I have been soul searching this week about the watershed, my role as president of the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society, the respect (and lack thereof) for the environment, our neighbours, and all points of view.
In my spare time, although there is none, I have been learning to fly and have spent the last few weeks practicing over the Cowichan Valley. I have been studying both flight and the valley features including the estuary, Sansum Narrows, the pulp mill, Quamichan, Somenos, our heritage river, and the long view of Cowichan Lake.
Three features have struck me as both amazing and thought provoking.
1. We live in an incredible valley of diversity, with diverse interests.
2. Why is the north arm of the river dry?
3. Why is Quamichan Lake greener than our fields and forests?
The Cowichan Valley is unique and the landscape varies as widely as the opinions of the stakeholders. What is obvious to me from an aerial perspective is that we all live together in this gorgeous watershed and the way to move forward and solve problems is through open discussion and respectful cooperation as we are all stewards of this watershed.
Our group (CLRSS), and the Cowichan Stewardship Roundtable have been very successful in demonstrating our efforts on the ground using a grass roots, respectful and collaborative approach. We decided to amp things up last week in an effort to stir up awareness and move forward positive discussion about water use, management, and a potential critical shortage if current drought conditions continue.
I am not a patient person, just ask my wife, and I am frustrated by the lack of forward thinking, action, and protection by all levels of government. The cuts, downloading, and finger pointing must end and everyone must get to the table to solve watershed problems.
The health of our watershed is the foundation to the health of our people and our economy. And respect for our environment, our neighbours, and all points of view are critical for success.
I am begging everyone to get involved, listen, communicate, and collaborate to protect and restore our watershed.
Gerald Thom, CLRSS president