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Morrison Creek headwaters, lamprey fully protected thanks to community efforts

A partnership between the Comox Valley Land Trust and the BC Parks Foundation means the Morrison Creek Headwaters are protected, forever.

The project is 20 years in the making, after Carly Palmer first found a rare fish species while on a family outing to Morrison Creek. It turned out to be an endangered species of lamprey, that is found nowhere else in the world.

In addition to the lampreys, the ecosystem is fed by a dozen or more cool water springs. This makes it resilient to climate change regardless of how long summer droughts may be, according to the land trust.

This means salmon thrive in the area, and it is the most productive salmon stream on southeast Vancouver Island.

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Over the years, coalition and crowdfunding campaigns have resulted in the purchase of the 680-acre land and its protection, with the land trust eventually raising over $500,000 to secure it.

Other funders also contributed including Environment and Climate Change Canada, Sitka Foundation, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Courtenay Fish and Game Protective Association and BC Hydro’s Fish and Wildlife Compensation program.

A partnership with the BC Parks Foundation through its 25×25 project helped it spring forward, and funds donated by the Wilson 5 Foundation brought the purchase in reach.

The protection of the land means it will never be logged on developed. Land trust executive director Tim Ennis adds it showcases the impact that communities, organizations and individuals can have when they work together.

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“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 Ennis.

The headwaters are in the traditional territory of the K’ómoks First Nation, who supported the project. The area is known as “qax mot” which means “lots of medicine” for the abundance and diversity of medicinal plants the area supports.

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

“Along with the Comox Valley Land Trust, we extend our deepest gratitude to all the donors, supporters, and volunteers who contributed to this remarkable achievement,” said Day.

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“Together, we can protect the natural treasures that define British Columbia and our identity as proud British Columbians, for everyone to enjoy, now and forever.”

For more information about the Comox Valley Land Trust, you can visit their website.

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