We’re studying extra about what was probably behind a mass fish die-off within the Cowichan River final summer time, because the waterway faces doubtlessly one other dry summer time in gentle of low snowpacks.

The province says tens of hundreds of juvenile rainbow trout have been probably killed within the occasion in 2023.

“We’re seeing a wildly overproliferation of vitamins on the outfall of the Lake Cowichan sewage outfall. We all know that impacts the river in quite a few methods,” stated Lydia Hwitsum, the Cowichan Watershed Board co-chair and Cowichan Tribes Chief.

The province says on the time, water temperature and elevated vitamins led to a rise in algae progress, which degraded water high quality. With PH and oxygen ranges outdoors of the tolerable vary for fish, they died.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says low flows and scorching, dry climate have been additionally components, which is regarding contemplating how low the snowpacks are this February.

B.C. authorities knowledge exhibits Vancouver Island’s snowpack is simply 30 per cent of regular proper now.

“The low snowpacks are clearly a priority and we have to monitor them as a result of we depend on them to feed the water system,” stated Hwitsum.

Hwitsum says the nation has been serving to work in direction of a vital answer of elevating the Lake Cowichan weir – a mission that’s been within the works for years.

“We’ve bought some funding from the federal authorities. We’re working to leverage a last piece of funding from the provincial authorities and that funding will go in direction of elevating the weir, so changing the weir and having the ability to maintain again as much as 70 centimetres extra of water in order that we will feed the river at vital instances.”

Fishing information Alex West loves when his prospects catch fish on the the Cowichan River, however fishing alternatives have been changing into extra scarce with environmental adjustments and dwindling fish populations.

“After the previous couple of years it’s scary, actually. Yearly it’s getting worse and worse. Our rivers, our fish, they’re taking a beating,” stated West.

West says he desires the Cowichan River to thrive and he hopes there’s a silver lining from final 12 months’s die-off, a rushing up of the tasks that can help the river’s well being.

“Hopefully that is what it takes to ensure that the federal government to step in there and make some adjustments for the higher effluent going into the river,” stated West.

One other transfer in the correct path was when federal funding was announced this past fall for a mission to higher deal with the City of Lake Cowichan’s wastewater earlier than it enters the river.

It’s hoped provincial funding to lift the weir could be coming this 12 months.


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