The Somenos wetlands are the province’s newest wildlife management area. (Citizen file)

Cowichan’s Somenos Marsh gets provincial protection

The unique wetland is home to more than 200 species of birds

“We want to protect these kinds of areas for generations to come,” said Doug Donaldson of the Somenos wetlands.

The provincial minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development made the comment in a press release announcing that the wetlands just north of Duncan are the province’s newest wildlife management area.

“Wildlife management areas help to meet government’s mandate to sustainably manage B.C.’s ecosystems, rivers and lakes, as well as improving wildlife management and habitat conservation,” Donaldson said.

The unique wetland is home to more than 200 species of birds including but most certainly not limited to a massive trumpeter swan population and great blue herons. It’s also home to the rare Garry oak ecosystem and is a significant fish and wildlife habitat as well.

The traditional Hul’qumi’num name for the 155-hectare area is S’amunu. The area holds historical significance for Cowichan Tribes as the Somenos Creek was a major travel corridor.

“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,” said Chief William Seymour of Cowichan Tribes. “It is important for us to keep its ecological value intact. 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.”

Much of the wetlands (142 hectares) had been protected when it was acquired by Ducks Unlimited and The Nature Trust of British Columbia. The remainder is now protected, too.

“This is a wonderful day for conservation in our province. We are proud to be a partner in the designation of the S’amunu wildlife management area,” said Nature Trust CEO Jasper Lament.

As president of the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society, Paul Fletcher has spent decades trying to care for the marsh. The Society has installed an outdoor classroom, elevated boardwalks and interpretive signs over the years.

“The Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society is very excited and pleased that, after 30 years of starting the process, the S’amunu Wildlife Management Area is to be established on provincial lands within the Somenos Marsh Conservation Area,” Fletcher said. “As long time stewards of the area, we are committed to continuing to work with all of the partners to ensure that the tremendous ecological and cultural values of Somenos are sustained into the future.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley food banks reopen on a limited basis

CMS handing out hampers, Basket Society doing hampers and sandwiches

Province restricts open burning in Cowichan Valley until April 15

Measure meant to assist fight against COVID-19

What you said: Shingles vaccine worthy of consideration

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash

Kevin Timothy to plead guilty to animal cruelty charge

He will appear at the Duncan courthouse on March 24

Minister and Halalt First Nation chief consult on effects of recent flooding

Community heavily impacted with many damaged and uninhabitable homes

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Most Read