Project Watershed is teaming up with schools around the Comox Valley to Save the Salmon at Kus-kus-sum as part of the Students Keeping It Living initiative. This will involve painting salmon which can be sponsored by people in the community. The salmon to go up on the fence at Kus-kus-sum. This will beautify the area, connect students and sponsors to it and raise money for purchasing and restoring it.

This is part of a multi-phase initiative. In April and May, Project Watershed is visiting classes at Arden, Queneesh, Puntledge, Brooklyn and Royston School to give our interactive estuary presentation. So far the presentations have been well received. One student was heard commenting ” I learned more than I even thought I would!” and a few teachers said the same thing!

Some of the classes will go on an estuary field trip to see the things that were discussed first hand.

Then in June, as a way to reflect on what they learned and experienced the students will be creating art and literature. Each student will create a written piece – poetry or prose – to express what they learned or what inspired them. Then the students will paint salmon shapes cut from plywood by volunteers. The painted salmon will be displayed in the schools and people from the community are encouraged to sponsor them by making a donation of $5 or more to go up on the fence at Kus-kus-sum. Supporters will be able to sponsor the salmon on our website or at the school itself in June (stay tuned for more information about where and when you can sponsor a salmon).

The sponsored salmon will be put up on the fence at Kus-kus-sum on June 20, 21, 22. We will need lots of volunteers to help hang the salmon so please keep a look out for the volunteer posting. While we are putting up salmon on the fence the gates of the property will be open and the public will be allowed on the property for guided tours. Children and adults will also be welcome to sponsor and/or paint any salmon that have not yet been painted or sponsored.

Why did we choose salmon

Salmon are one of the most affected species by the present Kus-kus-sum property. As the property is covered by 8.3 acres of concrete and lined with 440 meters of steel wall it provides no habitat for salmon – very little in the way of food or shelter. In fact, the wall has been dubbed the “Killing Wall” as seal use it to effectively feast on salmon. The seals have learned to scare salmon into the wall. The salmon have no salt marsh to hide in, as they do on the other side of the river, so they swim up the wall and are easy prey. Mother seals often position their babies at the surface so that the salmon are virtually channeled into their open mouths. Restoring Kus-kus-sum will literally save salmon and make their journey up and down stream easier.

If you have time to help prime the salmon with white paint or hang them at Kus-kus-sum, please sign up on our Volunteer Form.