The effects of climate change are being seen in the Englishman River watershed. The climate of the south-eastern coast of Vancouver Island is cool Mediterranean with typically warm, wet winters and a period of drought in the summer. However, steadily dropping water levels are being seen due to longer periods of drought.
Warmer winter temperatures and limited precipitation resulted in no snow pack on Mount Arrowsmith, the key water source for the watershed. While late spring rains saved what could have been a disastrous year for water levels and salmon returns, we cannot always count on this.
The Englishman River recovery team have introduced a number of adaptive measures to make the most of a decreasing supply of water. This includes installing LWD structures to create more pools and shade while narrowing channels; conserving land through donations and covenants; and replanting of riparian zones.
Another key facet of integration of water conservation into the community is having strong communications and publicity based on good science. This is key to changing the mindset of community members. Scientists have found solutions to salmon and water conservation problems but elected officials need to have the political will in order to implement many of these solutions.