Forage Fish Field Day
In 2019, Project Watershed began a 3-year collaborative project between citizen scientist volunteers, community partners like the K’ómoks First Nation, North Island College, and the BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF) to investigate forage fish. Project Watershed is collecting data on beaches in the Comox Valley, Campbell River, and the Islands of Cortes, Hornby, and Quadra.
Generally, little is known about forage fish and their spawning habitats. Forage fish are important fish in the aquatic food chain. They are food sources for salmon, humpback whales, and other species of concern like the rhinoceros auklet. They are small schooling fish. Some of the more common forage fish include herring and eulachon. There are seven species of forage fish found in the coastal BC waters (Pacific herring, capelin, eulachon, Pacific sand lance, surf smelt, Pacific sardine, and Northern anchovy). Project Watershed is focusing on Pacific sand lance and surf smelt as these species spawn on beaches just below the high tide line. Forage fish habitat is threatened by climate change, human disturbances, and seawall construction.
Thank you to the many volunteers who have supported this project. This video follows a field day, from sampling to the counting of eggs, in the late fall of 2019.
On Saturday, September 26, forty volunteers pitched in to collect garbage at Kus-kus-sum and Hollyhock Flats as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. The photos and short video captured from the day illustrate just how industrious it was.
Project Watershed has raised over $2.9 million for Kus-kus-sum and they are closer than ever to acquiring and restoring the site to natural habitat for fish & wildlife, climate change mitigation, reconciliation and community health.
Project Watershed needs volunteers to help us harvest willow cuttings, and then plant them alongside sections of Mallard Creek.
Deanne McRae and Mackenzie Gartside have started something new in downtown Courtenay – The Uplifters Shop. Unlike a normal for profit retail store, most of the items they sell have some kind of charity kickback. In this way the store “lifts up” a variety of charities both local and abroad. One project they are supporting is Project Watershed’s Kus-kus-sum initiative.
Christopher Smith of Glaskrafter Art Glass is generously donating the proceeds from a selection of his beautiful kiln glass salmon sculptures to the Kus-kus-sum project. In fact, he has already donated $1,600 to Kus-kus-sum for a sculpture bought in August.
We were finally able to hold the Paintings, By The Numbers event on Sept 12, 2020. The event raised over $25,000 for Kus-kus-sum and despite the fact that it was very different than we had planned preCOVID, it turned out to be a success.
Nikki Wright from Seachange Marine Conservation Society and Maria Cantazaro from the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) visited our kelp research site at Oyster River and our saltmarsh projects. Maria is a researcher working for the PSF on a report looking at the importance of nearshore, habitat connectivity and estuarine habitat to Pacific salmon.
Join us on September 26th as we participate in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. The cleanup will occur on the Kus-kus-sum property and the adjacent Hollyhock flats area. We will start at 10am and go til about noon.