The Comox Valley Project Watershed Society (CVPWS) hosted a tour of the Courtenay Airpark Lagoon Dike Breach to the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP) Coastal Region board members.
The FWCP funded $106,550 to CVPWS to complete the project which aligns with the FWCP Salmonid Habitat Action plan, Puntledge Watershed. The total project cost was just over $280,000.
The culvert and salt marsh restoration project has improved the health and ecological function of the K’ómoks estuary, by improving habitat complexity, water quality and fish access in a key intertidal habitat.
“The culvert will improve circulation and nutrients in the lagoon, making it excellent rearing and foraging habitat for juvenile salmon. The salt marsh benches will also provide habitat for fish and protect some of the shoreline that has suffered damage from erosion in recent years.” Jennifer Sutherst, estuary co-ordinator, Project Watershed.
The FWCP board was joined by Project Watershed board members to assess and view the functioning of this former barrier, which was eliminated by the breach in order to reconnect the ‘salmon highway.’
“In the last two weeks there have been pink salmon observed in the lagoon and it appears they are using the culvert to gain access to the river,” noted Dan Bowen, Project Watershed technical director.