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.
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 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.
Project Watershed’s Kus-kus-sum project is important for supporting the broader Salish Sea Ecosystem. The project will restore habitat for fish and wildlife, attenuate flooding, and create habitat connectivity to adjacent conservation lands in the estuary. Kus-kus-sum provides habitat for mobile species, such as salmon, that utilize the broader Salish Sea ecosystem in their lives.