Editorial: Somenos salmon warning ominous

There are multiple problems leading to this possible local extinction.

In just a matter of a few short years, there could be no more salmon in the Somenos watershed.

That is the sobering warning from the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society as we enter the new year.

There are multiple problems leading to this possible local extinction. One problem is invasive parrots feather in Somenos Creek, which is choking off the waterway at an alarming rate. Another is pollution of runoff and tributaries, as well as water quality problems in Somenos Lake itself, where toxic algae blooms are frequent. This is affecting the entire watershed. On top of that, stream-side habitat for salmon-bearing creeks is shrinking.

The Somenos watershed was once packed with this iconic fish, but the time is rapidly approaching when there will be nothing left but stories of what once was.

It’s a difficult problem to fix. Local governments are not technically responsible for fish, the federal government is. So far, this senior level of government has shown no interest in this local crisis. The Municipality of North Cowichan has stepped up to the plate and is looking at solutions to the issues in Somenos Lake in particular, but fixes are costly. Removing parrots feather alone is a multi-year endeavour that would cost from tens of thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the method chosen. The municipality is conducting an ongoing study of the area to try to determine what the root causes of some of the pollution are.

These are good steps, but what it adds up to is that nothing is going to happen immediately to fix the issues, and the salmon almost certainly do not have enough time left. Even if solutions are found and implemented, it likely won’t be fast enough.

That doesn’t mean we should give up. We must proceed to try to save this aquatic environment, for ourselves, and for all of the species that call it home. It is our only hope to bring the salmon back.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

No one hurt in Maple Bay Road fire

Fire under investigation

North Cowichan to police popular trails to ensure physical distancing

“You can expect delays accessing Mount Tzouhalem, or even to be turned away.”

Duncan’s Pat Kay copes with Olympic roller-coaster

‘Confusing time’ as Canada pulls out due to COVID-19, followed by IOC postponement

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order restricts care aides to one facility

Most Read