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Tsolum River Partnership Reduces Copper Contamination and Brings Salmon Back

2010/11 Premier's Awards Regional Finalist -- Vancouver Island Category: Partnership

Following the closure of a small open-pit copper mine on Mt. Washington in the 1960s, leaching copper eliminated the fisheries in the entire Tsolum River watershed. Remediation work in the 1980s and 1990s improved water quality, but was not enough to support a healthy fisheries resource. But in 2001 a partnership involving multiple agencies developed focused on restoring the fishery. As momentum gathered over the years this Tsolum River Partnership blossomed, incorporating more stakeholders and gathering more funding. Thanks to the group's hard work and perseverance, by 2009 copper contamination from the site had decreased by 77 per cent. The water quality in the Tsolum River has improved dramatically, allowing the fisheries resources to begin to recover. In the fall of 2009, there were more pink salmon in the river than had been seen in 50 years. It is a true example of successful mine remediation.


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