Conservation puzzle coming together north of Montreal
Nature Conservancy of Canada expands wilderness corridor in the Laurentians
There's good news for wildlife populations north of Montreal. Through a mix of land donations and purchases, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has expanded a key conservation area in the Laurentians with three new projects. The forests and wetlands are near existing hiking trails and are essential for the movement of wildlife.
The announcement was made this afternoon by NCC staff, Member of Parliament David Graham on behalf of Environment and Climate Change Canada Minister Catherine McKenna, Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts Mayor Denis Chalifoux along with project supporters.
Thanks to the help of generous donors, NCC has added 95 hectares (234 acres) of conserved space in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts (Lac Brûlé), about 100 kilometres from Montreal.
These new projects add 50 per cent of NCC’s conservation lands here to 301 hectares (743 acres) and also link four major forest areas. They are the Jackrabbit Ecological Reserve in Montcalm, the Ouareau forest, the Val-David-Val-Morin Regional Park and the Mont-Tremblant National Park, helping ensure land connectivity in the region. Protecting this natural passage is a high priority, as species with large ranges, such as black bear, need extensive areas to feed and breed.
These lands are made up of forests typical in the Laurentians, including sugar maple groves and yellow and white birch fir stands. Wetlands here are used by many amphibian and waterfowl species, including Canada geese, mallards, green frogs, bullfrogs and wood frogs. In the wooded areas, species found here include red-backed salamander, common gartersnake and smooth greensnake. The latter is a species likely to be designated threatened or vulnerable under the Government of Quebec’s Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species.
Many bird species have also been identified in the area by the Québec Breeding Bird Atlas as well as during wildlife inventories. For example, wood thrush is listed as a threatened species by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
The sites are next to the William R-J Oliver Reserve, which features a popular hiking trail managed by Par monts et vals.
The conservation of these properties was made possible through financial support from the Ensemble pour la nature project of the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques du Québec, the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act).
Private donors were also involved, including Barbara Walker and the Oliver Land Trust, Russell Payson and Peggy Zafiris, Ken & Judy Atlas, Peter & Judy Russel, N. D’Artois Murdoch, and Christine and Graham Bagnall.
“The motivation of local residents played an important role in completing these acquisitions. It is a real pleasure to work with a community that is so aware of its natural environment and engaged in its protection. NCC’s success in the area is largely due to the members of the Oliver Land Trust and the descendants of the Oliver-Walker family. We thank them for their generous legacy to future generations.”
Annie Ferland, NCC project manager
“One of the reasons the Government of Quebec protects biodiversity is that it protects human life. We want to share this important objective with as many Quebecers as possible, especially in these times of climate emergency. We congratulate the citizens and the Nature Conservancy of Canada who, through the initiative announced today, are taking concrete action to preserve exceptional natural environments in a region where nature is under multiple pressures. We are proud to support them through the Ensemble pour la nature project.”
Hon. Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change
“On behalf of my colleague Catherine McKenna, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, I am proud to announce the expansion of protected areas to conserve important wildlife habitat here in Quebec. Through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, our government is collaborating with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and making progress toward doubling the amount of protected nature across Canada’s lands and oceans.”
David Graham, Member of Parliament for Laurentides-Labelle
- The Oliver Land Trust foundation was established by Barbara Walker Oliver and William Oliver to protect the surroundings of Lac Brûlé and its rich biodiversity. Through ecological donations, it is in large part thanks to them and to a very committed local community that NCC has become involved in this area.
- Ecological connectivity is a fundamental principle in the conservation of natural environments and biodiversity. Ecological corridors are natural passages through which wildlife moves and plants can disperse from one habitat to another. It is essential to protect and restore these corridors in areas fragmented by human infrastructure such as roads and cities.
- The conservation of this property makes it possible to consolidate an important ecological corridor for the connectivity of the natural areas. NCC is working to raise public and community awareness of this issue through the Action Climat Québec program of the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques du Québec.
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 more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres) across the country, including 45,000 hectares (111,197 acres) in Quebec.
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), administered by NCC, is a unique public-private partnership to accelerate land conservation in southern Canada. Through matching contributions, NCC and its partners enhance federal funding. The habitats conserved through the NACP help strengthen the protection of natural corridors and other protected areas.
A portion of this land was generously donated through the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, which offers attractive tax incentives for donations of ecologically sensitive land. For more information about the Ecological Gifts Program, visit canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/environmental-funding/ecological-gifts-program.html
The Ecological corridors: a climate change adaptation strategy project is made possible thanks to the Action-Climat Québec program. The Fondation de la faune du Québec, the ECHO Foundation and the Woodcock Foundation are also financial partners in this project. conservationdelanature.ca/corridors
- 30 -