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The Association of Wetland Stewards for Clayoquot & Barkley Sound and Huu-ay-aht Work Together to Protect the Toad Habitation

Since 2018, The Association of Wetland Stewards for Clayoquot & Barkley Sound and Huu-ay-aht First Nations have been working together to protect the toad population at Frederick Lake. Over the years, they have taken steps together to protect important toad habitat close to the lake. When Wetland Stewards heard about the Bamfield Main Road Resurfacing Project, they saw another opportunity in protecting connections between habitats, the lake, and surrounding forests by installing wildlife tunnels.

Their first project was installing educational signs and temporary barriers to protect toadlets from being trampled on the north shore of the lake where they emerge in high numbers. Toadlets are baby toads that have just transformed from tadpoles. They come ashore, spend several weeks close to the water, then disperse into the surrounding forest. It’s easy to trample them unintentionally because they are so tiny and difficult to see.

Wetland Stewards worked with Huu-ay-aht Lands and Natural Resources staff to design the educational signs for the site. Edward R. Johnson designed a welcoming sign for those visiting Huu-ay-aht traditional territory with encouragement to follow Huu-ay-aht sacred principles while visiting the site.  The sacred principles are ʔiisaak (greater respect), ʔuuʔałuk (taking care of), Hišuk ma c̕awak (everything is one).

In 2021, Wetland Stewards and Huu-ay-aht First Nations took further steps together to protect the toadlets by installing permanent barriers, placing logs, and planting native vegetation. This took place at the end of the road that provides access to the water pump that supplies water to Poett Nook Marina and Sarita log sort.  Huu-ay-aht First Nations provided a bobcat and operator (Don Prevost) and labourer (Alec Frank) for several days to complete this task. To further support the project, Huu-ay-aht Forestry LP provided concrete blocks, rocks, and gravel for the barriers, Stan Coleman (Forestry Advisor, Rocky Point Forest) provided time to help coordinate the delivery of those materials, and the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure provided the toadlet barrier material.

Planning for the toad tunnels under the Bamfield Main Forest Service Road began in spring of 2021. Toadlets get killed crossing the roads that surround Frederick Lake when they disperse into the surrounding forest. Adult toads get killed crossing the roads when they migrate back and forth to breed at the lake each spring.

To determine where toadlets and toads are in danger, former Huu-ay-aht staff, Katie Turner, conducted surveys to document locations where toads and other amphibians cross the Bamfield Main. Participants in these surveys were The Wetland Stewards trained technicians, the Huu-ay-aht Watershed Renewal Program staff, Huu-ay-aht Lands and Resources Department staff, and several volunteers from the community of Anacla and Bamfield.

The surveys happened during the migration periods in spring 2021 and 2022 and fall 2021. They spent 14 rainy nights doing these surveys per period for a total of 42 nights. Crews walked 2 km on the Bamfield Main Forest Service Road starting at least one hour after sunset on those rainy nights. Each time they found an amphibian, they recorded the species, age, class, and sex.  They used a GPS app on their phone to record the location. They also did surveys to find the main shoreline areas around the lake where adults laid eggs and where tadpoles congregated and transformed into toadlets. They did daytime surveys in the summer to find where toadlets crossed the road. They put cameras on the drainage channels at three existing culverts to capture photographs of the toadlets moving toward the road and through one of the existing culverts. They synthesized their findings with maps to pinpoint the best places for installing tunnels under the road. The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation provided partial funding to cover some of the Watershed Renewal Program technicians’ time and mileage on the surveys. Most of the cost was covered by Huu-ay-aht First Nations.

Wetland Stewards worked with engineers at Parsons Corporation to design toad tunnels for the road. They investigated existing drainage culverts to see whether they had the potential to serve as passageways for toadlets.  They also looked at provincial guidelines for tunnel structures that would work for adult toads. Using the location data collected on the night surveys, they chose the most concentrated locations for adult crossings as places to put two concrete box culverts. Three existing drainage culverts that occur in peak areas for toadlet dispersal were highlighted for repairs so that they can function for wildlife passages when not carrying water. This is usually the case when the toadlets are moving away from the lake in August and September; the driest time of the year.

In 2021-2022, Huu-ay-aht contributed approximately $10,000 for road surveys, shoreline surveys, barrier installation, and habitat restoration work.

In 2022-2023, it is estimated that Huu-ay-aht will contribute a similar amount for surveys, building fencing to the new culverts, and monitoring movements of toads through the culverts (approximately $10,000 to the project).  Huu-ay-aht will also make a substantial investment through the funding for resurfacing the road.

The Association of Wetlands Stewards for Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds welcomes anyone who is keen to come out and volunteer on fence building. Please send an email to wetlandstewards@gmail.com to let them know if you’d be available in August.

C̕awak ʔqin Forestry Celebrates Commitment to a New Way of Working Together in Forestry

Port Alberni, B.C. – August 2, 2022  – The path forward for C̕awak ʔqin Forestry is now set, with the unveiling today of a new logo and brand that symbolizes the shared vision and values between Huu-ay-aht First Nations (Huu-ay-aht) and Western Forest Products Inc. (Western) in Tree Farm Licence 44 (TFL 44) on Vancouver Island.

C̕awak ʔqin (pronounced sa-wa-kin) Forestry, which means ‘we are one’ in the Nuu-chah-nulth language, shared the new logo and brand as part of an official operations sign unveiling event at its Franklin River Road office near Port Alberni. The logo was designed by Huu-ay-aht father and son artists, Ed Johnson Sr. and Edward R. Johnson, who is also a Huu-ay-aht Councillor. The logo depicts a bear with its four claws digging into two fish and a growing tree in the centre of the design.

