery, planting and trail efforts.