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The sheltered waters of estuaries are home to countless plants and animals that like to live in water that is part fresh and part salty. Examples include crabs, ospreys, herring, eagles, and seagrasses. Hundreds of fish and shellfish,such as scallops, shrimp, and salmon, live in estuaries at some point in their life. Estuaries protect water quality by filtering out dirt and pollution as well as store carbon. In addition, estuaries and the land surrounding them are places where people live, sail, fish, swim, and bird watch. As a result, estuaries are often the centers of our coastal communities.

Our Vision
We envision the estuary as a fully rehabilitated ecosystem, free of harmful industrial uses, zoned for biodiversity conservation, compatible recreation, and the sustainable traditional use of renewable resources such as shellfish, herring and salmon which have provided the livelihood of local First Nations for centuries.
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Our Approach
“Think Globally, Act Locally” guides our approach to achieving our ambitious goals and objectives. In ecological terms our holistic approach is based on landscape level planning addressing the Cowichan- and Koksilah River Watersheds, their common floodplain and marshes, and the Estuary that is formed and shaped by the two Rivers.
We want to create synergies through cooperation with all stakeholders concerned about the well-being of the Cowichan and Koksilah watersheds, floodplain and marshes which form one single ecological entity. We want to build on past and on-going efforts in reaching our Vision.
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Background
The Cowichan Estuary is formed by the Koksilah and Cowichan Rivers which share the same floodplain and marshlands in the transitional zone between land and water. Historically and for centuries this highly productive estuary has provided the livelihood of First Nation people offering a rich and diverse sustainable harvest of shellfish, salmon, herring roe and seaweed. Due to its mild micro-climate and naturally abundant food sources the estuary and adjacent lands had always been considered a preferred settlement area by First Nation people.
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