Conserving Land to Support Puntledge River Salmonids

Project Year: 2016-2017

Former sawmill site before conversion to conservation area

Project Lead

Comox Valley Project Watershed Society


Coastal Region


Project Type

Research & Information Acquisition

FWCP Contribution


Action Plan Alignment

Puntledge Riparian Wetlands Action Plan

Project ID


Land Securement & Reclamation for Puntledge Salmonids

Project Watershed has a vision to secure and restore a key property, a former sawmill site, in the K’ómoks Estuary. The original salt marsh that existed on the site was filled in, paved over, and the foreshore was artificially armoured with 440 metres of steel-clad retaining wall. This area acts as a “pinch point,” whereby Puntledge salmon stocks (both out-migrating juveniles and returning spawners) are easily trapped and preyed-upon by seals.

This project is for a scoping grant to compile the necessary background information and studies, identify information gaps and personnel requirements, and meet with relevant stakeholders and experts, leading up to the development of a complete land securement strategy, and preliminary restoration prescription for the site.


Update: Former sawmill to become conservation area

After more than 50 years the Fields Sawmill in Courtenay closed its doors in 2005 and now it’s about to get a new lease on life. Project Watershed and the K’ómoks First Nation entered into an agreement with Interfor to purchase the land, and transform it into a conservation area to be renamed Kus-kus-sum.

Once restored, Kus-kus-sum will support Chinook, Pink, Chum, and Coho Salmon, as well as Cutthroat Trout and Steelhead. Approximately 30 bird species, as well as many plant species, will benefit from this project.

The agreement was long in the making, with Project Watershed beginning discussions with Interfor in 2014. The FWCP helped the group achieve its goal with a grant in 2016-2017 to help complete a land securement strategy and develop a preliminary restoration prescription for the site. Learn more.