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Fishery officers conduct ‘formal investigation’ into dumping on Cowichan Tribes reserve

Nature conservancy concerned about impact on nearby wetland

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is conducting a “formal investigation” into the dumping of fill material on the Cowichan Tribes reserve on Tzouhalem Road near Cowichan Bay.

In an emailed statement, DFO says federal fishery officers have “completed their assessment, and now a formal investigation is currently underway.”

The department declined to comment further at this time, including on whether the dump site is the subject of a stop-work order. Recently, dumping appears to have ceased on the property.

Last August, Cowichan Tribes released a statement saying its lands department had “issued a Certificate of Transport for the transport and placement of clean fill to Lots 309-3 and 311 (next to 1731 Tzouhalem Road). The Certificate is valid until July 25, 2025. Signage will be in place in the coming weeks.”

No further details were provided.

Since then, the amount of fill delivered to the site has increased significantly.

Cindy Daniels, the newly elected chief of Cowichan Tribes, did not respond to a request for comment.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada owns the 40-hectare Chase Woods Nature Preserve close to where the material is being dumped.


“We are aware of the activity adjacent to our conservation lands and have been in contact with the people doing the work to ensure they have an understanding of the ecological significance of the nearby wetland and riparian areas,” the conservancy told

“We recognize that any decisions about this work are between the proponents, Cowichan Tribes leadership and relevant government bodies.”

The conservancy website states that Chase Woods “is in the heart of the traditional territory of the Cowichan Tribes, and Chase Woods itself holds significant cultural value to the Cowichan Peoples, who continue to use the site to this day.”

The website adds that since 2018 the conservancy has been working to restore close to 2.5 hectares of wetlands on the site.

(Photos of fill site: Aug. 22/2023 and Mar. 12/2024).

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— Larry Pynn, Mar. 22, 2024

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