Critical areas within the Puntledge River watershed – the Puntledge Forest, lower Perseverance Creek and Morrison Creek headwaters – are getting a much-needed funding boost!
Environment and Climate Change Canada has given The Comox Valley Land Trust (CVLT) $3.5 million for three projects in these critical areas.
The overarching goal of these projects is to protect habitat and environmentally sensitive areas from logging.
Comox Timber Limited gave notice of its intention to harvest the site in 2020, but has now temporarily deferred this while the CVLT fundraises to buy the timber reservation.
The CVLT says the creek’s lower reaches are vital for habitat restoration. Ducks Unlimited estimates that up to 70 percent of wetlands have been lost in southern parts of Canada and 95 percent in densely populated areas.
The Puntledge Forest is being purchased to protect endangered ecological communities and nearly 30 species at risk.
The Cumberland Community Forest Society (CCFS) is looking to purchase 17.5 hectares of the lower Perseverance Creek area. The CVLT has raised over $200,000 to purchase 289 acres of the Morrison Creek headwaters.
The Comox Valley Regional District and CVLT have also previously bought 22 hectares of the headwaters in 2019.
“These projects include over a thousand acres of the most critical and sensitive habitat in the Comox Valley,” said CVLT executive director Tim Ennis. “This is a fantastic opportunity to protect mature forests, wetlands and riparian areas on eastern Vancouver Island.”
Easier said than done, as the recent government grant comes with a couple of big challenges. First, the CVLT must match the $3.5 million grant. Second, the remaining money must be raised no later than March 31, 2023.
“The challenges we’re facing are the tight timelines and the significant funds we must raise,” said Ennis.
“We’re seeking partners to match the federal grant and are hopeful the groups we are speaking with will come to the table and be generous. This is a generational opportunity and the time to act is now.”