The Morrison Headwaters are protected in perpetuity thanks to the remarkable generosity and vision of our partners, donors and the public. We are deeply grateful that this beautiful and important 275-hectare parcel will never be logged or developed.

The journey began decades ago with volunteers who understood the Headwaters’ unique importance. Their countless hours of advocacy and stewardship are the foundation of this amazing achievement.

With their protection assured, the wetlands and springs will continue to provide cool, abundant water for the rare Morrison Creek lamprey, four species of salmon, and two species of trout. The forest will be allowed to mature into old growth, and will continue to support wide-ranging predators, wildlife of all kinds, and an abundance of plant life, including traditional medicinal plants.

Many factors aligned to make this possible. The entire process kicked off with a $1.34 million grant from Environment and Climate Change Canada, which helped us think big regarding the amount of land we could protect. The BC Parks Foundation then stepped in with a commitment of $1.63 million, making this project the first in its 25×25 campaign to protect 25 beautiful places in B.C. by 2025. Other funders included the Sitka Foundation, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the Courtenay Fish and Game Protective Association and BC Hydro’s Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program.

To make up the remaining amount needed, CVLT and the BC Parks Foundation launched a crowdfunding campaign in the fall of 2022. The campaign was kick-started by major donations from four Comox Valley families, and over $500,000 was raised in total! The lands were purchased from Manulife Investment Management, the willing seller of the property. Their support was invaluable in bringing this project to fruition.

This acquisition is adjacent to the 22-hectare parcel we acquired together with the Comox Valley Regional District in 2019. It is located in the territory of the K’omoks First Nation, who refer to the area as “qax mot” or “lots of medicine” in relation to the abundance and diversity of medicinal plants the area supports.

We are so proud and humbled to be part of this community, and to receive so much support.

This project was supported by:

BC Parks Foundation Logo
Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation logo
Sitka Foundation logo
Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund Society logo
Stiefvater Foundation logo
Manulife Investment Management logo

Why is Morrison Headwaters So Important?

Over a dozen species at risk have been identified on the property including mammals, fish, amphibians, birds and a reptile. The Morrison Creek lamprey is known only from the Morrison Creek watershed, and is considered endangered by both the Province of BC and the Government of Canada.

Critical Habitat for the lamprey as well as for the Pacific population of Western Painted Turtle have recently been proposed under the Species At Risk Act (SARA) in extensive areas of the Morrison headwaters.

  • Morrison Creek is the only place on earth that supports the Endangered Morrison Creek Lamprey, an endemic fish species found nowhere else in the world. The headwaters area contains the vast majority of Critical Habitat for this species.
  • Morrison Creek is the most productive salmon stream of its size anywhere on southeast Vancouver Island (according to DFO) and one that is entirely without hatchery support. The headwaters area provides the majority of spawning and rearing habitat for Coho in particular.
  • Its unique spring-fed hydrology makes it resilient to climate change. Regardless of how long or pronounced summer droughts may be, Morrison Creek always flows with abundant, cold, spring-fed water.
  • Morrison Headwaters supports an additional 13 species at risk including federally Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern species and provincially red and blue-listed species.
  • All ecological communities that occur in the headwaters area are rare-listed (either blue or red) by the BC Conservation Data Centre.
  • Populations of bear, cougar, deer, beaver, mink, reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, bats, insects and occasionally elk and wolves live throughout the area free from human disturbances.

Landscape-Scale Conservation

The Morrison Creek headwaters conservation area is a major puzzle piece in a growing network of protected areas centered around the eastern portion of Comox Lake, the Puntledge River and the K’omoks estuary. Projects have secured thousands of acres in the area through coordinated and sustained efforts spanning decades.

Most recently, this has included the acquisition of:

  • phase-1 in the Morrison headwaters area by the Comox Valley Land Trust and the Comox Valley Regional District
  • the entire mainstem of Perseverance Creek spearheaded by the Cumberland Community Forest Society and the Village of Cumberland
  • the Kus-kus-sum project in the K’omoks estuary lead by Project Watershed, the K’omoks First Nation and the City of Courtenay

Local governments and the K’omoks First Nation have been strong partners in achieving this landscape-scale conservation vision for a variety of reasons, including the protection of drinking water supply areas.