Blue-green algae bloom in Somenos Lake. (Submitted photo)

Clean-up project initiated for Somenos and Quamichan lakes

Community meeting to be held on Feb. 28

The Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society and the Cowichan Community Land Trust are working together on a clean-up project at Someone and Quamichan Lakes.

This new initiative by these two long-standing local environmental conservation and stewardship organizations in the Cowichan Valley is called the S-amuna’ (Somenos) and Kw’amutsun (Quamichan) Lakes Clean Water Action project.

The project will increase public awareness and community engagement in water quality issues and stewardship strategies in and around the urban lakes, and has received funding from the Environment and Climate Change Canada’s EcoAction Community Funding Program, as well as a grant-in-aid from the Municipality of North Cowichan.

A community meeting will be held on Feb. 28 in the Arbutus Room of the Cowichan Valley Inn, starting at 6:30 p.m., to introduce the project and begin to engage residents who are interested in getting involved.

Speakers will include Tim Kulchyski of Cowichan Tribes, aquatic scientist Dr. Dave Preikshot, and project coordinators from SMWS and CCLT.

Water quality in the lakes has been a concern for residents since the 1950s.

E.coli, septic runoff, sediment, phosphorus and other chemical loading, invasive species, fish habitat degradation, flooding and toxic blue-green algae blooms are ongoing issues for the community.

These lakes are of great significance as fish and wildlife habitat and hold important recreational value, highlighted by the recent naming of Quamichan Lake as the future home of Rowing Canada’s training facilities.

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