August 2023: Phase 1 of the Cowichan Estuary Restoration Project is complete. This phase focused on the removal of remnant agricultural berms bordering the Koksilah Marsh, adjacent to Westcan Terminal Road (Figure 1) as the first step towards restoring crucial estuary habitat.
Working with the Khowutzun Development Corporation (KDC), NTBC removed remnant agricultural berms bordering the Koksilah Marsh, adjacent to Westcan Terminal Road (Figure 1). The berms were constructed in the late 1800s to block tidal influence and convert the estuary’s tidal marsh to agricultural/pasture land. Previous ecological restoration efforts in the 1990’s focused on breaching the berms in two locations, on the west and east side of the marsh, to allow for tidal inundation from the east, and freshwater influence from the Koksilah River from the west. While these efforts were successful in reintroducing tides to the marsh and influencing saltmarsh vegetation to recolonize, the restrictions of the narrow breaches caused undesirable elevated water velocities during tidal exchange, and restricted habitat access for juvenile salmonids.