Nature Conservancy of Canada protects large swath of important wetlands and peat bogs in Quebec
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has announced a major land purchase of crucial wetlands and peat bog in Quebec.
The not-for-profit conservation group has acquired 6,790 acres (2,748 hectares) in Lac-à-la-Tortue, the largest bog in the St. Lawrence valley.
This site straddles the municipalities of Shawinigan, Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel, Saint-Narcisse, and Saint-Maurice in the Mauricie region.
NCC now protects just over 10, 626 acres (4,300 hectares), an area almost twice the size of Oka National Park.
The announcement was made today in Shawinigan at a media conference and property tour with project supporters and government representatives.
The project was partially funded by the Governments of Canada and Government of Quebec along with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
This large bog of 16,062 acres (6,500 hectares) is composed of a mosaic of wetlands. In addition, the provincial government also protects a significant area within its Lac-à-la-Tortue ecological reserve. In total, approximately 75% of wetlands in this area are now protected.
“This project safeguards a very rich natural environment, consisting mainly of peat bogs, which is home to at-risk plant species, such as Virginia chain fern and twin-scaped bladderwort, both of which are likely to be designated threatened or vulnerable under the Government of Quebec’s Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species, explains Patrice Laliberté, NCC project manager in Quebec. “There are also several species of orchids, carnivorous plants and health such as bog-laurel and blueberries. The remainder is composed of a mosaic of softwood forests and wooded islets, some of which contain large mature pines.”
Moose, black bear and white-tailed deer are the large mammals that use this vast site. In addition, there are several ponds and swamps that are home to many waterfowl, including black duck and blue-winged teal. The sandhill crane has also been seen on numerous occasions.
Wetlands provide us with many ecological services, particularly by absorbing large quantities of water during heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelt. This buffering effect helps prevent overflowing of streams near the bog. In addition, bogs are considered important carbon sinks that contribute to mitigating global warming.
Due to the humid nature of this area, the bog protected by NCC is only accessible through access agreements. However, it is possible to get a glimpse of it via the trails of Cœur nature park, located in Saint-Narcisse. University researchers are also studying the ongoing status of the bog as well as the ecological and physical processes that take place there.
This project was made possible with financial support from many partners:
• the Ensemble pour la nature project of the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques du Québec,
• the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program,
• the ECHO Foundation,
• the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (through its North American Wetlands Conservation Act),
• Cogeco, Sanimax and other donors who wish to remain anonymous.
NCC would like to thank the forest asset management company Solifor, a company of the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, from which NCC acquired the territory, for its extensive collaboration throughout this project.
“In addition to changing the climate, human activity is putting increasing pressure on our ecosystems and all the species that make them up. By financially supporting the additional protection of these rich natural environments in the Lac-à-la-Tortue bog, through the Ensemble pour la nature project, our government is ensuring that the ecological services provided by this bog are maintained. Let us continue to act to achieve our objectives in terms of protecting biological diversity in Quebec: it is a sure way to bequeath to our children a green and carbon-efficient society.”
Isabelle Melançon, Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change
“On behalf of my colleague, Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, I congratulate the Nature Conservancy of Canada for its work in the conservation of 2748 hectares of peatlands and forest, in the Mauricie region, through the Natural Areas Conservation Program. Wetland projects such as this one protect important habitat for wildlife and help limit the impacts of climate change.”
Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Quebec’s leading not-for-profit private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the plants and animals they sustain. Since 1962 NCC has helped to protect more than 2.7 million acres (1.1 million hectares) across the country, including 111,197 acres (45,000 hectares) in Quebec. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.
The Ensemble pour la nature project (PEPN) is a three-year, $15 million grant to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) from Quebec’s Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC). It aims to establish financial partnerships and acquire scientific knowledge to ensure the conservation and protection of natural environments on private lands in Quebec between now and March 31, 2020. It thus promotes solidarity with respect to protected areas by involving Quebec communities in conservation actions.
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.
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