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

 

Just Posted

Four-hour ferry delay on Buckley Bay-Denman Island route

BC Ferries reported the cable ferry is experiencing issues with the head shieve.

Air quality statement in effect for Comox Valley

Smokey skies could mean a high risk on the air quality health index

Additional funds allocated to over-budget Cumberland fire hall design

Council approved the addition of $125,000 for pre-construction work

Local musicians inducted into Comox Valley Walk of Achievement

Seven local musicians have earned their spot among some of the Comox… Continue reading

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

Comox resident part of famed basketball team

Kay MacRitchie MacBeth played guard for Edmonton Grads

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Vehicle catches fire near Vancouver Island provincial park

Fire shut down Highway 4 in both directions

Most Read