It’s hard to believe that just a few months ago, people were out in dried up Cowichan River tributaries, rescuing salmon fry who were stranded in pools.

In late August, environmental experts began pumping water from Cowichan Lake into the Cowichan River to help save the salmon run and the number of fish that have made their way through the counting fence on the Cowichan River is hard to believe.

Manager of Environment with Catalyst Crofton Brian Houle said the number of chinook to pass through this fence is well above what the Department of Fisheries and Oceans expected.

“They have said that 13,085 chinook have moved through it up until October 17 and we’re not done yet,” said Houle. “They have an expectation of what they expect to see in a year and they hope to see 6,000.”

Cowichan River tributaries dried up, salmon fry were stranded in pools, and it took man intervening to reverse the effects of mother nature, as environmental experts employed pumps from August 29 to September 18 to get the river level up.

Water was pumped out of Cowichan Lake and into the Cowichan River.

“They (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) have very low expectations in this river system, 10 years ago there was only 500, we’re seeing over 13,000 this year,” said Houle. “Last year was over 20,000 total count and the year before was over 20,000 total count.”

In 2016, environmental experts were fully prepared to pump water from Cowichan Lake to the Cowichan River, but the rains showed up just in time.