Shawnigan Lake – Growing up as an avid outdoorsman, and having studied the connection of all life in an ecosystem, I am appalled by the CVRD’s decision to lower the minimal acceptable water level of the Cowichan River.
By lowering the minimal acceptable water level, the CVRD hopes to keep Crofton’s Catalyst mill open, and to allow taxpayers to continue using water for recreational purposes. This comes at the loss of survivable water conditions for Cowichan’s salmon.
The salmon fry require cool water temperatures to survive. Because of the lack of precipitation, the river is running low, and is overheating, thus killing the salmon fry in the river. I ask the CVRD: is having a few flowers in your garden, a shiny clean car in the driveway, and a swimming pool in your backyard worth the economic and ecological impacts that will result by lowering the minimal acceptable water level?
If the weather remains dry, the water levels in the Cowichan River water system could be critically low now. The effects of the Cowichan drying up would be devastating, both ecologically, and economically. Because of the four-year breeding cycle of salmon, every four years, the number of salmon in the Cowichan will be less than those of previous years. For each year the river overheats and dries up, we lose another generation of salmon. The salmon drive the economy not only of the Cowichan River, but also of the whole Island. With reduced salmon populations, sport fishing and tourism will be reduced. The impacts stemming from the lack of water restrictions in and around the Cowichan River are not only environmental, but also economic.
The CVRD’s reluctance to impose a firm minimal acceptable water level will leave the Cowichan’s salmon population, and thus the economy, high and dry.