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

Celebrate our Estuary – Sunday, 4 September 2011

Join the K'omoks First Nation and Project Watershed Society in celebrating our Estuary

Sponsored by the K’όmoks First Nation and Project Watershed Society

The K’όmoks First Nation (KFN) and the National Historic Site Committee (NHSC) would like to extend an invitation to all Comox Valley residents to take part in an historic signing ceremony. The signing is a celebration between KFN and the NHSC to launch a community bid for National Historic Site Status for the ancient Aboriginal fish trap systems in the Estuary. In addition, the Board of Directors of the Comox Valley Project Watershed Society and the KFN have reached a Memorandum of Agreement to work together for the protection and preservation of the Courtenay River Estuary.

The event will be held on Sunday, September 4th at the Puntledge RV Campground located on Condensory Road, at the upland end of the Estuary. The event will start at 3 PM with a welcome and traditional dancing by Kumugwe Dancers. This will be followed by the signing ceremony at 3:30pm.


Emily Spiller, Vancouver Island Music Awards 2011 female vocalist of the year, will perform at 4 PM and again at 5 PM. The announcement of the official bid for National Historic Site Status for the Estuary Fish Trap Systems will be made at 4:30pm.

In addition, the afternoon will feature Aboriginal art venders, traditional first nation’s food, Project Watershed Displays on the Estuary, the KFN I-Hos canoe and more.

“We hope the entire community can join us for this historic celebration,” says Paul Horgen, Chair of the Historic Site Committee and of the Board of Directors of Project Watershed, and Melissa Quocksister, KFN member on the Historic Site Committee.

Look for the signs!

Project Watershed Thanks the Vanier Environment Club

Project Watershed would like to thank the Vanier Environment Club for their generous donation of $250.  This money was raised from fundraising events carried out during the school year.  In addition to money, these green young people also provided their time with organizing and putting on some estuary events.  According to Maye Davis the club voted overwhelmingly to donate the money to Project Watershed Society as a deserving environmental group.  Donations such as this help us with projects such as preserving the integrity of our estuary, mapping streams and putting on educational programs.  For more information on the Streamkeepers course coming up in Oct see the news item below and to register go to news & events, streamkeepers and wetlandkeepers courses.

Team Telus Charitable Giving Programme

We are honoured to have been recognized by Telus team members and alumni who chose our organization to be the recipient of their donation dollars. These dollars have been matched by the Team Telus Charitable Giving programme

Such acknowledgements confirm the importance of the work we undertake in partnership with government agencies, corporate sponsors and concerned citizens.

In fulfillment of our mission we have piloted numerous important initiatives and have been recognized with several community achievement awards.

Four focus areas for 2011 are:

  • The Courtenay River Estuary: Project objectives are to increase sensitive habitat protection through applied research, the initiation of habitat restoration, and awareness raising
  • The Puntledge River Watershed: Includes fish habitat restoration, assessment and protection projects and studies, as well as awareness raising activities highlighting fish and wildlife issues within the watershed
  • Education and outreach activities that highlight and promote solutions to sensitive habitat issues in the Comox Valley. Activities such as Streamkeeper and Wetlandkeeper courses, signage installation, landowner contact, volunteer opportunities and maintenance of a stewardship library that is open to the public.
  • Through our social enterprise The Mapping Centre we offer professional conservation mapping and related technical services which are used by stewardship groups, consultants and civic planners.


Project Watershed hopes that Telus team and alumni will continue to consider us as an important recipient for donation dollars.


Fall Streamkeepers Course – October 28th – 30th, 2011

Photo Credit: Bill Jorgenson Location: To be announced
$ 70.00 – members
$ 90.00 – non members
$ 35.00 – course material**
Course Hours:
6:30pm – 9:00pm – Fri
9:00am – 4:30pm – Sat & Sun

The Fall 2011 Streamkeepers course will cover all types of streams.  During a 2 and a half day introduction to stream stewardship, participants will visit a local stream and  learn how conduct habitat surveys, test water quality, sample and identify aquatic invertebrates and much more.  The course will be taught by Michele Jones. Michele is a registered professional biologist and has had extensive educational experience working with groups from 10 to 80 years of age.

Click here to register & pay online

**Participants can download and print the Streamkeepers Handbook as an alternative to purchasing.

Mapping Out Recreation in the Comox Valley

The Mapping Centre of Project Watershed is embarking on an initiative to produce activity specific maps in the Comox Valley and is looking for your input.

