~ When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. ~

About Us

 
Becoming a member of the Society keeps you up to date as to what is happening in the Tsolum River watershed. You help us by increasing our membership which assists with fundraising and a voice for the environment.

 

 TRRS Vision

 

“Towards a Healthy, Diverse and Productive Tsolum River”

 

Our Goals:

 

·        Promote sustainable stewardship of the Tsolum River Watershed

·        Protect the Tsolum River from activities that may damage the health of the Tsolum River Ecosystem

·        Restore and/or mitigate for lost or damaged habitat

·        Achieve minimum flows that support aquatic species in all life stages

·        Develop Rainwater Management protocols and methodologies

·        Work towards assisting agricultural producers with farm friendly resource restoration

·        Protect the meander corridor of the Tsolum River and its tributaries

·        Where necessary stabilize meander to protect existing infrastructure

·        Enhance stocks when possible but only until populations build to self-sustaining levels or to provide nutrients as required

·        Monitor and maintain dissolved copper concentrations in the Tsolum River watershed from below 7 ug/L to a maximum of 11ug/L

·        Work to involve and engage youth as long-term Stewards


The Tsolum River Charter 

The Tsolum River Watershed is a fresh water ecological system; a vibrant, sustainable amenity providing an optimistic future for urban and rural quality of life.

 

Our watershed connects us to the planet we live on; it is where the ocean, river and land interconnects from the most upstream mountainous sources through all land, water and air interactions and all wild and human interactions to and from the estuary and ocean.

 

The Tsolum River Restoration Society is the steward of a natural resource. We hold that the ecosystem is both sacred and property of the commons. It is ours to cherish, restore and maintain forever.

 

The Tsolum River Restoration Society is a not for profit, charitable organization run by a volunteer Board of Directors with minimal staff leading an enormous community undertaking.

At the Tsolum River Restoration Society we believe:

  • science is the underpinning of our changing and growing understanding
  • new information will continually demand current understanding and ever-changing approaches
  • how we use the land, air and water are key factors in keeping the system healthy
  • each person brings a history, culture and knowledge to the table and shall be welcomed, heard, respected and recorded.
  • we are a part of a larger community, region, province, country and world and that our research will encompass all that has gone before; our learning and successes will be shared with this larger community

In order to direct and plan future activities, to complete and fully engage with our community, agencies, industry, governments, experts, funders and each other and to have lines of communication and responsibilities clearly defined the following Organizational Structure defines these parameters.

 

Board of Directors

  • A Board Member is duly elected by the membership at the Annual General Meeting
  • New Board Members can join the Board between AGM’s but shall have “at large” status until duly elected
  • All decision making requires a quorum vote and approval of the majority.
  • No individual Board Member is permitted to undertake communications (other than information gathering and research), purchases or commitments to others without Board approval or under a Board approved plan.
  • All Board members are encouraged to actively participate in at least one Committee
  • No Committee or member of a Committee is permitted to represent the TRRS unless authorized by Board approval.
  • Committee Chairs are required to actively recruit both Board and non-Board members for their committees as necessary
  • Committees are expected to report to the Board once per month on their activities and have any recommendations, motions, resolutions or unusual committee work approved by the Board
  • Committees are expected to convene their own meetings outside regular Board meetings
  • Executive Committee Members are required to participate in regular scheduled Executive Committee meetings

 

Committee Structure


Management Committee

Made up of President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary

  • Attends to overarching TRRS concerns and issues such as relationships with partners, funders and financial contracts
  • Acts as personnel liaison with staff
  • Attends regularly scheduled meeting preceding each Board Meeting and others as scheduled
  • Can make purchase decisions based on approved Board direction and budgetary constraint

 


