Editorial: Somenos salmon warning ominous

There are multiple problems leading to this possible local extinction.

In just a matter of a few short years, there could be no more salmon in the Somenos watershed.

That is the sobering warning from the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society as we enter the new year.

There are multiple problems leading to this possible local extinction. One problem is invasive parrots feather in Somenos Creek, which is choking off the waterway at an alarming rate. Another is pollution of runoff and tributaries, as well as water quality problems in Somenos Lake itself, where toxic algae blooms are frequent. This is affecting the entire watershed. On top of that, stream-side habitat for salmon-bearing creeks is shrinking.

The Somenos watershed was once packed with this iconic fish, but the time is rapidly approaching when there will be nothing left but stories of what once was.

It’s a difficult problem to fix. Local governments are not technically responsible for fish, the federal government is. So far, this senior level of government has shown no interest in this local crisis. The Municipality of North Cowichan has stepped up to the plate and is looking at solutions to the issues in Somenos Lake in particular, but fixes are costly. Removing parrots feather alone is a multi-year endeavour that would cost from tens of thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the method chosen. The municipality is conducting an ongoing study of the area to try to determine what the root causes of some of the pollution are.

These are good steps, but what it adds up to is that nothing is going to happen immediately to fix the issues, and the salmon almost certainly do not have enough time left. Even if solutions are found and implemented, it likely won’t be fast enough.

That doesn’t mean we should give up. We must proceed to try to save this aquatic environment, for ourselves, and for all of the species that call it home. It is our only hope to bring the salmon back.

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

Just Posted

Under new ownership, Cowichan’s Isles prepare for 2020-21

The Isles have gone through some ups and downs in recent seasons

Cowichan Valley Regional District will reopen three arenas in August

Ice will go back in at Lake Cowichan, Cowichan Community Centre and Kerry Park

Business notes: Salt Spring Therapeutic Riding Association launches program for front-line workers

A sample of what’s happening in Cowichan’s business community

UPDATE: RCMP use spike belts to end car chase — man in custody

The driver was arrested at the scene a short distance from his vehicle

Motorcyclist airlifted after collision in Cobble Hill

Residents describe intersection of Telegraph and Hutchinson as “dangerous” and “problematic”

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

RCMP looking for missing teen in Comox Valley

Jenessa Shacter was last seen going for a walk in downtown Courtenay

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

Most Read