Project Watershed’s 2019 AGM last Saturday May 25 at the Old House Hotel was lively and informative. The afternoon started with a K’ómoks First Nation welcome and a few words from MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard. During the business component of the meeting the Treasurer, Brian Storey, FCPA, presented the financial report and introduced Derek Lamb of Chan Nowosad Boates (CNB), Chartered Professional Accountants. Mr. Lamb and his firm conducted a financial review engagement for Project Watershed to corroborate our financial integrity. CNB was approved to provide a financial review for the 2019-2020 year. Project Watershed’s annual reviewed financial statements are available to any member upon request to books.projectwatershed@gmail.
Project Watershed’s Board got a boost as three new directors were elected. The new directors are Patricia Sloan, Lyle Carlstrom and Alisha Drinkwater. “It is great to have new people and fresh perspectives join the team” commented Bill Heidrick, Vice-chair of Project Watershed. Over the next few months the Board will work to integrate the new members and get them up to speed on all that goes on at Project Watershed.
Paul Horgen stepped down as chair of Project Watershed after eight years of dedicated service to the organization. While he is no longer chair he will continue to assist in any way he can.
Staff Biologist, Jennifer Sutherst, gave a brief review of the technical projects undertaken over the year. She touched on the monitoring work carried out at Len’s Pond, which underpinned the creation of a restoration prescription for the area, and gave an overview of the 5 year Coastal Restoration Project which has identified 70 potential restoration projects between Oyster River and Annie Creek.
Caila Holbrook, Manager of Fundraising, Outreach and Mapping, reviewed the fundraising and outreach events over the year, highlighting the Nomadic Tempest show which brought in over $37,000 for Kus-kus-sum. She also talked about the education initiative where students from local schools are learning about the estuary and Kus-kus-sum and then participating in stewardship by painting wooden salmon as a fundraiser. To kick off the fundraising initiative called “Sponsor A Salmon at Kus-kus-sum“, three people came forward and sponsored four salmon to go up on the fence at Kus-kus-sum!
Tim Ennis gave a synopsis of the Kus-kus-sum project and answered questions. He thanked Ronna-Rae Leonard for her work to bring about the $1 million dollar donation from the Province. To date over $2.3 million of the $6.5 million has been raised. He also mentioned that Project Watershed is confident we will be able to purchase the land by June 2020 or before. For a more complete review of Project Watershed’s 2018/2019 year read the Annual General Report available here.
After the break Tim Clermont and Garreth Ashley gave a presentation explaining the fencing in the Dyke Slough just off on Comox Road. They partnered with the K’ómoks First Nation’s (KFN) Guardian Watchmen to install the fences to protect the remaining sedges and eroding marsh platform from further damage by non-migratory Vancouver Island Canada geese. These resident Canada geese were introduced to the island in the 1970s for hunting and wildlife viewing, Canada Geese have flourished here, to an extent where they are now overwhelming ecosystems vital to other species, such as salmon. These resident geese overgraze the vegetation and grub the roots of the ‘marsh platform’ – a thick accumulation of nutrient-dense soils from land, freshwater aquatic and marine sources bound together by vegetation. One plant, Carex lyngbyei or Lyngbye’s Sedge, has taken the biggest hit. Find out more here.
To end the meeting Mayor Bob Wells said a few words and presented a $500 cheque for Kus-kus-sum from My Tech Guys. A few others also came forward with donations!
Project Watershed would like to thank The Old House Hotel for the room and tea and coffee service as well as all the volunteers who helped make this event a success!