Kate O’Neill measuring temperature and depth in the Tsolum River. Photo supplied

Late summer and fall busy time for Tsolum River Restoration Society

  • Aug. 21, 2019 6:00 a.m.

A strong pink salmon return is expected this fall and every second year brings a large number of pink salmon into the Salish Sea and eastern Vancouver Island rivers.

The rains this summer have helped keep the flow less critically low in the Tsolum River and the riparian areas are healthier. Recent reports indicate that pinks are already entering the Comox Valley rivers.

The Tsolum is closed to all fishing, including catch-and-release until the stocks rebuild to sufficient levels after 45 years of mine site pollution. Mind the pinks while they spawn and leave the fishing rods at home as you recreate in and around the Tsolum.

Instead, head to the Puntledge or Campbell rivers for some great salmon fishing.

Avoid letting your dogs swim in deep pools if you see schools of pinks in them. These pools are important refuge areas for the salmon during their long migration and it is best if they are undisturbed.

Kate O’Neill, a graduate student from Simon Fraser University, has been conducting a flow and temperature study in the Tsolum this summer. Residents may have noticed some of her monitoring sites – they will be removed in September. The Tsolum River Restoration Society will share the results of O’Neill’s research later in the year.

The society is starting its second gravel bar willow live staking project on the upper Tsolum the first week of September.

The first gravel bar project completed in September 2018 has been a success to date. Join the society as a volunteer for a rewarding experience building the beginnings of a forest on the large unstable gravel bars in the Tsolum system.

Sign up at their booth at the Comox Valley Exhibition, visit the website at tsolumriver.org or contact them at tsolumriver@shaw.ca or 250 897-4670.

This fall, the society will present a six-week course: The Tsolum River; A Wild River in Recovery at Comox Valley ElderCollege at NIC, Thursdays from Oct. 24 to Nov. 28, from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

Join the society Aug. 29 from 10-11:30 a.m. at the CV Exhibition Grounds for a free guided walk along the river. Meeting place is the curling rink parking lot at 4835 Headquarters Rd.

On Sunday, Sept. 22 join at 11 a.m. to celebrate BC & World Rivers Day, and enjoy a scavenger hunt in the woods.

More info about upcoming events can be found on the website or Facebook page.

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