Weir changes will provide better control of water with no cost to taxpayers

In my opinion:Proposed change to the weir operation is a required adaptation to climate change.

The March 9 public meeting regarding proposed changes to weir operation left a lot of questions unanswered and I would like to clear up some confusion expressed by concerned citizens since the meeting.

Q. What change to the weir operation is the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations proposing?

A. The only option currently being considered by the deputy comptroller of water rights, Brian Symonds, is to extend the full storage (water to top of existing weir) date from July 9 to July 31.

Q. Why is this change being proposed?

A. To protect fish stocks and the river ecosystem. A minimum flow of seven cubic meters per second is required and at present we can only maintain this flow one year out of three. The proposed change will likely allow for this flow two years out of three.

Q. What effect will it have on riparian areas and beaches around Cowichan Lake?

A. It will have no effect on riparian areas as the proposed change is only below the top of the weir (162.37 meters elevation) well below the natural average high water level which is at 164 meters (or 1.63 meters/ 5 feet above the top of weir) and only during the summer. Beach area may be slightly reduced in the summer months if we have adequate rain. The reduction would be no more than is experienced during an average wet summer.

Q. Will this change increase the chance of flooding around the lake?

A. No! The proposed change will only create a minor change to summer water levels and even if we had a huge summer rain event the operator would be directed to dump excess water when above the new rule curve. Water can be released very quickly by opening the weir when the river is low.

Q. Why am I interested and so involved in this issue?

A. My wife and I live on Cowichan Lake and we are concerned about winter flooding so I have dedicated hundreds of hours to researching lake water levels. I volunteer as a fisheries technician, president of the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society, and a technical advisor for the Cowichan Watershed Board (CWB). In these roles I have gained a substantial working knowledge of the lake and river system. I attend all the scientific and government meetings on this subject and am happy to share my experience with others.

In my opinion the proposed change is a required adaptation to climate change. The change will provide better control of our water with existing weir at no cost to taxpayers.

As a lakefront landowner I am willing to sacrifice a few feet of my beach during dry summers to help save the nearly extinct summer run of chinook salmon and our valuable river ecosystem.

A healthy lake and river are critical to a healthy watershed and ultimately our own health. I encourage other property owners who live on the lake and river to do their part and write the deputy comptroller at

Brian.Symonds@gov.bc.ca to support this change.

If you would like more information on this issue please call me at 250-749-7203.

Rodger Hunter with the CWB and I will also be answering weir operation questions on CICV, 98.7 FM The Lake on Saturday, March 23 at 10 a.m.

Phone in with your questions at 250-932-2428 for on air discussion.

 

-Gerald Thom, president of the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society

 

 

 

 

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

Just Posted

Editorial: Mask wearing: innocuous advice has turned into polarizing war

Somehow, this innocuous recommendation has become a polarizing war for some.

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Cowichan’s Dillabaugh checks in from the NHL bubble in Toronto

Flyers’ Duncan-born goalie coach weighs in on hockey restart

37-year-old man missing from Cobble Hill area

He is described as a First Nations man, 5 foot 8 in height

Five new handyDART buses serving Cowichan

Buses to replace older vehicles being removed from the fleet

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

Most Read