Salmon back in Tsolum River

Dear editor,

The salmon have returned to the Tsolum River!

Dear editor,

The salmon have returned to the Tsolum River!

This is the very best news I’ve heard and/or seen in a very long time. My heart soars.

This is a celebration worth sharing. and, just so you know, the Tsolum is a no-fishing river. It is now designated only for salmon spawning.

After 50 years as an officially “dead” river, the Tsolum is alive again.

The river died as a result of a speculative mining copper mining operation that lasted only 14 months, but left toxic levels of copper and arsenic draining into the river.

After 25 years of effort of a small group of dedicated people who protected the river from loggers, cows, and who persistently sought a lasting solution, a few years ago the tailings were finally capped in a manner that worked.

A hatchery was established, and the river has slowly returned … the first year, seven salmon were counted, the next 48, etc., until this year 35,000 were counted in one day.  Fifty-five per cent of those salmon are wild, not begun in the hatchery.

Because of the salmon, bear, cougar, wolf, eagle, osprey, and many other wild animals are living and thriving in the area again. The forest  will thrive as they leave carcasses in the woods that will feed the trees and plants.

The pinks’ carcasses in the river will supply the nutrients needed for coho to return, as their juveniles stay in the river for a year, and need the pink run to sustain themselves.

Heather Wilkinson,

Comox Valley

 

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