Plans are for the Somenos Marsh to soon be renamed the S’amunu Wildlife Management Area.
Cowichan Tribes, which has a history in the marsh for thousands of years, and the Vancouver Island Conservation Land Management Program have announced they have formed a new partnership for the delivery of projects and programs in the marsh area.
The VICLMP is a partnership that involves the management of over 100 conservation areas on Vancouver Island and the West Coast, such as the 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.
According to a press release, 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, an archaeological heritage site that was a village and burial ground at Somenos Creek. Specifically, the plan is to develop interpretive and educational materials to further knowledge and understanding of the historical and present day significance of the area.
William Seymour, chief of Cowichan Tribes, said the First Nation is happy to see the partners work together to restore and preserve the land back to its natural state because it’s important 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,” Seymour said.
Paul Fletcher, from the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society, which is a steward of the marsh, said the creation of the partnership is good news for the marsh and the community.
“It will encourage stewardship and community involvement in the area,” he said.
“Making the marsh a wildlife management area will also provide the marsh with better protections, as well as more funding opportunities for projects.”
Doug Donaldson, the minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, said the government is happy to be working together with Cowichan Tribes and conservation groups on developing the proposed wildlife management area that will conserve important environmental and cultural values.