Somenos Marsh protection long overdue

Somenos Marsh protection long overdue

Imagine Cowichan Commons-style big box stores on the marsh.

Somenos Marsh protection long overdue

Dear mayor and council:

What a difference 20 years makes.

In the case of our eco-jewel, Somenos Marsh, the province has thankfully announced the precious wetland is now a wildlife management area.

This status is long overdue, and the marsh could have had muscular municipal protection decades ago by North Cowichan council.

Unfortunately, past councils generally viewed the marsh as a mere swamp, at one time destined to be filled for development.

Imagine Cowichan Commons-style big box stores on the marsh.

I urge council to give grants to marsh projects, while continuing to buy or protect our wonderful wetland.

Thankfully, local environmental heroes the Someone Marsh Wildlife Society and other Valley groups are dedicated to protecting what’s now a world-class birding and nature-viewing attraction.

Think how many tourists our marsh brings annually to Cowichan, spurring much-needed economic development.

The marsh is also of sacred value to the Cowichan Tribes.

Also on the positive side, the wetland’s value has slowly been recognized by most municipal councillors.

I applaud too Ducks Unlimited and the Nature Trust of B.C. for acquiring marshland for protection.

I do see contradictions in Ducks Unlimited members who are also hunters.

Still, without lobbying and buying sections of the marsh, our irreplaceable ecosystem — part of the Somenos and Cowichan River ecosystem — would likely be blacktop by now.

Donating to and volunteering with such groups to purchase and save Cowichan’s special eco-places is sure time and money well spent.

Peter W. Rusland