A few weeks ago, the Cowichan Lake Salmonid Enhancement Society (CLSES), along with the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship (CLRS) met with Erica Blake, community advisor for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Cowichan (DFO), and Erin Hamilton, operations manager for the Lake Cowichan First Nations.
This was an initial meeting to discuss cooperation between these parties when it comes to lake and river stewardship and enhancement.
Hamilton says the band wants to take a more active role with enhancement. “We want to be part of the process, not on the outside looking in.”
There has already been one project identified through Bob Crandall of CLSES and the DFO. This project includes a clean-up of excess gravel in sections of Beadnell Creek in the culvert under Youbou Road.
The window for this kind of work is between June 15, and Sept. 15, says Crandall. “That’s when the coho are less vulnerable.”
Hamilton says he has at least one youth in mind for the project and he is looking forward to enhancing the relationship between local First Nations, the DFO and these other local stewardship and enhancement groups.
“We are open to ideas of how to participate,” he says, and adds that the band is only able to offer in kind support for these kinds of projects.
Both Crandall and Gerald Thom, of CLRS, have ideas for future projects, but nothing has been formally discussed as of yet. Crandall would like to work on bringing spawning gravel to Tiny Creek, Beaver Creek, and near the weir on Cowichan Lake.
Thom, of CLRS, would like to work with the band to create awareness around the lake about sensitive riparian zones located on private properties. He says this is a long term project, spanning the next three to five years.
Whether future projects include riparian zone awareness, or putting spawning gravel in local creeks, these groups are looking forward to working together. “We are hoping to have exciting things going forward,” says Hamilton.
“This is all about cooperation between all three groups, and keeping each other informed,” says Thom.