“The salmon is the giver of life and the eagle gave the bear his claws so he could catch the fish that he was coaxing up into the woods,” explained Ed Johnson Sr. “The fish carcasses feed the plants and the trees to help them grow.”

“The design speaks to nature’s lifecycle with all the animals working together to protect, nourish and sustain our lands,” said Edward R. Johnson. “It also reflects the company’s vision as a world leading, Indigenous values-driven company, where our collective decisions benefit the waters, people, fisheries, wildlife and lands today and for future generations.”

“Since time immemorial, storytelling has held an important role in the history, culture and learnings of Huu-ay-aht. It reaffirms what we believe in, what we stand for and passes on the teachings from one generation to the next,” said Robert J. Dennis Sr., Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor, who was instrumental in the creation of the ground-breaking partnership with Western. “Branding is no different; it’s a modern word for the communication of who we are: we are C̕awak ʔqin, we are one, and the new signage tells all visitors to the TFL that the partners and workers are united in their commitment to manage these forests sustainably according to our Nations’ sacred principles.”

Last October, Huu-ay-aht and Western announced that TFL 44 Limited Partnership had changed its name to C̕awak ʔqin Forestry (also known by its anglicized legal name of Tsawak-qin Forestry Limited Partnership). Since then, feedback was gathered from Huu-ay-aht and Western employees, community leaders, government officials, contractors and suppliers to create the company’s vision, values, branding and design.

“It was clear from these conversations that we all share a common goal: to create a strong and sustainable business where everyone and everything benefits, and where the future is secure,” said Shannon Janzen, RPF, Board Chair for C̕awak ʔqin Forestry and Vice President, Partnerships and Chief Forester of Western. “There was complete alignment that we can only accomplish this by acting as one: C̕awak ʔqin. It is heartening to see the name change in this symbolic sign and sharing the understanding of what this means.”

“This isn’t just a brand; it is a commitment we make to our partners, our employees, the Nation’s citizens and the community at large. It’s about how we show up and what we stand for and a commitment to move forward when everyone is informed and involved,” added Doug Meske, RPF, Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships, who also oversees the C̕awak ʔqin Forestry operations.

Over the coming days and weeks, the new brand signage will go up across forestry operations in the TFL. To commemorate the launch of the new logo and brand, C̕awak ʔqin has also launched a new brand video.


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For media inquiries, contact:  

Amanda Munro, C̕awak ʔqin Forestry

amanda@munrothompson.com, 604-360-3994

About C̕awak ʔqin Forestry

C̕awak ʔqin Forestry (Tsawak-qin Forestry Limited Partnership) operates TFL 44 and is a limited partnership between Huumiis Ventures Limited Partnership (wholly owned by Huu-ay-aht First Nations) and Western Forest Products Inc. TFL 44 covers roughly 137,000 hectares of land on west central Vancouver Island in the vicinity of Alberni Inlet and Great Central Lake. More information about the Company’s ground-breaking initiatives can be found here.

View official press release here: C̕awak ʔqin News Release

B.C and Modern Treaty Nations Renew Implementation Commitment

News Release

VICTORIA – The Alliance of BC Modern Treaty Nations (Alliance) and the Province have co-developed a Shared Priorities Framework to advance Treaty implementation in British Columbia.

The first of its kind in British Columbia, the framework renews a commitment to effective implementation of Modern Treaties in B.C. Modern Treaties are a critically important pathway to meaningful reconciliation that help support strong, healthy, thriving communities that benefit people today and for generations to come. This framework charts a path for the Alliance and the Province to work together on a wide range of B.C.-specific Treaty implementation issues that require collaborative action and honour the special relationship held through these agreements.

“The Shared Priorities Framework is B.C.’s commitment to Modern Treaty Nations to create and strengthen relationships that are dynamic, evolving and improving over time,” said Premier John Horgan. “Treaties are important living documents that provide a foundation for renewed relationships and certainty for all First Nations in the Treaty process. Upholding these sacred agreements through a whole-of-government approach, with engagement and support from all ministries, is paramount in meeting our shared commitments.”

Advancing bilateral Treaty implementation, the framework aims to increase trust between government and Treaty Nations, improve Treaty outcomes and promote Treaties as a tangible action to achieve reconciliation and create prosperity for all British Columbians.

“Modern Treaties create the blueprint for Indigenous self-governance and effective government-to-government relationships. However, you can’t live in a blueprint. You still need to build the house, and then you need to maintain it and expand it as the family grows. That’s why Treaty implementation is always a work in progress – it requires ongoing efforts and attention. We are pleased with the renewed commitment to Treaty implementation outlined in the Shared Priorities Framework and we look forward to continuing this important reconciliation work with the Province of B.C., ” said taayii ḥaʔw̓iłAnne Mack, Toquaht Nation, on behalf of the Alliance of BC Modern Treaty Nations.

The Alliance and Province share three priorities in the framework:

  • establish fiscal arrangements to fulfill Treaty Rights and obligations,
  • establish meaningful participation of Modern Treaty Nations in B.C.’s legislative and policy initiatives, and
  • establish organizational and policy changes in the BC Public Service to advance a whole-of-government approach to Treaty implementation.

At the May 24, 2022, Premier’s Forum with the Alliance of BC Modern Treaty Nations, leadership of the eight Modern Treaty Nations, the Premier and cabinet members met to discuss the recently signed framework and other Treaty-related topics. This forum is an important venue for leaders to learn from each other and to build on relationships and hold each other to account on shared priorities. The forum does not replace the important work and relationships that exist between the Province and the individual Modern Treaty Nations.

For the full press release click: here