Piece of conservation puzzle added to Ottawa Valley
The Nature Conservancy of Canada buys a key property to expand ecological corridor
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing the protection of a 31-hectare (78-acre) forest and wetland property in the municipality of Bristol, Quebec.
Located 60 kilometres west of Gatineau, the site is part of the Greater Bristol Marsh Area, where NCC already protects more than 1,100 hectares (2,718 acres). This land purchase was made possible thanks to the landowner and financial support from the Governments of Quebec, Canada and the United States, as well as the private sector.
Many biologists consider this region, with its abundant biodiversity, to be one of the most important natural areas in the province. The Ottawa Valley region, which includes the Greater Bristol Marsh Area, is filled with exceptional forests and wetlands.
The region is home to many species listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) and/or the Quebec Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species (ARTVS).
They include the largest populations of Blanding's turtle, eastern musk turtle, eastern ribbonsnake and butterfly weed in Quebec. Also a haven for winged wildlife, 13 priority species under the North American Bird Conservation Initiative have been observed in this region.
An essential space for connectivity
"This land purchase helps NCC consolidate an important natural corridor in the region,’’ says Caroline Gagné, NCC's program director for western Quebec. "This corridor extends from the Ottawa River to Gatineau Park. Conserving interconnected forests and wetlands here is important. Large home-range species, such as white-tailed deer in the Ottawa Valley, need extensive wilderness areas for feeding and breeding.’’
The property has five different types of wetlands: swamp, marsh, shallow water, wooded bog and fen peatland. The site is essential to several species. The large wetland that runs through it provides nesting sites that could be used by rare birds, including least bittern and olive-sided flycatcher. Both are designated as threatened under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.
Great blue heron and mallard also make their home there. The property's mature forests provide resting and nesting areas for several species of climbing birds, such as those of the Picidae family to which woodpeckers belong.
This project was made possible through the financial contributions of the Quebec Government, through the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs program; the Government of Canada, through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
“On behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, I would like to congratulate the Nature Conservancy of Canada for conserving the Grand marais de Bristol property here in Quebec. Thanks in part to our government’s support through the Canada Nature Fund’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program, the conserved forest and wildlife habitat will protect our biodiversity and ensure that our wildlife can thrive for generations to come in Pontiac. By taking the initiative now to protect this land, we are making progress toward conserving 25 per cent of Canada’s land and 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025, and working toward 30 per cent of each by 2030.” - Will Amos, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (Science) and Member of Parliament for Pontiac
- More than 150 vulnerable species are found in the Ottawa Valley natural area.
- Blanding's turtle is designated as threatened under ARTVS and under SARA. Eastern musk turtle is designated threatened under the ARTVS and species of special concern under SARA. Eastern ribbonsnake is also designated species of special concern under SARA. Butterfly weed is designated threatened under the ARTVS. Least bittern and olive-sided flycatcher are both designated as threatened under SARA.
- This region is recognized as a vital conservation area by the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture for the numerous waterfowl found within it.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation’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 and its partners have helped to conserve 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast, including close to 48,000 hectares (120,000 acres) in Quebec. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.
The Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a unique public-private partnership to support new protected and conserved areas by securing private lands and private interests in lands. The program is managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Federal funds invested in the program are matched with contributions raised by NCC and its partners, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the country’s land trust community.
The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) is a program administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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