Île de Grâce (Photo by Claude Duchaîne)

Île de Grâce (Photo by Claude Duchaîne)

World Wetlands Day: Additional wetland saved in the Lac-Saint-Pierre Biosphere Reserve

February 2, 2018


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is increasing the protection of a fragile wetland area in Quebec that is home to many bird populations. On the occasion of World Wetlands Day, the organization has announced that it has expanded an important conservation area in the heart of Île de Grâce. This island is located between Sorel and Trois-Rivières, in the Lac Saint-Pierre Archipelago, which is designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. 

The 25-hectare (61-acre) land purchase has been added to the 330 hectares (815 acres) already protected on Île de Grâce.

Exceptional biodiversity

The property is composed entirely of forested wetlands, which are home to exceptional biodiversity. Located in the heart of the Atlantic Flyway, these wetlands provide resting, feeding and breeding grounds for many bird species. For example, the least bittern, a species listed as threatened under the Canadian Species at Risk Act and vulnerable under the Quebec Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species (ARTVS), is found there. The area is is also home to many waterfowl. Floral species found here include green dragon, a threatened species under ARTVS and of special concern according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. These wetlands also play a crucial role in purifying and filtering water, which contributes to improved surface water quality. The ecological integrity of these wetlands is high due to the limited presence of exotic species and its low level of human disturbance.

The importance of wetlands

NCC protects 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres) on eight islands in the Lac-Saint-Pierre archipelago. Protecting wetlands in Quebec is a high priority for the conservation organization, especially in the face of climate change. The vast flood plains of this archipelago are the largest on the St. Lawrence River, which is home to 40 per cent of the river's wetlands.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada wishes to thank the many individuals and the following organizations who made this key conservation project possible: the Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program, the Fondation de la faune du Québec, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, administered by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bird Protection Quebec and donors, who wish to remain anonymous.


“Congratulations to the Nature Conservancy of Canada and its partners in conserving 25 additional hectares in the Lac-Saint-Pierre Biosphere Reserve. Wetlands such as these are vital to preserving our biodiversity and protecting our environment from the effects of climate change. Through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, our government is working with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and other partners to conserve and protect Canada’s natural heritage.”
-The Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Wetlands matter to nature, to people and to the planet, and we have a collective obligation to ensure their protection. They protect and filter our drinking water, provide fish and wildlife habitats, buffer communities from property damage by storing floodwaters, and also maintain surface water flow during droughts.”  
-Julien Poisson, program director for southern Quebec, Nature Conservancy of Canada


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 (2.87 million acres) across the country, including 40,000 hectares (98,800 acres) in Quebec. To learn more, 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.

The mission of the Fondation de la faune du Québec is to promote the conservation and enhancement of wildlife and its habitats. Thanks to the contribution of more than one million hunters, fishermen and trappers in Quebec, thousands of donors, and numerous private companies, the Foundation has supported more than 2,000 organizations throughout Quebec since 1987, creating a true wildlife movement.

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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Media Contact:

Elizabeth Sbaglia
Communications Manager, Quebec Region
Nature Conservancy of Canada
514-876-1606 x6240

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