Finance Committee

Chaired by the Executive Director in conjunction with the Treasurer

  • Actively recruit both Board and non-Board members as necessary
  • Maintains financial information, records and accounts for TRRS operations in conjunction with a hired bookkeeper
  • Annual Budget preparation
  • Tracks budgets and provides financial statements for  monthly TRRS Board meetings in conjunction with bookkeeper
  • Creates Major Donor strategies and prepares communications
  • Maintains major Donor’s Acknowledgement Program

 

Membership and Outreach Committee

Chaired by Board Member

  • Actively recruit both Board and non-Board members as necessary
  • Keep up to date membership list with update process (SUMAC database) for contact information
  • Leads annual membership drive
  • Assists staff with Newsletters and Update Bulletins to members as required
  • Forwards website update information, ideas and needs to Media Committee
  • Works with staff to produce brochures /  displays / other TRRS printed materials
  • Works with staff and volunteers to design, mount and staff 
    • event displays
  • Maintain and recruit membership on Board
  • Create and update orientation "package"
  • Inform and "orient” / “mentor" new members
  • Arrange retirement gifting

 

Media Committee

Chaired by Board Member or Staff (In conjunction with Membership and Outreach Committee)  

  • Assists in writing and providing TRRS entries in directories, partnerships’ publications and publications that will forward TRRS objectives
  • Production and compilation of articles / releases for website, newsletters, media and other appropriate publications
  • Assist with vetting and preparation of any outgoing documents
  • Makes regular Facebook, Twitter and You Tube entries
  • Maintains website

 

Watershed Protection Committee

Chaired by Board Member in conjunction with other Committee Chairs and members

  • Actively recruit both Board and non-Board members as necessary
  • Create and maintain relationships with all stakeholder groups, such as;
    • Forestry
    • Agricultural
    • Mining
    • Real Estate, builder and developer community
    • User organizations such as;
      • Flyfishers
      • Fish and Game Club
      • Steelhead Society
      • Kyakers Club
      • ATV Club
      • Snowmobile Club
      • 4X4 club(s)
      • Etc.
  • Seek out and actively engage landowners and residents in restoration and education in conjunction with Membership and Outreach Committee
  • Remain involved with other organizations, agencies and groups who have an impact or potential impact on the watershed, such as:
    • Comox Valley Conservation Strategy
    • CV Land Trust
    • CV Project Watershed Society
    • CV Environmental Council
    • Estuary Working Group
    • K’ómok’s Estuary Management Planning
    • Area “C” Communications Group

A Short History

The Tsolum River Task Force (TRTF) grew out of many years of dedicated work by citizens concerned about water and watersheds of the Comox Valley. As early as 1969 the Comox Valley Chapter of the Steelhead Society began to ask why fish were not rebuilding in the Tsolum. In 1992, DFO’s Salmonid Enhancement Task Group, the Comox Valley Environmental Council and other local organizers held the "Water Lifestream of the Comox Valley" forum to discuss the health of local watersheds and other water related issues. The result of this forum was the production of the report titled " Water- Lifestream of the Comox Valley" (1993), which raised community awareness of 

    • watershed issues.

The Comox Valley Watershed Assembly was a local forum that convened monthly to discuss watershed issues. At these meetings focus groups were formed to discuss concerns presented to the Assembly, and to develop solutions to these problems. The Assembly was very effective in bringing watershed issues to the public and instrumental in the formation of many watershed stewardship groups. In 1995, the "Tsolum Team" was formed at a Watershed Assembly meeting and in 1997, the "Healing the Tsolum" workshop was attended by over 200 local residents

    • At a meeting the following day, the TRTF was formed with the goal of restoring the Tsolum River to historic levels of health and productivity.

The TRTF took its message to the Provincial Minister of Employment and Investment (Mines and Energy), the Honourable Dan Miller, and to the Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Cathy McGregor to request funding and support for the TRTF’s efforts to clean up the problem of minesite pollution, address the problem of low summer water flows in the river and restore fisheries habitat throughout the watershed. In response to this call for action, the Ministers directed the TRTF to apply to Fisheries Renewal B.C. and the Environment Youth Team for assistance with this task.