The Mapping Centre is the social enterprising arm of Project Watershed; a local environmental non profit organisation that is focused on stewardship, restoration and protection of Comox Valley Watersheds. Created in 2008 to utilize the GIS and GPS equipment and expertise Project Watershed has accumulated over the years,  The Mapping Centre has delved into the business of map making. In March of this year the Broken Spoke Bike Shop in partnership with The Mapping Centre released the first ever Comox Valley Cycling Map. The Cycling Map has been a great success and now The Mapping Centre is working to produce an array of maps each focused on different activities in the Comox Valley.

To guide the production of the maps the Mapping Centre is gathering input from locals and tourists. The Mapping Centre would like to know what maps are needed, what information is important to include etc… If you have ever wanted a map for an activity you participate in or can think of an activity that needs a map, the Mapping Centre is asking you to fill in their survey available at The new map or maps would be available starting next year. Some of the ideas put forward already include a Water Sports Map, a Hiking Guide and an Artists Studio Tour Map. Other Comox Valley maps including an airphoto map of the entire Valley are also available from The Mapping Centre.

If you are interested in helping to gather geographic information or have digital information for the production of activity maps please contact Caila Holbrook at

Courtenay VQA Wines supports Project Watershed

Photo credit: Kathy Birkett
Pictured: Gerti Roither (winner), Cindy Holland (store owner) & Valeri Diamond (Project Watershed).

Project Watershed would like to thank Cindy Holland of the new Courtenay VQA Wine Store on Cliffe Ave for the donation of their raffle proceeds to Project Watershed.

Cindy contacted Project Watershed wanting to donate the proceeds of their raffle for two nights accommodation for two at Fred Tibbs seaside condo along with two tickets to the Tofino Food & Wine Festival – Sat. June 4th, “Grazing in the Gardens”  event at the Tofino Botanical Garden.

Kira Rogers and Eli Blake, Directors of the Tofino Food and Wine Festival donated the tickets to the event, and Cindy purchased the accommodation at a reduced rate given the nature of the fundraiser from Tofino Vacation Rentals.

The draw took place during the month of May and a total of $ 703 was raised.  The lucky winners are Gerti Roither & Al Wainwright.

Cindy said that she wanted to raise money for Project Watershed  as her formal post secondary training is in Groundwater Engineering and she also spent several years as a member of the volunteer group Regional Watershed Advisory Committee (RWAC) ) for the GVRD (now Metro Vancouver).  Cindy adds, “protecting our wonderful resource is not just for today, but for generations to come, and I have total respect and admiration for the hard work your group does”.

“We are very pleased that a local business would on their own initiative make a decision to do a fund raiser for Project Watershed.  This means our public awareness campaign to educate and inform the public on just how fortunate we are to live in a place where natural wonders like our estuary are worth saving, restoring and protecting, is being acknowledged” says Paul Horgen, Chair of the Board of Project Watershed.

For more information on how you can support Project Watershed, please contact Valeri Diamond at or 250-703-2871.

Oceans Day – Sat June 4th 10-3 – Campbell River

Enjoy a free Zumba demo, local musicians, breath the ocean air; savour the stunning view at a festival with a unique Campbell River flair.

From the smallest to the largest, get close and personal with our ocean brothers and sisters. Many of the booths relate to how people live and make a living on our marine waters. Listen to whale songs, meet the creatures from the ocean floor in the live “touch tanks”, see how much life is exists in the “empty” ocean. Learn about the protozoa and salmon connection from Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences and Quinsam Fish Hatchery; visit the BC Salmon Farmers Booth for information and tasty barbecued salmon samples. Last chance to tour the celebrated Point Race Coast Guard vessel, climb aboard a whale watching Zodiac and the Fisheries and Oceans patrol boat, get information on kayaking.

Family activities include making fish-prints, Bounce-a-rama, face painting, aiming at the dunk tank, free fishing at the Discovery Pier and free admission to the Maritime Heritage Center; Also the free shuttle bus to the Campbell River Museum, food concessions at the Maritime Heritage Centre and Discovery Pier, plus tasty barbecued salmon samples.

Bring your own drinking water bottle and fill up on prize winning City of Campbell River drinking water while learning how to conserve and protect it!

