This category features all post related to Project Watershed’s new and ongoing projects and initiatives.
We have met and surpassed our June 30 target of $100,000 for Kus-kus-sum! To date we have raised over $400,000 from our community fundraising initiatives. We now have just under $100,000 to raise to reach our overall goal of $500,000. To facilitate the raising of this last $100,000, we are creating smaller targets over shorter time frames. Our next target will be $35,000 by October 20th in preparation for our next payment to Interfor on October 31st. Our targets after that will be the end of December this year and mid June 2020.
We are proud of our community and all donations and volunteer time everyone has put in to make this a success so far. We are almost at our goal and look forward to being able to start the restoration process in 2020. Thank you for helping us keep it living at Kus-kus-sum!
The Millard-Piercy Watershed Stewards were recently honoured as recipients of Project Watershed’s annual ‘Keeping it Living’ award.
The award, an original painting by local artist Bev Byerley, is presented to an organization in the Comox Valley that has made a significant contribution to the restoration and protection of the K’ómoks Estuary and its watersheds.
In the past year, the Millard-Piercy stewards, together with the City of Courtenay staff, organized two major cleanup campaigns of homeless campsites in the watershed after the sites had been evacuated by campers. In addition, the Stewards developed a phased restoration plan for the upper Piercy Creek watershed and launched a public awareness campaign for streamside homeowners to educate them how to protect sensitive streamside ‘riparian’ habitat.
The organization has also been a leader for the development referral process, working closely with the City of Courtenay to address concerns related to the significant amount of development that is occurring in this increasingly urbanized watershed. The group continues to undertake regular water quality monitoring and fish surveys in the watershed.
“We are very honoured to have received this award from Project Watershed,” said Robin Harrison, president of Millard-Piercy Watershed Stewards. “It is good to be recognized for the work our volunteers have undertaken for over 20 years to improve the health of the watershed.”
If you were down at Miracle Beach Park on the weekend of June 22nd you might have noticed a dive boat and divers working just off shore. The divers were working on transplanting subtidal eelgrass in barren areas off of the park. The project is part of a larger coastal restoration project being led by the Comox Valley Project Watershed. Recently Project Watershed completed a coastal mapping inventory of 120 kms of coastline, from the Oyster River estuary to the Annie Creek watershed. The objective of this work was to assess changes in distribution of nearshore eelgrass, saltmarsh and kelp habitats in order to prioritize sites for restoration. It was determined that the subtidal area off of Miracle Beach Park was a good candidate for an eelgrass restoration project. This site was prioritized due to the close proximity of healthy eelgrass beds, where donor stock could be harvested from, as well as the fact that the area already has some protection, due to the adjacent upland park.
Divers will be harvesting eelgrass shoots from lush beds near the restoration site. The eelgrass will then be transported via boat to the Oyster River / Pacific Playgrounds marina where volunteers will prepare the shoots with anchors for the divers to transplant. A total transplant of 1000 m2 is planned, dived into five 200 m2 plots. Post transplant the eelgrass team will be returning to the site to monitor the success of the transplanted areas. Marker floats attached to lead lines will be left in place to identify the transplant areas.
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!
We respectfully acknowledge that we live, work and play within the traditional territory of the K’ómoks Nation.
250 703 2871
projectwatershed at gmail.com