In the spring of 1997, funding was received from DFO for the Tsolum River Restoration Project to be administered by the Comox Valley Project Watershed Society, with the supervision of the project under the control of the Steering Committee of the TRTF. (Reprinted from the “State of the Tsolum River” report, 1999)

By the summer of 1998 it had become clear that the TRTF was not functioning as it had over the past year. Agency and industry members were not as forthcoming in their comments and participation and action orientation began to grind to a standstill. It was revealed t

    • hat Provincial/Federal orphaned minesite remediation had become a legal issue with Notices of Remediation Orders being issued to other minesite locations in the province. The Brittania site on Brentwood Bay began to hit the media. As the remediation had taken a turn towards the courts, agencies and industry were instructed by their legal counsels to not speak openly about the minesite issues. The loss of the freedom to speak openly restricted the Task Force to the point where it became redundant. In October 1998 the Tsolum River Restoration Society was formed.

Since that time the TRRS has continued to push for remediation of the minesite with a resolution passed in January of 2001 that the Society would not support any further studies - that the issue had been studied enough and all the data led to “Source Control”  It was moved and carried that the TRRS would push for a complete cover of the site.

A bold step had been taken on behalf of the citizens of the Comox Valley who have suffered the economic losses for over 40 years of pollution. It was further decided that addressing low flows, habitat restoration, stock enhancement, community awareness and protection of the watershed would be our focus while working towards sour

    • ce control proceeded. With the demise of many of the funding sources this work has slowed but continues.

In 2003 a unique partnership was formed; industry, all levels of government, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Tsolum River Restoration Society worked together to implement a Passive Wetland Treatment Project. The project was immediately successful in reducing toxic copper levels in the river but all agreed it was a relatively short-term solution.

Since 2004 the partnership continued to press forward with long-term source control. 

At the end of 2007 a plan to cover the site found agreement, a final design document was completed in 2008, the needed $4.5 million dollars in funding was secured and the partnership announced th

e project with Quantum Murray taking the lead.

The TRRS now turns its focus to other limiting factors and are mounting a biophysical assessment of the entire watershed, the publication of an updated "State of the Tsolum River Report" and a business plan for the watershed that details our work over the next decade.

This new and major program is being dubbed the Tsolum River Recovery Plan and has transformed the Tsolum Partnership (formed to tackle the minesite) with mine interests leaving and new Recovery Partners joining.

The Tsolum River is healing from the effects of Acid Rock Drainage (ARD), historical logging practices and other anthropogenic impacts. The Tsolum River Partnership’s (TRP) objective is to build on the work of the Mt. Washington Partnership, which addressed the water quality issues of 44 years of toxic copper pollution, and to move on to restoration of the fish habitat and stocks and other considerations such as stabilization of river banks.

 

The Mt. Washington Partnership has addressed copper pollution in the Tsolum River with an engineered mine cover which has led to a continuing downward trend in copper to below our targets. The TRP will have the primary focus of watershed recovery planning hopefully leading to the recovery of self-supporting fish populations.

The first goal of this new framework is to capture the available data, experience and knowledge of the Tsolum River Partnership agencies and organizations. These are:

  • TRRS, K’omoks Nation (KFN)
  • TimberWest (TW)
  • Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)
  • BC Ministry of Environment (BCMoE)
  • BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (BCMoFLNRO)
  • BC Conservation Foundation (BCCF)
  • Comox Valley Farmers’ Institute (CVFI)
  • City of Courtenay (City)
  • Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD)

Other known experts can be brought in from time to time in order to create the second objective; a baseline atlas of the Tsolum River Watershed. As this “living map tool” is being compiled, gaps in data, limiting factors and ideas for restoration will emerge. These then can be identified and prioritized for projects in the watershed that would assist in establishing realistic and measurable, species specific recovery projects.

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