LOCAL EDITORIAL: Return of Tsolum River salmon due to dedication of volunteers

The story of the Tsolum River during the past four decades has gone from tragedy to determination to triumph.

The story of the Tsolum River during the past four decades has gone from tragedy to determination to triumph.

It’s a sobering reminder about the toll that even short-lived industry takes on nature. It’s also an inspiring example of what is possible when dedicated people devote themselves to a common cause.

An open-pit copper mine on the mountain was abandoned after operating only from 1964 to 1967.

Acid mine drainage devastated the Tsolum salmon fishery for a much-longer period.

High concentrations of copper continued to poison the waterway in spite of attempts in the 1980s and early ‘90s to address the problem.

As former Merville (now-Denman) resident Shirley Ward recalls, the “Tsolum River Restoration Society began building local community and government support for an effort to restore the Tsolum ecosystem. The society worked tirelessly to obtain provincial government support and funding to neutralize the acid drainage and ultimately to cap the mine tailings.”

That was a crucial step, but hardly the end of Tsolum restoration for the dedicated members of the TRRS.

Community outreach, restoration projects, research, water-quality improvements and stakeholder partnerships all improved the river’s health.

And this year, almost four decades after the mine opened, the efforts of TRRS volunteers have been rewarded with a healthy return of 60,000 pink salmon in the river.

The TRRS “has taken the first step towards a natural return by not running our hatchery program this year. This is the first time since 1998.”

This a remarkable success story wrought by executive director Jack Minard and the rest of the TRRS.

The group’s members still intend to re-establish riverbed stability and continue wetland and rearing habitat restorations.

The work to save what was regarded not that long ago as the most-endangered river in B.C. seems never-ending.

So, it seems, is TRSS dedication.

editor@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

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

Just Posted

A couple of clients took a break from the cold in January on opening day of the Connect Warming Centre. File photo
Courtenay council approves lease extension for Warming Centre

Courtenay council has approved a one-year lease extension and continued in-kind support… Continue reading

From left, NDP party leader John Horgan, Kus-kus-sum project manager Tim Ennis (with his daughter, Kestrel), K’omoks First Nation Chief Nicole Rempel, and Courtenay-Comox NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard pose for a photo across the estuary from the Kus-kus-sum site. Photo by Terry Farrell
B.C. VOTES 2020: Horgan promises to bridge Kus-kus-sum funding gap

NDP leader John Horgan made what could amount to a major financial… Continue reading

The three candidates vying for the Courtenay-Comox riding: Ronna-Rae Leonard (NDP) Brennan Day (Liberal) and Gillian Anderson (Green)
BC VOTES 2020 – Courtenay-Comox candidates address affordable housing

In an effort to inform the Courtenay-Comox riding constituents, we have supplied… Continue reading

The Comox Valley Hospice Society recently received a generous donation from a personal donor to help fill a fundraising gap created by COVID-19. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
Comox Valley Hospice Society receives significant donation

CVHS is facing a fundraising shortage created by the pandemic

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A screenshot from the virtual all-candidates meeting on Monday, Oct. 19 hosted by the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce. (SCREENSHOT)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Mid Island-Pacific Rim candidates weigh in on forestry, tourism, LNG

For the first time ever, Alberni Valley Chamber hosted a virtual all-candidates’ meeting

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Michael Leighton, who is wanted on 11 warrants on Vancouver Island and is a suspect in a recent break, enter and theft in Nanaimo. (Photos submitted)
RCMP looking for break-and-enter suspect with 11 warrants on the Island

Nanaimo RCMP say Michael Leighton a suspect in theft of pistol and $40,000 worth of coins

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Most Read