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Kus-kus-sum watershed project to create climate change resiliency

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COURTENAY, B.C. – K’omoks First Nation says a habitat restoration project will help create climate resiliency for heat waves and flooding.

In a press briefing, the provincial government highlighted efforts being made to better prepare for the impacts of climate change. The announcement reiterated the Climate and Adaptation strategy, with $513 million being invested.

The project would expand the role for the BC Wildfire Service and provide enhanced wildfire prevention and preparedness. It would also expand the development of a comprehensive provincial flood strategy and flood resilience plan, and an extreme heat preparedness plan to help people and communities stay safe during heat waves among others.

In the Comox Valley, the restoration of the Kus-kus-sum watershed on K’omoks First Nation land is being cited as a way of battling heat and flooding impacts.

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Cory Frank, Guardian Watchman Manager for the K’omoks First Nation says the area will be stronger once old barriers are removed.

“They’ve created a metal wall along the river which has changed the course of the river over time and it’s eroded away some of the plants that we used to harvest for food,” said Frank. “With climate change coming, we stand a good chance of losing all of this.”

“Removing all of the concrete and the metal walls in the river, it’s going to give us the chance to restore mother nature back to its original state in this area, creating new salmon habitat and new wildlife habitat.”

Frank says the restoration will make the area much more resilient against climate change and other impacts.

Chief Nicole Rempel says the restoration is also a culturally significant project to be completed.

“Restoring the health of Kus-kus-sum watershed on K’omoks territory is critically important to live in balance with nature and prepare for the impacts of climate change, like extreme flooding and drought,” said Rempel.

Frank says they are in the final stages of tearing everything out and returning the native plants to the area.

Frank and Chief Rempel thank local groups for their efforts in helping the restoration.

READ MORE: Kus-kus-sum watershed project moves to rebuild landscape

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