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Catalyst Paper plans annual ‘fall pulse’ to raise river flow for salmon run in British Columbia

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Catalyst Paper plans annual ‘fall pulse’ to raise river flow for salmon run in British Columbia

September 20, 2013 - 12:01
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CROFTON, BC, Sept. 19, 2013 (CNW) -Beginning on September 22, 2013, the annual fall pulse will take place on the Cowichan River. This increase in river flow from 13 to 18 cubic metres per second involves manually adjusting gates at the Lake Cowichan Weir and is conducted to aid the upstream migration of spawning Chinook salmon.

A joint agreement to increase water flows was reached by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Cowichan Tribes, Cowichan River Hatchery and Catalyst Paper Crofton Division. Water storage levels in Lake Cowichan are on target, providing adequate water to release.

Starting Sunday September 22 at noon and ramping up over the rest of the day, the water flow on the Cowichan River at Lake Cowichan will be increased from the current flow of 13 cubic metres per second (cms) to a pulse flow of 18 cms. This increased river flow rate will be sustained for about 2 hours and is important as it signals salmon to begin their annual spawning cycle. Unlike previous pulse flows, this year the pulse flow will slowly ramp the river flow down over the following 2 days. The plan is to repeat this same pulse flow routine beginning Sept 29.

Catalyst Paper Crofton Division encourages the public, especially boaters and swimmers, to use extra caution on the Cowichan River. Increased flows combined with natural storm events can create stronger currents and undertows.

The Cowichan Lake weir regulates water flow out of the lake and is operated by Catalyst Paper Crofton Division under the direction of Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and in accordance with the established regulations and licenses.