Grondines swamp, Freshwater estuary, St. Lawrence River (photo by Claude DuchaƮne)

Grondines swamp, Freshwater estuary, St. Lawrence River (photo by Claude DuchaƮne)

New protected natural environments on the islands and shores of the Saint Lawrence River

February 10, 2017
Montreal

 

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has announced the protection of three new natural sites on the shores and islands of the Saint Lawrence River, thanks to generous donors.

These important projects, totalling 51 acres (21 hectares), are unique ecosystems that join the 7,400 acres (3,000 hectares) of natural island and river shore environments already conserved by NCC.

The Saint Lawrence River is the province’s main source of drinking water and a crucial commercial waterway. NCC emphasizes the importance of protecting the river’s islands and shores, while also allowing the public to use them.

Additional funds are needed to carry out stewardship of the lands, improve public access where possible and to increase the number of protected sites across Quebec.

Three new properties protected on the Saint Lawrence!

The western point of île de Grâce, wildlife habitats for at-risk species

A riverside property at Sainte-Anne-de-Sorel measuring 250 metres long and 30 metre across has been added to the protected area of Île de Grâce, which is located in the Lac-Saint-Pierre archipelago. This site, generously donated by the late Jeanne d’Arc Thibault, is important for the preservation of the copper redhorse, a species that is endemic to Quebec and officially endangered according to the Species at Risk Act (SARA).

The property’s sandy shore is a suitable nesting site for map turtles, a vulnerable species according to the Quebec Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species (ARTVS). The property is an important buffer zone between the aquatic environment and the grass prairie beyond, preventing natural and artificial erosion of the shore.

The Grondines swamp, a unique ecosystem

The Grondines swamp, which extends along 7 kilometres of shoreline, is one of the last large-area swamps on the river. The newly secured 16 acres (6.5 hectares) at Deschambault-Grondines, adds to the 74 acres (30 hectares) already protected by NCC nearby. The property includes a large floodplain forest and a designated waterfowl gathering area.

There are numerous colonies of Victorin’s water-hemlock and Parker’s pipewort, two plants found exclusively in the Saint Lawrence’s estuary and designated as threatened under ARTVS. NCC has been working in this area since 2008 and is actively doing restoration and enhancement efforts on existing lands.

Argentenay Point

Argentenay Point is a jewel of our natural heritage, with a unique view on the river, its islands and the Laurentian foothills. The 35-acre (14.5-hectare) property, which contains a rare and unique forest, is located at Saint-François-de-l’Île-d’Orléans, at the easternmost point of the Île d’Orléans. The neighbouring grassy tidal flats on the river provide an important stop for migratory waterfowl. Its plant life is abundant and varied.

The tidal flats are home to Victorin’s gentian, a threatened species according to SARA, as well as two species designated as threatened under ARTVS: Victorin’s water-hemlock and Parker’s pipewort. The forest contains butternut, an endangered tree, according to SARA.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada wishes to recognize the following donors and partners who, with their support, made these projects possible: the Government of Canada under the Natural Areas Conservation Program, the Virginia Parker Foundation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the Fondation de la faune du Québec, the children of Joséphine and Adrien Laganière, son of Charles B. Laganière, the late Jeanne d’Arc Thibault, Earth Rangers, the Guimont family, the Lafrance family as well as private donors.

A thought from NCC goes to Anthony Le Sauteur, who died in 2016, and who launched the project Un fleuve, un parc with former NCC board member Louise Beaubien-Lepage. NCC is continuing this still-relevant vision, in his memory and that of many other donors.

Quotes

“On behalf of the Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, I want to thank the many donors for helping to make today's announcement possible. The Government of Canada is proud to support their efforts, through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, as part of our ongoing commitment to protect wildlife habitat in Canada, including in the St. Lawrence River Basin,” stated Marie-Christine Tremblay, Associate Regional Director general, Atlantic and Quebec Regions, Environment and Climate Change Canada.

“For more than half a century, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, with the support of its partners, has been protecting exceptional sites that are home to invaluable plant and animal life. Each parcel of protected land is a victory for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts and those who have generously contributed,” said Joël Bonin, director of philanthropy and major projects at the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Quebec.

>> Please click here to see a video shot using a drone, which presents NCC’s work on the river.

A giant with feet of clay

There are several thousands of species in the Saint Lawrence River, including the largest on the planet: the great blue whale. A unique world extends from the exciting island of Montreal to the peaceful Magdalen Islands, containing countless ecosystems, some of which are endangered. Eighty percent of Quebec’s population lives on the shores of the Saint Lawrence and of its various tributaries. Its many bays, marshes and channels are its lungs and need protection now more than ever.

Contribute to conserving the river’s natural island and river shore environments!

As many islands and shores remain threatened, NCC intends to accelerate its efforts to acquire new properties and carry out stewardship and public education activities.

Donations to NCC will be used to protect islands and shore areas from one end of the river to the other, while making them accessible to the public by investing in visitor facilities.

Acknowledgements

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is Canada’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 protect 2.8 million acres (more than 1.1 million hectares) across the country, including 98,840 acres (40,000 hectares) in Quebec. The Nature Conservancy of Canada protects new areas by working with people,  landowners, businesses, conservation groups, local communities and governments. It is by protecting and managing these natural environments that they can be made accessible to this generation and those to come.

The Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership led and managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. To date, the Government of Canada has invested $345 million in the NACP to ensure the conservation of our natural heritage. Additionally, NCC and its partners have raised more than $500 million in matching contributions to invest in the Program.

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Media Contact:

Elizabeth Sbaglia
Communications Manager, Quebec Region
Nature Conservancy of Canada
514-876-1606 x240

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