Hwulqw’selu: The Koksilah
The Koksilah watershed is a beautiful 31,000 hectare area within the territory of the Cowichan people on Vancouver Island. It includes all the land that drains into the Koksilah River, from its source in the western mountains, down through the communities of Cowichan Station and Hwulqw’selu and out to the sea at the Cowichan estuary. It is home to salmon, elk, and cougar, farming, forestry, and more. The Koksilah watershed supports many lives. This project is about local people coming together to protect and restore its ability to do that long into the future.
Learning our Landscape – Sharing its Stewardship
Unlike most of British Columbia, the Koksilah watershed is mostly privately “owned”. While each landowner holds some rights and responsibilities on their property, our water and other ecological values cross property boundaries, making their protection a shared responsibility. However, we lacked a “roadmap” to help us do that well. In 2017, the Koksilah Watershed Working Group started to address that by hiring a team of researchers to create an Ecosystem Based Analysis of the whole watershed.
The first report, including a series of maps, is now available here.
A second report is currently underway based on the above analysis to provide recommendations for how our ecosystem could be restored and protected (i.e. the roadmap!).
This project aims to knit together information and people across property boundaries for the common good of our watershed. Please read it, share it, and tell us what you think!
Our Goal: To build the knowledge and capacity of the community to bring sound science-based recommendations into land use decision making processes for the Koksilah Watershed.
You Can Help!
- Respect the watershed. Understand that what we do to our watershed, we do to ourselves. Be a good steward of the land, wildlife and water.
- Read and share the report! (HERE)
- Attend events to learn more about the Koksilah Watershed.
- If you are on Facebook, join the Koksilah Watershed Group to share observations and photos, and to learn from others. https://www.facebook.com/groups/477463269631605/
- Volunteer to organize events, fundraise, educate, more! Write to Koksilah@cowichanstation.org to connect with us.
Coming Soon – Koksilahwatershed.org
Unfortunately the Koksilah River is emerging as one of the province’s most drought-impacted rivers year after year. We all need to be preparing for potential water shortages from summer to fall by learning how to do more with less water. Fix leaks in garden hoses, install efficient irrigation equipment if possible, transition towards drought-tolerant species, check out what permaculture can teach us, etc.
Sometime in June 2020, a new website will be live at koksilahwatershed.org to share resources about the Koksilah watershed, drought conditions, and how we can all do our part to prepare for a healthy future.