Mallard Creek Reed Canary Grass Removal Project
Since 2004, it is estimated that the amount of RCG in the K’ómoks Estuary has tripled. RCG provides little value for native wildlife and insects, few species will eat it, and it grows too thickly for mammals or waterfowl to use for cover/nesting. Foraging juvenile salmon and trout have feeding opportunities reduced in areas dominated by RCG, and it constricts waterways thus preventing salmon from reaching spawning habitats.
Project Watershed, with funding support from the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, has been working to inventory and map the extent of invasive RCG in the K’ómoks Estuary and to come up with a management plan for this invasive species. Once we started our inventory work this past spring and summer we quickly realized that there was a significant issue with Mallard Creek (not to be confused with Millard Creek on the opposite side of the Estuary!). Mallard is a local creek that flows into the Dyke Slough and supports coho salmon and cuththroat trout. However, RCG, which can grow on land and in water up to 2 meters in depth, has completely choked off this creek in the last few years, leaving little to no open water access for fish or other wildlife.
Once we realized this was the case, Project Watershed mobilized to tackle this issue. We brought an excavator in to clear out and flip upside down the large vegetative mats of RCG alongside about 200 meters of the west side of creek this past September. Then with the help of our wonderful volunteers, we harvested long native willow stakes, cut them down to 2 meters lengths and transplanted them in the areas along the creek where the grass had been removed. The willow, which is densely planted, will regrow from these cuttings and shade out the RCG, preventing it from re-establishing. The fall is the ideal time to do this type of restoration work as the willows are dormant. With fantastic volunteer support, we managed to harvest and transplant 600 willow stakes alongside the creek at the end of October!
Volunteers, Rio North and Isadora Datt, who helped that helped harvest the willow stakes rest on the result of their labours
The Kus-kus-sum project aims to unpave and restore an industrial sawmill site to natural habitat on the banks of an important fish bearing stream in the Comox Valley. As milling took place on the site for about 60 years there is a concern that it is contaminated with chemicals associated with the sawmill industry. In addition to this, the site was filled with a variety of materials (tires, beds etc…) to raise and level the area for sawmill operations.
This video follows a forage fish field day, from sampling to the counting of eggs, in the late fall of 2019.
This Annual Report summarizes Project Watershed`s activities over the 2019 – 2020 period.
While many citizen science groups have begun conducting spring/summer forage fish spawning surveys, we still need a few more volunteers to cover some of the beaches in our area. Specifically we need volunteers for Quadra Island and Campbell River.
One of our wonderful supporters is sewing face masks and donating the proceeds to Kus-kus-sum. They are quality hand made cotton masks with a filter pocket and non-woven filter provided, pleated front, and a wire inserted over the nose piece for a better fit.
On June 17-19, 2020 Project Watershed organized a planting session to restore the vulnerable coastline in the Fanny Bay area. During the three days, our staff and 19 volunteers helped plant almost 2500 individual plants, comprised of Salicornia, Distichilis and dune grass species. This planting compliments another coastal restoration project where the shoreline was revegetated to protect the area from erosion.
On June 30, the students and instructors of Toshikan Traditional Karate and Kobudo, in Courtenay, completed 108 kata (kata is a series of self-defence techniques combined in a traditional form) as fundraiser for the Kus-Kus-Sum project, in appreciation of Project Watershed’s good work for natural habitat of the valley and the estuary.
A variety of native plants, shrubs and trees will be established at Kus-kus-sum as part of the restoration process. This will not only provide food, shelter and habitat for fish and wildlife but also help mitigate climate change. Check out this video to find out more.