Monday, April 15, 2024

Comox Valley park hosting endangered species granted protection through community support


Over the last 20 years, a group of people have been working toward having an area of Comox Valley protected after they discovered an endangered species that exists only there in the world, and now that vision has come to fruition.

Morrison Creek Headwaters hosts an endangered species of lamprey discovered two decades ago and became the catalyst for the area’s permanent protection granted on May 25th. 

The 275 hectare area is now protected as a nature sanctuary thanks to the work of Carly Palmer, who first noticed a strange fish she determined to be a species of lamprey that is not only endangered but doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. In addition, the area is a major habitat and spawning ground for salmon who come back yearly for their annual salmon run.

(BC Parks Foundation)

Following this the community banded together and had help from non-profits, organizations and crowdfunding campaigns in order to raise awareness and funds to protect the lamprey and its habitat. 

The Comox Valley Land Trust (CVLT) was integral to the process and took the reins from Palmer and her family who first brought attention to the area. They found partners to work with who would help bring in the money to secure protection for the area.

“This protection not only preserves a precious habitat but also highlights the immense power we possess when we work together towards a common goal, reminding us that we can make a difference and create a lasting legacy,” said Tim Ennis, Executive Director of the CVLT.

There were many hands in this operation of goodwill toward nature, but one standout player was the BC Parks Foundation who made the MOrrison Creek Headwaters one of its first regions to be protected in their 25×25 campaign. This campaign seeks to protect 25 natural wonders within BC by the year 2025.

“This is a fantastic, special place and all kinds of people, clubs, schools, and businesses made a difference in protecting it,” says Andy Day, CEO of the BC Parks Foundation. 

“The positive crowdfunding energy felt like salmon determined to reach that freshwater spring. And they made it!”

The local community raised over $500,000 from Comox Valley citizens hoping to have the area protected with the help of the CVLT. 

“We see our pledge as an investment in the future of our children’s children, and beyond,” said Tom Grimmer and family, one of the many Comox Valley residents to contribute to the campaign.

Thanks to everyone’s collaborative efforts, the area will never be logged, the natural springs will remain pristine, the salmon and lamprey’s habitat will be unmolested by urban sprawl and the Indigenous populations who have relied on the creek for time immemorial can rest easy knowing it will not be altered.

This endeavour was a long and arduous process, but the end result will protect the area for generations to come and admire the beauty of Morrison Creek Headwaters. 

Curtis Blandy

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