Today, TimberWest and Ducks Unlimited Canada celebrate a momentous occasion for conservation on Vancouver Island with the announcement of TimberWest’s donation of the entire Somenos lakebed to Ducks Unlimited Canada. This generous donation will benefit the over 200 species of birds and waterfowl that call the area home.
“Never has an entire lakebed been legally surveyed and donated to a single non-government organization,” says Leslie Bogdan, Director of Regional Operations BC/Boreal Region, Ducks Unlimited Canada. “This is a testament to the fifteen-year long partnership cultivated between TimberWest and Ducks Unlimited Canada. We are grateful for this opportunity, and the remarkable contribution Somenos lakebed makes to conservation on Vancouver Island and the community of North Cowichan,” continued Mr. Bogdan.
The Somenos lakebed, which is 94.5 ha in size, is an important wetland on Vancouver Island, and its conservation is imperative to securing and growing the number of species of waterfowl, birds, and other wildlife that call the lakebed home. The area is known for attracting thousands of trumpeter swans, mallards, northern pintail, American wigeon as well as thousands of Canadian geese who winter at Someone lake. Conservation partners have been working together to conserve the area for over 44 years, and this agreement marks a milestone in this journey.
“We are thrilled that our 15 year partnership with Ducks Unlimited brought to fruition the conservation of hundreds of species in the heart of the Cowichan Valley,” says, Jeff Zweig, President and CEO of TimberWest. “Somenos is a special place for many bird species, and it is an iconic location for outdoor enthusiasts, bird-watchers and hikers alike. We are grateful to Ducks Unlimited for their continued passion and dedication to conservation on the Island, and we are extremely honoured to deed Somenos lakebed to them.”
The management of Somenos lakebed will be a shared responsibility with Ducks Unlimited Canada and their partners.
Ducks Unlimited Canada is a leader in Canadian habitat conservation. DUC conserves, restores and manages wetlands and grasslands to benefit waterfowl, wildlife and people. The DUC goal is to ensure abundant wetlands and waterfowl for generations to come, while improving Canadian lives. Since 1938 DUC has completed more than 9,720 projects and has conserved, restored and positively influenced more than 127 million acres of habitat. That is an area nearly the size of the Yukon.
TimberWest has donated hundreds of acres of land to conservation partners across Vancouver Island. This is the first time TimberWest has deeded an entire lakebed to a non-profit group. The Company has been operating for over 100 years on the BC Coast, and is Western Canada’s largest private timberland company. TimberWest holds renewable Crown harvest rights to 700,000 m3 per year. All its public and private forest lands are third-party certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. TimberWest is privately owned by two leading Canadian pension funds.