This category features all post related to Project Watershed’s new and ongoing projects and initiatives.

Eelgrass - Zostera marina (planting subtidal), Lora Tryon

Project Watershed Transplanting Eelgrass near Bowser

Angela Spooner, lead Biologist for eelgrass restoration.

Eelgrass - Zostera marina (planting subtidal), Lora Tryon

From June 21-23rd, 2018 Project Watershed will be transplanting subtidal eelgrass near the community of Bowser. Eelgrass forms an important part of the ‘salmon highway’ by providing foraging and refuge areas for young fish including Pacific salmon. In addition, eelgrass provides food for migratory waterfowl, shelter for invertebrates, and spawning surfaces for Pacific herring. It also sequesters carbon, helping to offset some of the impacts of climate change and stabilizes the substrate and moderates wave energy helping to reduce coastal erosion.

Last year Project Watershed received a 5-year funding contribution from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, through the Oceans Protection Plan (to learn more click here).  This funding will allow us to inventory eelgrass, salt marsh and kelp habitats along 120 km of coastline (from the Oyster River Estuary to Annie Creek), develop a Coastal Restoration Plan for the area, and implement restoration projects at sites identified.  500 m2 of eelgrass is planned to be transplanted at the site that has been selected near Bowser.  Afterwards the transplants will be monitored on an on-going basis to assess the success of the restoration.

The lead Biologist for this work is Angela Spooner from Sylvan Island Environmental Consulting.  Community involvement is key for the success of these restoration projects. We feel that engaging the local community in our restoration activities creates ‘ownership’ of the coastal habitats and builds stewardship of these areas beyond the scope of this project. The hope is to have community volunteers helping with both the restoration and long-term monitoring of the projects.  For this particular project teams of volunteers will be tying and bundling eelgrass in preparation for our divers to plant it. If you are interested in learning more about this work or would like to volunteer your time, you can contact Angela directly at:

Sustainable Seafood Chef Ned Bell visits Locals Restaurant to support Kus-kus-sum salmon habitat restoration

Sixty foodies got a special “appetizer” of the BC Seafood Festival when celebrity Chef Ned Bell served a gourmet “estuary luncheon” in the Comox Valley. Canadian cookbook author, national TV personality and champion for sustainable seafood and oceans, Chef Bell came to support Project Watershed’s Kus-kus-sum project to restore the old sawmill site on the Courtenay River. With partners […]

Mulgrave School students spend a week in the Comox Valley

Students from West Vancouver’s Mulgrave School spent the week of May 15-19 in the Comox Valley working on restoration projects with Project Watershed.

Armed with new shovels, rakes, hoes, gloves and other implements, 14 students (age 14-17), three teachers and their field trip leader Lee Hardy spent four days working on shoreline restoration in the K’omoks Estuary.

Students from Mulgrave School, of West Vancouver, spent the week of May 15 – 19 in the Comox Valley working on restoration projects with Project Watershed.

In Royston, they helped landscape the upper salt marsh area and planted this area with dune grass and other saltmarsh plants, to create habitat for juvenile salmon and other marine creatures.

“The kids really worked hard on restoration activities,” said Jean Swain, Project Watershed volunteer.

On May 16, the Mulgrave students worked with 52 local students from Robb Road School at the Courtenay Airpark. The day was led by Project Watershed directors Bill Heidrick and Dan Bowen as well as staff Caila Holbrook and Amy Firth. The students were involved with water quality monitoring, playing a salmon game, garbage pick-up, observing a saltwater wedge demonstration and planting saltmarsh.

They completed their week by working with Frank Hovenden, Comox Valley Nature, and planting additional saltmarsh plants and 15 shoreline trees in Royston.

Musgrove School donated all of the new implements to Project Watershed to be used in future restorations.