Salmon in Our Watersheds


Coho, Chum, Pink, Chinook and Steelhead Salmon all return to the Cowichan and Koksilah Rivers to complete their life cycle. Watching the salmon travel upstream, battling the mighty forces of rushing river water, finding a place to lay their eggs, spread milt and then die is a powerful sight to see. You are witnessing the beginning of one life cycle and the end of another cycle. Between the beginning and end is where things get really interesting for the salmon. They hatch, spend some time in their home stream, then make their way down to an estuary before they head out to sea. Eelgrass beds in the estuary are a critical source of food and shelter for young salmon while they are transitioning to saltwater. The life cycle of salmon is an incredible journey, and it’s one that we should all pay more attention to protecting and supporting as our climate changes.


Learn about the Stream to Sea Program that the Nature Centre participates in every year. Salmon Eggs

Read about the Nature Centre’s project to conserve and protect the Cowichan and Koksilah watersheds. Watershed Restoration



Caption: Join Hayley and Eddy the Eelgrass from the Nature Centre on an imaginary tour through the watersheds of the Cowichan Valley! Water flows from the top of the mountains to lakes, rivers and eventually to the estuary, where the land meets the ocean. Eelgrass meadows in the Cowichan estuary provide an important habitat for juvenile salmon to grow and transition into a saltwater environment.

Video Credit: Cowichan Valley Regional District


Caption: Learn about the return of the Chum salmon in the estuary due to local conservation efforts. Many other types of salmon can be found in Cowichan Bay including Coho, Chinook Coho and Chum Salmon, as well as Steelhead Trout (a Salmon species) and Cutthroat Trout. Thank you to the Pacific Salmon Foundation for providing support to the Nature Centre over the past 10 years, including for riparian restoration work with youth!

Video Credit: Pacific Salmon Foundation


Caption: Cowichan Bay is known for its marina, including fishing, kayaking and cruising on the water. However, anchoring and mooring in the estuary can damage eelgrass habitats, as anchor chains drag on the sea floor. Watch how you can take action by using seafloor friendly mooring systems.

Video Credit: SeaChange Marine Conservation Society