The Nature Conservancy of Canada protects important habitat for vulnerable fish populations on the Richelieu River
An important area for at-risk fish species is receiving protection. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has announced it has purchased a property on the Richelieu River in Saint-Roch-de-Richelieu, about 20 kilometres from Sorel-Tracy. The protection of this 20-hectare (49-acre) site supports a channel rich with aquatic plants, waterfowl and at-risk fish species.
Participating in the announcement today were Joël Bonin, associate vice-president with the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Quebec. Mr Bonin was joined by Michel Picard, member of Parliament for Montarville on behalf of Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, Michel Beck, mayor of Saint-Roch-de-Richelie; and Serge Péloquin, mayor of Sorel-Tracy.
Fish species being supported by this project include:
- the channel darter, a species vulnerable under the Quebec Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species (ARTVS) and of special concern according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada; and
- the bridle shiner and river redhorse. Both are of concern under the Canada Species at Risk Act and vulnerable under the ARTVS.
The property straddles the southern part of île Deschaillons and a river’s edge area directly west. Île Deschaillons is recognized as a waterfowl gathering area. It provides refuge for Canada geese, wood duck, gadwall, American black duck and northern shoveler.
The property is one of the last remaining intact woodlands along the Richelieu River, north of the Chambly Basin. It contains, among others, young shagbark hickory trees, a species that may be designated threatened or vulnerable under ARTVS.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada thanks the following donors who made this conservation project possible: the Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program, Normand Jacques, businessman, former landowner and former owner of the Domaine des Érables campground (1992-2012), the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other donors who wish to remain anonymous.
"On behalf of my colleague, Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, I congratulate the Nature Conservancy of Canada on the acquisition of nearly 20 hectares of ecologically important shoreline habitat at Saint-Roch-de-Richelieu through the Natural Areas Conservation Program. Our government is committed to protecting and recovering Canada’s species at risk and today’s achievement shows the concrete results of Canadians working together on shared conservation goals." ~ Michel Picard, Member of Parliament for Montarville
- This land purchase adds to NCC’s conservation areas on the Richelieu River. These areas also include 15 kilometres of riverfront between the Highway 35 bridge at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and the Pierre-Étienne-Fortin wildlife sanctuary in the Chambly Basin. The management of this 285-hectare (704-acre) protected area is done in cooperation with the Comité de concertation et de valorisation du bassin versant de la rivière Richelieu (COVABAR). NCC also protects the Jeanotte and Cerfs islands in St-Charles-de-Richelieu.
- Aquatic grass beds form a continuation of river’s edge habitats. They are home to a wide variety of wildlife and plant species. They provide resting and feeding habitat for several at-risk species of fish.
- The property being announced is half wooded. Its banks, on both sides of the river, are dominated by a meadow of river bulrush and rich aquatic grass beds along the channel edges.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada’s leading not-for-profit private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC has helped to protect 2.8 million acres (more than 1.1 million hectares), coast to coast, including 40,000 hectares (98,942 acres) in Quebec. Visit natureconservancy.ca.
The Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership to accelerate the pace of land conservation across southern Canada. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) manages the program. Federal funds are matched by contributions raised by NCC and its partners. Habitat conserved under the NACP enhances natural corridors and other protected areas.
Some of the funding for this conservation project was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, a U.S. Act passed by the United States Congress in 1989 to conserve North American wetland ecosystems and waterfowl. For more information, visit fws.gov/birds/grants/north-american-wetland-conservation-act.php.
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