Fifty hectares of unique turtle habitat in the Pontiac region protected
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has announced the conservation of new natural environments in the Pontiac area, in Outaouais, one of the most biodiverse regions in Quebec.
These 50 additional hectares of unique habitat will help consolidate the regional network of protected areas, while strengthening protection of the habitats of around fifteen at-risk species.
The public is also invited to participate in the Carapace Project, the NCC’s new interactive tool for reporting turtles in the Outaouais, which helps identify sites in need of conservation action.
The network of protected areas in Outaouais becomes even more interconnected
Since 2002, NCC has been working to protect nine priority areas in the Outaouais valley. Securing 50 new hectares (123 acres) of natural environments helps NCC consolidate the regional network of protected zones in three of these areas:
• 34 hectares (84 acres) of habitat with high ecological value in the Grand Marais de Bristol area are being added to the 1,000 already protected. This helps maintain the habitats of the 67 at-risk species already recorded in the area, notably Blanding’s turtle, which is threatened in Canada.
• 2 hectares (5 acres) of shoreline forest swamp at the mouth of the Breckenridge stream watershed are being added to the 296 hectares of rich habitat already protected. The area is home to, among others, a significant population of Western chorus frogs, a threatened frog species in Canada.
• 14 hectares (34.6 acres) of unique ecosystems along the shores of the Outaouais River, south-east of the Isle-aux-Allumettes. This is NCC’s first securement within this area, which is overflowing with rich habitats, including the Allumettes alvar. The shores shelter a large population of map turtles, an at-risk species.
Putting technology to work for turtles!
The Nature Conservancy of Canada, with help from its partners, is launching an interactive platform for reporting turtle sightings in the Outaouais region: www.carapace.ca. This easy-to-use tool is for public use and is intended to collect information on the movement of turtles throughout the region, including identifying zones where they are hit by cars.
The valuable information collected will then help NCC and its partners take appropriate conservation measures to ensure the survival of these species and the protection of their habitats. Thank you for helping to protect turtles!
The Nature Conservancy of Canada wishes to thank the following partners, without whom protection of these 50 hectares would not have been possible: the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program, the Fondation de la faune du Québec, the ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) of Québec, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as Mr. Luc Cayer for donating the Breckenridge property through the Ecological Gifts Program which offers significant tax benefits for the donation of lands with great ecological value.
NCC also wishes to thank funding partners who contributed to setting up the www.carapace.ca platform: the MFFP and the Quebec turtle recovery team.
“Protecting these 50 hectares of rich habitat helps maintain the populations of a dozen at-risk species of vascular plants, notably the ram’s head lady’s slipper and the royal lady’s slipper, as well as four species of turtle,” states Caroline Gagné, project manager for the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Quebec.
“Through the Natural Areas Conservation Program and the Ecological Gifts Program, the Government of Canada is pleased to support the expansion of this protected area for wildlife in western Quebec,” states Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
“The Pontiac region of Quebec has long been noted for its natural beauty and ecological diversity. With this investment, our Government is working to help ensure that the many species-at-risk here are protected and given a chance to thrive,” states William Amos, MP for Pontiac.
Unique flora and fauna
The Outaouais is known as one of the most significant hotspots of biodiversity in Quebec. This wealth is due in part to the presence of remarkable and unique ecosystems, such as alvars (rare on a global scale), ancient forests and refuges, dunes and sandy barrens, as well as extensive interconnected wetlands.
Quebec has eight species of freshwater turtles, the majority of which are at risk due to destruction of their habitats and disturbance by human activity. In fact, the Outaouais region has the largest concentration of freshwater turtles in the province, being home to six of the eight species.
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 to protect 2.8 million acres (more than 1.1 million hectares) across the country, including 98,800 acres (40,000 hectares) in Quebec.
The Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership led by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). To date, $345 million has been invested in the NACP by the Government of Canada to secure our natural heritage. Additionally, more than $500 million in matching contributions has been raised by NCC and its partners.
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