Conservation group promoting ‘salmon-friendly lawns’

MVIHES volunteers Shelley Goertzen and Chris Smith promoting yellow fish signs at the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute (MABRRI) Regional Research Open House on March 16, 2022. || Photo by Dave Erickson.
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A local conservation group is encouraging residents to refrain from watering their lawns this summer to conserve water and help the area’s salmon population.

Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (MVIHES) hopes people will also avoid the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides in their yards, according to a release by the conservation group. Chemical herbicides and pesticides are harmful to fish and enter creeks and rivers through storm drains or directly off the land, according to MVIHES.

“The water from our taps comes from either rivers and creeks or groundwater wells. Up to 40 per cent of the water we use in summer is for watering our lawns,” the release reads. “By not watering your lawn you leave more water in the rivers and creeks for juvenile salmon, when the water is needed the most.”

MVIHES is promoting salmon-friendly lawns through a Yellow Fish program, where residents who pledge to not water their lawns or use chemical herbicides and pesticides will receive a yellow fish sign to help promote the message of water conservation.

MVIHES recommends rain barrels as an option for watering trees, shrubs, vegetable and flower gardens to reduce tap water use. The City of Parksville offers rebates for the purchase of a rain barrel.

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