Buy raffle tickets ($2.00 each) for a chance to win one of two whale watching trips and other prizes. To volunteer for this event, call the Campbell River Volunteer Centre – 287-8111. For more info call 250-202-3266 or e-mail

Puntledge fish and wildlife projects get funding

The FWCP funds projects to conserve and enhance fish, wildlife and their supporting habitats affected by BC Hydro owned and operated generation facilities in the Coastal, Columbia and Peace regions of British Columbia. “These are important restoration and research projects that target gravel placement for spawning salmon, fish passage on the Salmon River, riparian habitat in the estuary, and the marmot program,” says FWCP coastal board chair Brian Assu. “These diverse and important projects reinforce the continued positive partnerships between the FWCP, local First Nations and community groups.” The FWCP is delivered through a partnership between BC Hydro, the Province of B.C. and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Three fish projects were granted funding and are all to be led by the Comox Valley Project Watershed Society (CVPWS).

The Assessment of Homing Behaviour of Puntledge Summer Chinook Hatchery Returns ($33,500) will determine if chinook that are imprinted in Comox Lake will return compared to adults that were reared at the Puntledge Hatchery. This is the continuation of a SEED that was funded in 2010/11. Chinook and coho smolt/fry will be assessed for a second year ($100,000) as the CVPWS continues to analyze their migration in the upper watershed.

A third fish project ($4,950) will prepare a habitat improvement plan and budget for restoration of an area of Simms Millennium Park Pond.
Wildlife funding went to the McPhee Meadows Land Acquisition project ($20,000) which will complete a management plan for the newly acquired McPhee Meadows land that is located near the Puntledge Generating Station.  “Applications are reviewed annually in the Coastal region by both technical and board-level committees that include representation from all program partners, First Nations and the public,” says FWCP manager Andrew MacDonald. “It’s important to have all groups involved in reviewing the proposals.”

Projects are chosen based on technical merit, cost vs. benefit, level of partnership, linkages to watershed-specific priorities and overall benefit to the FWCP’s mandate and vision.

The FWCP in the Coastal region, formerly known as the BC Hydro Bridge Coastal Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program, has funded approximately $2 million in projects on the Puntledge River System. For 2011, the FWCP’s total funding for the 15 hydroelectric systems within the Coastal region will be $1.64 million. All research and project work will take place in 2011/2012.

For more information and to find out how your project can apply for next year’s funding, visit

City of Courtenay’s climate change commitment applauded

On behalf of Project Watershed and the Estuary Working Group, we want to commend new City of Courtenay staff members Nancy Hofer and Allan Gornall for an excellent program on global climate issues.

On April 29, the Sid Williams Theater was packed with interested residents from the Comox Valley. Both young planners did highly polished presentations and received standing ovations at the end of the evening.

Project Watershed would like to commend the City of Courtenay for taking a leadership role in environmental issues of importance to all of us living in the sensitive and fragile Comox Valley.

We hope that the council members who were unable to participate and attend the April 29 sessions have the opportunity to hear these excellent and scientifically accurate presentations at a later time,

Whatever your view is on global warming, one cannot disregard that our climate is changing and it is getting warmer.  During the 20th century alone, the average surface temperature of the world increased.

The eight warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998, with the warmest year being last year. Allan pointed this out quite well and furthermore pointed out that this is not really seriously disputed.

As we live on an estuary where storm surges and high tides have resulted in flooding, we have already and certainly will in the future experience progressively more of these kinds of events. The more our residents and leaders making decisions know and understand the global events affecting climate change the better and more thoughtful the decisions made will be now and in the future.

Perhaps you and council might ask these two young experts if it would be possible to have another evening where they might address the topic of what we might do as residents in the Comox Valley to help offset effects of climate change.

Good work, Courtenay.

Paul A. Horgen,

Important Environmental Assessment Public Meetings – Raven Coal Mine

The Raven Coal Mine has entered the public comment period for the environmental assessment process.  A key part of this process is town hall meetings where the public has a chance to tell the government what they think about the project.

Plan to attend……send a clear message to Raven and Government……Invite friends, relatives, colleagues.

There are three public meetings, each starting at 6:00 pm

2:00 – 10:00pm Monday, May 30 – Courtenay – Florence Filberg Centre

2:00- 10:00pm Thursday, June 2 – Port Alberni – Port Alberni Athletic Hall

2:00 – 10:00pm Friday, June 3 – Union Bay – Union Bay Hall

Critical time period to attend: 6:00-10:00pm

Presentations by BC Environmental Assessment Office, Canada Environmental Assessment Afgency and Compliance Coal Corporation plue question and answer period. For more information: