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Barachois de Malbaie, Gaspésie (Photo by Photopleinciel)

Barachois de Malbaie, Gaspésie (Photo by Photopleinciel)

Discover the dunes and forest of the Malbaie Salt Marsh sandbar

July 19, 2022
Percé, Quebec

 

A host of new amenities for visitors to enjoy

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has worked for several months on a major project to restore and enhance a landscape typical of the Gaspé coastline: the Malbaie Salt Marsh sandbar. There are now amenities in place to protect nature and accommodate the thousands of people who visit each year.

The Malbaie Salt Marsh extends along the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, between Percé and Gaspé. It is one of the largest and best-conserved wetlands in the Gaspé Peninsula. The land is part of the Peace and Friendship treaties and is the traditional homelands of the Mi’kma’ki.

Salt marshes are areas of brackish water separated from the sea by a sandbar. The Malbaie Salt Marsh features a six-kilometre-long sandbar that forms a natural barrier against erosion, and the vegetation here keeps it stable.

Over the past two years, several projects have been carried out on the sandbar to conserve and enhance this exceptional area and improve the visitor experience.

NCC, along with partners and volunteers, have planted hundreds of trees and set up three sand catchers to stabilize and restore dunes along the sandbar affected by erosion. Cyclists and walkers can visit the area by crossing a newly installed 520-metre-long wooden footbridge. Visitors can take in the sights from four new viewing platforms or access the beach beside the salt marsh via two new access ramps. 

People can also learn about this exceptional exosystem in three new videos made about the Malbaie Salt Marsh: 

The new facilities will allow visitors to enjoy the magnificent, diverse habitats of the Malbaie Salt Marsh while helping to conserve this fragile environment.

This project showcases how NCC is accelerating the pace of conservation in Canada. In the past two years alone, NCC has influenced the protection of more than 1 million hectares (almost twice the size of Prince Edward Island), coast to coast to coast. Over the next few years, the organization will double its impact by mobilizing Canadians and delivering permanent, large-scale conservation.

In the face of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change, nature is our ally. There is no solution to either without nature conservation. When nature thrives, we all thrive.

Acknowledgements

The Nature Conservancy of Canada thanks its financial partners: Canada Economic Development (CED) for Quebec Regions under the Canadian Community Revitalization (CCRF); the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, through the Partenariat pour les milieux naturels project; the Fondation de la faune du Québec and its financial partner, Hydro-Québec; Age of Union Alliance, crucial partner for the St. Lawrence River; the Community Interaction Program, associated with the St. Lawrence Action Plan 2011-2026 and implemented by Environment and Climate Change Canada, MELCC; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and Wildlife Habitat Canada. Our thanks as well to local organizations, the City of Percé and numerous volunteers for their generous contributions to the project.

Quotes

“The NCC team is very proud to have worked with the local community to complete this restoration project and enhance the Malbaie Salt Marsh sandbar. We believe the project will help foster a sense of belonging and pride, allowing people to enjoy their favourite outdoor activities while taking care of natural habitats.” - Olivier Perrotte Caron, Project Manager, Nature Conservancy of Canada

“The Malbaie Salt Marsh is a place of vital ecological importance that must be protected. Thanks to CED’s non-refundable contribution of $169,685, NCC has been able to develop 1.2 km of trail that will allow cyclists and walkers to safely access nature while respecting the environment. Our support will also permit the construction of new infrastructure and amenities to improve the visitor experience. In completing this project, NCC is improving the life of citizens, promoting responsible development and encouraging social inclusion.” The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, MP for Gaspésie–Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Minister of National Revenue, on behalf of the Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister Responsible for CED

“By protecting the St. Lawrence and its banks, we are protecting biodiversity and combatting climate change and its impacts. I’m very pleased that we can contribute to the restoration and enhancement of the Malbaie barachois sand bar with this financial support to Nature Conservancy Canada. Our government is committed to taking significant measures to restore and protect the natural protective barrier offered by biodiversity, and its by working together that we are helping to restore Canadians’ access to nature today and in the future.”- The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“WHC is delighted to have supported this incredible project. The restoration of the Malbaie Salt Marsh sandbar is an important milestone in Canadian conservation. This project is a major win for NCC and for Canadian conservation as a whole.” – Cameron Mack, Executive Director, Wildlife Habitat Canada

About

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the country’s unifying force for nature. NCC seeks solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through largescale, permanent land conservation. As a trusted partner NCC works with people, communities, businesses and government to protect and care for our country’s most important natural areas. Since 1962, NCC has brought Canadians together to conserve and restore more than 15 million hectares. In Quebec, close to 50,000 hectares have been protected. With nature, we build a thriving world.

The Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF) is part of the Quebec Economic Development Program (QEDP), a funding program of Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED). The latter is a key federal partner in Quebec’s regional economic development. With 12 business offices across the province, DEC helps companies, organizations and regions transition to the economy of tomorrow.

The Partenariat pour les milieux naturels (PPMN) project is a four-year grant of more than $53 million from the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC) to NCC. It provides support for voluntary conservation initiatives to ensure the protection of natural areas of interest by establishing financial partnerships with conservation organizations in the province. The PPMN thus aims to develop and consolidate Quebec’s network of protected areas located on private land. It follows the Ensemble pour la nature project, which ended on March 31, 2020, and had similar goals.

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.

The Programme Hydro-Québec pour la mise en valeur des milieux naturels is a funding program offered by the Fondation de la faune du Québec in collaboration with its financial partner Hydro-Québec. It aims to support initiatives for the enhancement, development and implementation of infrastructures that facilitate public access to natural environments while ensuring the protection of biodiversity.

Age of Union is a non-profit environmental alliance that supports and makes visible a global community of changemakers working on-the-ground to protect the planet’s threatened species and ecosystems. Launched in October 2021 by tech leader and environmental activist Dax Dasilva in Montreal, Canada, Age of Union seeks to ignite a flame within every person through conservation efforts that solve critical environmental challenges around the world and inspire high-impact change by showing the positive impact that every individual can make.

The Community Interaction Program (CIP) is a financial assistance program that supports community-based projects to conserve and improve the St. Lawrence ecosystem. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the MELCC are implementing this program as part of the St. Lawrence Action Plan (SLAP 2011–2026), a collaborative agreement between the governments of Canada and Quebec that aims to conserve, restore, protect and enhance the St. Lawrence. ECCC provided $76,547 in funding through the CIP for the project to restore and enhance the Malbaie Salt Marsh sandbar.

The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) is a program administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Wildlife Habitat Canada is a non-profit, conservation organization that conserves habitat, primarily by investing the funds from the sale of the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp and Print program contributed by waterfowl hunters. Since 1985, WHC has provided over $55 million in grants to more than 1,500 habitat conservation projects across Canada, which have helped safeguard important ecosystems and countless wild species. 

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Ania Wurster
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514-415-4124

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