Our Watershed – Thru a Creative Lens  - History Meets Climate Change

For the past 150 years we have been transforming our shared watershed(s) here in the Cowichan Valley. Gone are the magnificent primary forests of huge red cedars, towering Douglas firs, lichen-draped, maple giants, sheltering acres of soft moss, salal, salmonberries, Nootka rose and so much more in the forest understory. Largely gone too is significant summer rain and thick snow-packs in spring that historically nourished our creeks and lake in the summer months. The transformed landscape we inhabit is also the victim of a changing climate. 


Yes, the rain still falls on the peaks surrounding the lake, flows downhill to the lake and then down the river to Cowichan Bay. Yes, the transformed watershed(s) is still where we live and play and yes, it is crucially important that we all take shared responsibility for the reality we now occupy.


The CLRSS in collaboration with the Cowichan Valley Arts Council is asking you to pause and reflect upon these profound changes and then share your personal reflections in our event called “Our Watershed - Thru a Creative Lens”.


Send us your contribution by email to with Thru a Creative Lens as the subject line or mail hard copies to PO Box 907 Lake Cowichan, BC V0R 2G0.


The results of this introspective work could become part of the CLRSS contribution to a community-wide art show, curated in the CVAC Gallery, 2687 James Street, Duncan, August 27th to September 25th   Participants will be notified should we wish to use your submission as part of the CLRSS show piece.  


Some ways CLRSS would like you to become involved:


  • Go to your local museums or to their on-line presence, find an historical photo that speaks to you. Try to find the same location today and send us your photo of it along with your thoughts on the changes that you observed and how you feel about those changes.  Or visit our on-line archive using the links below to choose one of the paintings or photos that we have selected as your starting point.


  • Search out your own special spot.  Take a photo, write a poem or a story and share them along with your observations/feelings about what has come and gone from our shared watershed. 


  • Check out the interesting public art in Ts’uubaa-asatx Square in Lake Cowichan, the murals at Lake Cowichan Secondary School or the Community Hall in Honeymoon Bay, the wildflower drawings at the Ecological Reserve at Honeymoon Bay etc., photograph and reflect on what they tell you about changes in our watershed(s).


Images from our Watershed

The images displayed here have been sourced from the on-line archives of the BC Museum, the Cowichan Valley Museum and the Kaatza Museum. 

Camp Lake C 1853.png

In the Beginning

Winter logging S Cowichan Lake 1975

Transforming the Forest

Log Booms on Lake C 1982

Watershed Vistas

Logging D Fir Cow Lake 1950.jpg

Watershed Giants

Cow River 1928.png
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©2020 by Cowichan Lake & River Stewards. Photo Credits Judy Brayden, Genevieve Singleton. Leroy Van Weiren, Chantelle McGeachey, Jean Atkinson & Parker Jefferson. Proudly created with