The following projects have been undertaken since the inception of the Estuary Working Group:
The Estuary Working Group is made up of representative from over 10 stakeholder groups lead by Project Watershed.
Ancient Fish Trap Archaeological Study
Project Watershed and the Estuary Working Group is in full support of Nancy Greene’s Archaeological Study on the ancient fish traps in the Estuary. We are hoping that this study will help provide the basis for a bid for National Historic Status. A National Historic Site Committee with representatives from K’ómoks First Nation, Project Watershed, local governments, and the business community has been established to work on the process of obtaining this status for the archaeological treasures in our Estuary. Mrs.Greene’s paper was published in December 2015 and is available in the first link below.
- The Comox Harbour Fish Trap Complex: A Large-Scale, Technologically Sophisticated Intertidal Fishery from British Columbia – Canadian Journal of Archaeology, Nancy Greene, David McGee and Rodrick Heitzmann
- Estuary Archeology and Fish Traps – Comox Valley Project Watershed, Published: Monday, January 10, 2011
- Wooden stakes create archaeological excitement-by Lindsay Chung, Comox Valley Record, Published: Thursday, December 02, 2010
- Fish traps ‘almost 1400 years old’-by Philip Round, Comox Valley Echo, Published: Friday, December 03, 2010
The Estuary Working Group plans to do much planting of eelgrass and restoration of salt marsh as part of its recent Blue Carbon initiative. Blue Carbon is the carbon sequestered by ocean plants which is estimated to be anywhere from 5 to 10 times more efficient than sequestration by forests.
We started eelgrass planting in 2010 – we did a small pilot project north of the Royston Wrecks and planted 300 shoots with divers and shore volunteers. Recent surveys show that this planting has been a major success with more than a 300% increase in plants! Since then we have done many other plantings including a project with the Department of Defense where we planted over 2400 shoots!
2014 will be the first year we do salt marsh plantings. We are starting with a pilot project to plant 600 square meters also in the Royston Wreck area. Salt marsh planting is a little more complicated than eelgrass planting. One reason is that many of the salt marsh areas have been inundated with Spartina patens an invasive species that we will need to remove and replace with native species.
Courtenay Air Park Lagoon Breach
The Air Park Lagoon has the potential to be more productive especially in terms of salmon habitat. Project Watershed is working with biologists, hydraulogical engineers, the City of Courtenay and others to design and build a breach in the upper area of the Lagoon to rehabilitate this habitat. Read more:
Citizen Science Forage Fish Project
Forage Fish are the small fish like sand lance and smelt that most of the rest of the marine food web depend upon. We recently learned that they lay their eggs on beaches all along the Coast. We cannot protect the spawning habitat if we do not know where it is. Ramona DeGraff is leading an effort to find and map forage fish spawning locations. Project Watershed ran a forage fish program in conjunction with Ramona from 2010 to 2011. Forage fish eggs were found along the beaches of Goose Spit and Hart Washer Creek. Read more
Dyke Slough Flap Gate Study
There are flap gates under the dyke road near the Rotary Viewing Stand. A study was under taken to see if these could be adjusted to optimize fish access and habitat.
Estuary Rearing Coho Salmon Study
Through Project Watershed’s Mapping Centre the Estuary Working Group takes on mapping projects to gather and view estuary information. Visit our Estuary Map page to view the maps listed below.
- Estuary Boundary
- Floodplain Protection
- Historical Channels
- Shoreline Hardening
- Potential Eelgrass
Interactive Map of the K’ómoks Estuary
Project Watershed, in partnership with other community groups and government agencies, is developing an online interactive map. This map aims to be the hub for ecological, historical and recreational information relating to the Estuary for residents, tourists, environmentalists, recreationalists,students and more!
Keeping it Living Awareness Campaign
The Keeping It Living Awareness Campaign is run every year to raise awareness and funds for our Estuary Projects. It consists of an art auction and competition and celebratory estuary event(s). Details for the 2014 Campaign can be found on our Keeping It Living page.
K’ómoks Estuary Management Plan Revision
The Comox Valley Regional District took the lead in revising the Courtenay River Management Plan (CREMP) in 2009. The Estuary Working Group along with other stakeholders such as Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ministry of Transportation, K’omoks First Nation etc… worked together to revise the document. Project Watershed and the Comox Valley Regional District are now calling the Courtenay River Estuary the K’omoks Estuary in honor of the K’omoks First Nation and so the CREMP has become the KEMP. A second draft has been prepared and is awaiting final edits. Once the final draft is produced we will be working towards its adoption and implementation by local, provincial and federal governments. Below are links to articles about this process.
- Call for action on updated estuary plan -Comox Valley Project Watershed, June 15, 2012
- Estuary plan triggers idea of tougher rural planning rules – Philip Round, Comox Valley Echo, August 16, 2012
- Estuary Plan Ready for Adoption by Local Government – Comox Valley Project Watershed, November 30, 2012
- CVRD Initiative on a Courtenay River Estuary Management Plan – Comox Valley Project Watershed, January 10, 2011
- Work starts on updating estuary plan – Philip Round, Comox Valley Echo, March 26, 2010
Royston Trail Lagoon Breach and Salt Marsh Restoration
This project is part of our Blue Carbon initiative.
- Simms Park Enhancement
- Fields Saw Mill Restoration