Somenos marsh

News ReleaseCowichan Tribes and the Vancouver Island Conservation Land Management Program are pleased to announce a partnership for the delivery of projects and programs at Somenos Marsh and to work together to bring forward the site as the proposed S’amunu Wildlife Management Area.

Somenos Marsh is located on southeastern Vancouver Island near the community of Duncan.  The area includes a lake, seasonally flooded wetlands, and rare Garry Oak ecosystems. Over 200 bird species have been observed in the area and it provides habitat for a large number of over wintering Trumpeter Swans and year round habitat for the provincially blue-listed Great Blue Heron.  It also provides significant fish and wildlife habitat values.

Trumpeter Swans in Somenos

Trumpeter Swans in Somenos | Photo by K. Barry

The partners will continue to work on projects and programs that help fulfill the goals and objectives of several species at risk restoration plans as well as actions identified in the Somenos Marsh Management Plan. In addition the partners will also cooperatively work to maintain and manage Ye’yumnuts, specifically developing interpretive and educational materials to further knowledge and understanding of the historical and present day significance of the area.

Somenos Marsh aerial view

Somenos Marsh aerial view

The Vancouver Island Conservation Land Management Program is an innovative strategic partnership which involves the management of over 100 conservation areas on Vancouver Island and the West Coast such as Somenos Marsh. The partnership includes the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, The Nature Trust of BC, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service). Funding has also been provided by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

Chief William Seymour, Cowichan Tribes

“We are happy to see this work take place and going forward work together to restore and preserve the land back to its natural state, it is important for us to keep its ecological value in-tact. It will be a great gathering space where the community can come and be educated on the history of this area including our villages Kwa’mutsun and S’amunu that used to inhabit this land, as well as learn about the vegetation and wildlife that thrive at Somenos Marsh.”

Honourable Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development

“We’re happy to be working together with Cowichan Tribes and conservation groups on developing this proposed Wildlife Management Area that will conserve important environmental and cultural values.”

Marian Adair, Habitat Ecologist, The Nature Trust of BC

“The Nature Trust of BC as chair of the Vancouver Island Conservation Land Management Program is excited about the agreement signed with Cowichan Tribes. We look forward to continuing the excellent partnership work underway to restore and enhance fish, wildlife and ecological values as well as protecting the heritage values of the Ye’yumnuts site.”

 Dan Buffett, Manager of Provincial Operations – BC, Ducks Unlimited Canada

“Working with Cowichan Tribes on the S’amunu area marks a significant milestone for Ducks Unlimited Canada and our partners. While the strong connection between Somenos Lake and Cowichan estuary for many wildlife species is well known, this agreement reflects the connection between First Nations and conservation organizations working together for the community.”

Jasper Lament, CEO, The Nature Trust of BC

“Since 1976 The Nature Trust of BC has worked to conserve the sensitive ecosystems at Somenos and this agreement is the product of over 40 years of collaboration with several groups including Cowichan Tribes. We look forward to this work at Somenos but also at other sites of interest with Cowichan Tribes such as the Cowichan Estuary.”