Our Programs

Fry Rescue
River Clean-up
Shoreline Restoration
Gerald Thom Memorial Native Plant Garden
Gerald Thom Environmental Studies Bursary
Stream Signage
Water Quality Monitoring
Lake Access
(Scroll down for details)

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Fry Rescue

Every year, by the end of June, thousands of salmon fry are stranded in pools as the river flow decreases. Many tributaries to the Lake such as the Robertson River, Sutton Creek, Meade Creek and others also dry up. For a number of years, a dedicated crew of CLRSS volunteers, community members and Cowichan Tribes members have collaborated to save as many fry as possible by relocating them to the lake for summer survival.

Click here to see our Fry Rescue Gallery

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Annual River Clean-up

Beginning in 2009, a group of folks from the shores of Lake Cowichan and the Cowichan River, came together to show their respect for our shared watershed, this great Canadian Heritage River and the lake at its source. It has been 11 years of hauling tonnes of old appliances, tires, metal bits, bottles, cans, punctured tubes, needles and lots of litter out of the river.

Click here to see our River Clean-up Gallery

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Cowichan Shoreline Restoration Project

Partnering with BCCF we have worked with more than 40 shoreline lake and river property owners; removing invasive species and planting native plants in their place; employing a Project Manager and crew of four secondary students every summer for six years; carrying out over 300 volunteer interviews with shoreline property owners educating them on riparian issues. We are well on our way to meeting our project goals: To promote a "stewardship first" culture by protecting and enhancing riparian areas.

We have produced a short video on the program with support from the Pacific Salmon Foundation.  And an excellent slide show as well.

Download our Riparian Care & Maintenance Manual or our brochure CLRSS Riparian Insights

Click here for Detailed Information on the project history.

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Gerald Thom Memorial Native Plant Garden

A garden for the community that demonstrates the beauty and hardiness of native plants. A dream of Gerald Thom  built by the Cowichan community in Saywell Park.  Come visit.

For an excellent slideshow on the history of the garden Click here.  

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Gerald Thom Environmental Studies Bursary

Gerald Thom, the founder of our Society, was taken from us in a tragic accident in 2014.  We are proud to support a school bursary in his name, to honour his substantial contributions to ecological restoration, environmental education and advocacy.  A bursary of $1,000.00 will be awarded annually to a Lake Cowichan School student with priority given to a student who is planning to enroll in post secondary environmental studies related courses.

Click here for more details

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Stream Signage

The goal of the Steam Signage Project was to identify and place signage at all road crossings of significant fish-bearing rivers and creeks in the Upper Cowichan Valley with the goal of increasing public awareness of riparian zones and the need to protect them.

Attractive, all weather, permanent signs have been erected at 49 waterway road crossings around Lake Cowichan, including the major crossing of the Cowichan River, Each sign, with its iconic yellow fish symbol, identifies the name of the waterway.

Watercourses selected for signage were significant fish-bearing rivers and creeks in the Upper Cowichan Valley as identified by Ted Burns in his landmark 2002 study.

Major funding for the project was gratefully received from the Pacific Salmon Foundation, with support also from Timber West. CLRSS volunteers contributed their time, tools and vehicles to gather materials and install the signs

Our volunteers worked closely with other stake holders to obtain necessary permissions for placement of signs. Once permission was granted we gathered materials, hauled them to the sign site, worked to clear brush, dug the hole, poured concrete and finally erected the sign.

Over the five year span of the project our dedicated volunteers . . .

  • donated 1,400+ hours of their time

  • drove 4,000+ KMs (in their own vehicles)

  • dug 51 holes

  • mixed 700 bags of concrete

  • identified GPS locations of 49 watercourse road crossings


Here is a list of the crossings where signs have been erected.  For more details on the project including a map showing where signs have been erected and a brief history of the project please see our 2016 progress report to the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

We would like to thank and recognize our dedicated team of volunteers who made the project such a success:


Gord Davidson

George deLure

Bill Gibson

Rob Somers

Gerald Thom


And we would like to recognize the support and assistance of the following individuals:


Ross Forrest, Mayor, Village of Lake Cowichan
Aaron Hamilton, Lake Cowichan First Nation Administrator
Klause Kuhn, CVRD Area I Director

Tim Kulchyski, Cowichan Tribes Biologist
Ian Morrison, CVRD Area F Director
Tom Rutherford, DFO
Shona Smith, DFO

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Water Quality Monitoring

Every Summer since 2013

CLRSS has had a team out monitoring water quality in Cowichan Lake every summer since 2013 as part of a province wide program run by the BC Lake Stewardship Society . For a detailed description of the ecology of the Lake and a report on water quality (Click here).

An updated report is due out in fall 2020.

For our Brochure on Boating Etiquette on the Lake to keep it clen and fun for all (Click here).