Dick Murdoch

Dick Murdoch

Resident of the Cowichan Lake area says stop raising lake levels

Resident of the Cowichan Lake area says lake level fluctuations caused by the mill are negatively affecting the areas around the lake.

The low water levels this summer had everyone in the Cowichan Valley concerned. There are a number of problems that the low water causes–stress on the salmon, high fire hazards, and of course, possible closure of the Crofton mill.

The way the committees have addressed the drought has raised the ire of some long-term residents around the lake who are frustrated at being ignored.

Dick Murdoch, for instance, has lived in the area since the 60s and while he is no biologist, as a resident Murdoch has known the lake for the past half century.

According to Murdoch, the issue of the water levels is a complex one that requires long-time knowledge of the lake and its relationship with the creeks that feed it, as well as with the industries that affect the water in the valley, such as the Crofton Mill and the logging in the hills around Cowichan Lake.

Murdoch explains in detail how Catalyst uses the weir to retain water in the lake to counteract summer drought conditions. According to Murdoch, the lake basically acts as a big holding tank.

“They wanted to conserve water to hold it back in the lake for summer when it’s low,” says Murdoch. “Then they let water out so they’ve got enough water to run the pulp mill and for Duncan to water their lawns and everything.”

One major problem that ultimately affects the salmon run, says Murdoch, is that when the level of the lake is raised it blocks the flow of the creeks that feed it.

“As soon as the creeks hit the lake it takes their momentum away because they’ve got no force, so all the rocks start to pile up in the creek right at the edge of the lake when they hit the still water,” says Murdoch. “Shaw Creek is the prime example.”

He points out that this becomes a problem for fish that are trying to find their way up the creeks.

“As soon as the water is weaving it’s way in between millions of rocks, the fish can’t get through,” says Murdoch.

According to Murdoch, the rock deposits then cause the creeks to constantly change course, which can also lead to flooding.

“Over at Sutton creek at the golf course, that has happened twice really bad,” says Murdoch.

He feels that the committees which have been reviewing the drought and water level concerns haven’t been thorough enough in consulting long-time lake residents.

“The lake stewardship committees have only come in the last 15 or 20 years. They’ve never seen what it was like,” says Murdoch. “They’ve got to talk to the old people that have been here. This is all because they’re raising the lake levels. That’s when things start to get weird.”

Brian Houle, environment manager of Catalyst, says that in winter when the lake is at normal levels, the weir has absolutely no impact on the lake because it is submerged. In response to Murdoch’s ideas about how the lake levels have a cascade effect on creeks and salmon, Houle was skeptical.

“It’s not my area of expertise, so I can’t really comment on that.”

But Houle’s personal opinion was that Murdoch’s assessment of the situation was incorrect.

 

Just Posted

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Bay man’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

Threads N Tails owner Lee-Ann Burke’s pet clothing has been featured on the cover of the June/July issue of Pet Connection Magazine. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan business featured on magazine cover

Lee-Ann Burke hopes the extra publicity will increase sales

North Cowichan’s senior environment specialist Dr. Dave Preikshot (pictured) said there’s a wide spectrum of views on carbon credits. (File photo)
Carbon credits expected to be part of discussions around forest reserve

North Cowichan acknowledges wide range of views on issue

Blue Moon Marquee from Duncan will be featured at the 2021 TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival on June 28. (Submitted)
Blue Moon Marquee to play Vancouver Jazz Festival

What’s coming up in the A&E scene

Sonia Furstenau, MLA
Proposed Health Professions Act would eliminate barriers, guide regulations

Is your doctor a member of good standing with the BC College… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read