The Courtenay River is significant for its historic, scientific, and social value, particularly for its historic importance to Courtenay’s early inhabitants and businesses, its biological importance, its unique physical characteristics, and its role in Courtenay’s recreational development.
The heritage value of the Courtenay River lies in its cultural and historical importance to both the Pentlach and K’omoks First Nation’s people who occupied and controlled the territory in and around Courtenay for thousands of years. The remnants of numerous fish traps located throughout the mouth of the Courtenay River and Estuary, one of the largest concentration of inter-tidal fishing structures in North America, attest to the abundance of marine life made available by the Courtenay River and Estuary. The remnants of these aboriginal fish traps are valued as a unique educational opportunity to study sustainable First Nations fishing technologies and culture for all citizens.
The Courtenay River is valued for its important role in Courtenay’s early pioneering development. Thousands of years of natural flooding of the River resulted in cleared and rich alluvial soil which made conditions perfect for agricultural settlement and prompted Courtenay’s first settlers to preempt in the area in 1862. The width and depth of the river facilitated early transportation and business ventures, which is reflected in the pilings and cribbing that still line the River and estuary.
The Courtenay River’s scientific value lies in its biological importance to a variety of species of wildlife, including salmon and migratory birds that winter in the area. It is significant that hundreds of protected Trumpeter Swans winter at the Courtenay River estuary, resulting in the largest concentration of the species anywhere in the world.
The River’s scientific value is also expressed in its physical uniqueness as the River is the shortest navigable river in the world.
The Courtenay River’s social value lies in its central role in the development of Courtenay’s recreational identity which is exemplified by the River’s prominent and accessible location through the heart of the City.
Earthworks Continue at Kus-kus-sum
While the Kus-kus-sum site is already beginning to come into its own, there is still much work to be done. Just over one third of the area was recontoured and planted last year in 2022. Project Watershed aims to recontour and replant the remainder of the site this summer and fall, if funding allows. The key works you will see on site this year include recontouring and regrading, habitat complexing, and native species planting.
Kus-kus-sum Restoration Overview
The restoration will occur in 3 phases. Click below to read more about each phase and scroll down to see a visual representation of the site features found on the restored Kus-kus-sum site. During Phase...
Forage Fish Map
Project Watershed has been surveying beaches for the presence of forage fish and forage fish eggs. The location of the beaches we surveyed last season are shown below. You can hover over each location to see if eggs were found.
Forage Fish Spring Forum April 26
Announcing the 2023 Virtual BC Forage Fish Monitoring Network Spring Forum! This event is an opportunity for all those interested in the conservation of forage fish in British Columbia to come together and learn about the latest research and updates.
The Importance of Estuarine Environments for Pacific Salmon
Fish monitoring at Hollyhock flats will be starting this summer! We’ve summarized a scientific article explaining what kinds of habitat are important to salmonids.
Kus-kus-sum Site History
A short history of the Kus-kus-sum site from pre-European contact to the present day.