S’amunu Wildlife Management Area


Date Designated: December 14, 2018

Purpose: Conservation of critical habitat for wintering and staging waterfowl, songbirds and raptors, along with nesting and rearing areas for salmonids and trout.

Size: 155 hectares

Region: West Coast


Fish and Wildlife: The WMA supports thousands of waterfowl throughout the winter that feed in the flooded agricultural fields and marsh land areas of Somenos Lake, and is part of a habitat complex that is critical to wintering and staging waterfowl in the region. In recognition of these values the area was designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) of Canada. In addition to migratory birds, the WMA is also used throughout the year by several passerine species for feeding and nesting, including raptors and songbirds. The Somenos Lake system is also an important rearing and staging area for salmonids. Coho and cutthroat trout return to spawn in the Somenos Basin and tributaries each year. Fish from Somenos Lake enter the marsh system and meadows during winter floods and leave as waters recede. 

Physiography, Climate and Vegetation: The WMA is situated within the Coastal Douglas Fir biogeoclimatic zone along the Nanaimo Area Lowlands of eastern Vancouver Island. Along with Somenos Lake, the WMA includes adjacent marshes, agricultural fields, forests and woodlands, and riparian areas.

Cultural Heritage: The WMA lies in the heart of the Cowichan Tribes (Mustimuhw) traditional territory. Somenos Creek was a major travel corridor for the Cowichan people from their traditional village site adjacent to Somenos Lake to the Cowichan River. The traditional local Hul’qumi’num name for this area is S’amunu, and the area used to include the villages of Kwa’mutsun and S’amunu. 


Information on management direction and possible restrictions on visitor activities are available from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development regional office.

Management Partners: