The Comox Lake Watershed

The Comox Lake watershed is located in the traditional territory of the K'ómoks First Nation and is the source of drinking water for over 49,000 residents through the Comox Valley Water System and the Cumberland Water System.

The watershed is 461 square kilometres and reaches to the top of the Comox Glacier and the mountains surrounding Comox Lake. It is an interconnected system of mountains, forests, rivers, creeks and streams and an ecological corridor that links Vancouver Island mountains with the Salish Sea. All the snow and rain that falls within the Comox Lake watershed flows through forests, rivers, creeks and streams into Comox Lake. 

Over the past 140 years the Comox Lake watershed has also been a base for mining, logging and recreation activities. While coal mining operations ended in the 1930’s, a large portion of the watershed is still currently privately owned and managed for timber supply. Comox Lake itself is a reservoir controlled by BC Hydro for power generation. Swimming, boating and camping also takes place in designated public access areas.

The watershed provides important habitat for fish and wildlife including species at risk like the Roosevelt elk, little brown bat and northern red-legged frog. Comox Lake flows into the Puntledge River providing stream flows that support many species of salmon. The watershed also feeds groundwater, aquifers and wells and supports vibrant aquatic ecosystems throughout the Comox Valley Regional District.

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Watershed Sub-Basins

Within the Comox Lake watershed there are multiple sub-basins named for the creeks and rivers that flow through them. These include the Upper Puntledge, Cruikshank, Boston Creek and Perseverance Creek sub-basins.

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Land Ownership in the Comox Lake Watershed

The management of the Comox Lake watershed is made more complex by the multiple land owners and managers in the watershed boundaries. These landowners work together to support the goals and objectives of the Watershed Protection Plan.

  • BC Hydro - BC Hydro Recreation Area & Trails
  • BC Parks - Strathcona Provincial Park and Comox Lake Bluffs Ecological Reserve
  • Comox Lake Land Corporation - cabin owners at east end of lake
  • Comox Valley Regional District - Coal Beach and Whytes Bay lands
  • Courtenay and District Fish and Game Society
  • Village of Cumberland  - Cumberland Trail Network, Perseverance Creek Sub-Basin, Cumberland Lake Park
  • Manulife Resource Group (formerly Hancock)
  • MOSAIC Forest Management
Watershed Protection Plan

In 2016 the CVRD published the Comox Lake Watershed Protection Plan (WPP). This plan was the culmination of a multi-year process involving land owners, knowledge holders and stakeholders. The objective of the WPP is to guide the management of the watershed for the long-term protection of drinking water at the highest possible quality.

This plan takes a source-to-tap approach to the protection of drinking water resources. This approach acknowledges that source protection of the water supply area, and the treatment and distribution of drinking water to the community, must be understood and managed as a whole.

Learn more about our Watershed Protection Plan

Connected by Water

Connected by Water is a CVRD program developed in response to the community education and engagement recommendations in the Comox Lake Watershed Protection Plan. The goal of this program is to build capacity, community and connection to support watershed protection and water conservation efforts. 

Working with community stakeholders and knowledge holders, the Connected by Water team has developed curriculum resources, workshops, projects, tours, presentations and a framework for discussion and learning.

Learn more about Connected by Water

Connected by Water K - 12 Curriculum Resources

Resources for Recreation Leaders