Bolton-Est, Estrie, QC (Photo by NCC)

Bolton-Est, Estrie, QC (Photo by NCC)

Nature Conservancy of Canada and Granby Zoo fill in pieces of conservation puzzle in southern Quebec

June 4, 2024
Granby, QC


New projects are a win for nature and many wildlife species in the Estrie and Montérégie regions

An ongoing partnership between the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the Granby Zoo to protect carbon-rich, ecologically sensitive habitats has resulted in better movement pathways for Canada lynx, black bear and larger wildlife while also giving a major boost to some at-risk turtles, salamanders and bat species. Three strategic conservation projects have been achieved thanks to a partnership between NCC and the Granby Zoo, with contributions from the provincial and federal, and Nature-Action Québec.

Today’s announcement is welcome news for nature in Quebec, particularly wetlands and forests in the Estrie and Montérégie regions. The three projects will result in:  

  • The protection of 148 hectares dominated by mostly sugar maple and yellow birch trees along with some important streams in Bolton-Est. Located near the Missisquoi River, the area is home to stream salamanders, including northern dusky salamander and spring salamander, both of which are listed at-risk in Quebec. The wood turtle, which is also designated as vulnerable in the province, live here. More than 100 different breeding birds have been inventoried in the area, along with two bat species: little brown and eastern pipistrelle. These two bat species are designated threatened in Quebec.
  • The conservation of over 109 hectares of mostly forest habitat on Mount Peeve (Potton municipality), located west of Lac Memphremagog. The site links up with other protected lands and supports carbon storage and a natural corridor between Mount Elephant and the Sutton Mountains. It contributes to an unfragmented area of 10,000 hectares ensuring a larger corridor for wildlife movement. In addition to supporting these same salamanders, it is also a potential nesting habitat for peregrine falcon, a vulnerable species. The presence of the Nothern ring-necked snake, a species likely to be designated threatened or vulnerable, was also noted.
  • NCC is pleased to now own 53 hectares of the Rivière aux Brochets swamp in Venise-en-Québec, within the Haut-Richelieu RCM. The property is located next to another NCC-protected area and in a region facing many development pressures. The wetlands on this site are key habitat for the map turtle, designated vulnerable in Quebec, the spiny softshell turtle, designated threatened in Quebec and a priority species for Granby Zoo, and a vulnerable marsh bird, the least bittern. By conserving this site, NCC has the opportunity to carry out several restoration activities.

NCC has begun inventories, drawn up a management plan and carried out follow-up visits thanks to financial support from the Quebec government under Accélérer la conservation dans le sud du Québec project (ACSQ). 

With the recent launch of Granby Zoo ‘’Mission Faune’’ aiming to accelerate the protection of biodiversity across the province and the planet, we anticipate an increase in collaboration and joint projects. This initiative will strengthen our relationships and enhance our conservation efforts together.

NCC recognizes the private landowners, Mr. Stephen James Berns, Mr. Jean-Philippe Brodeur, Mr. Eric R. Fisher and Mr. Rémi and Mr. Gervais Poulin for their willingness to work with the organization to achieve a positive outcome for nature. In addition to thanking  Granby Zoo for its collaboration, NCC thanks the gouvernement du Québec, as the acquisitions were made through the Projet de partenariat pour les milieux naturels (PPMN) and through the Projet Accélérer la conservation dans le sud du Québec (ACSQ) for which the gouvernement du Québec provided financial assistance over $197 million. CNC would also thank the Government of Canada, through Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund and through the Natural Heritage Conservation program, part of Canada's Nature Fund and through Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Unis pour protéger le Sud du Québec project (Fonds DÉFI) granted to Nature-Action Québec.

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.


"The long-standing collaboration between Nature Conservancy of Canada and Granby Zoo symbolizes our joint commitment to protecting biodiversity. Together, we have led initiatives that not only preserved ecologically sensitive habitats but also supported the survival and recovery of endangered species such as turtles, salamanders, and bats. Through the establishment of a new agreement, this partnership demonstrates our strong alliance and our determination to work together for a future where nature is protected and valued." — Cynthia Patry, Senior Project Manager, Large-scale Projects

"The team of conservation biologists at the Granby Zoo works both upstream and downstream of Nature Conservancy of Canada’s acquisition projects, through wildlife monitoring and meetings with landowners, among other activities. It is very stimulating to participate in the protection of natural environments, as it yields benefits on many levels, in terms of the ecological services that nature provides us, as well as in terms of preserving biodiversity and endangered species." - Patrick Paré, Director of Conservation and Research, Granby Zoo

“The protection of these natural environments is excellent news for the Estrie and Montérégie regions, and for Quebec as a whole. It's thanks to initiatives like these that we're able to protect a wide variety of animal and plant species, as well as their habitats. I'd like to thank all our partners for their commitment to this cause. It is by working together that we will succeed in improving the representativeness of the network of protected areas in southern Quebec, where biodiversity is the richest, but where the pressures on natural environments are also the greatest.” – Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment, the Fight against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks, and Minister responsible for the Laurentides region

“The Government of Canada is supporting the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s conservation work to help fight climate change by protecting and conserving carbon-rich wetlands and forests in the Estrie region of southern Quebec. Not only do these wetlands and forests help filter water for nearby communities, they will also provide space for movement of larger species and important habitat for several species at risk. By making investments such as this through the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund, we continue to build a more sustainable, healthy future for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.”  – The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change


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 large-scale, 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, NCC partners regularly with Conservation de la nature Québec (CNQ), a non-profit organization that is distinct from NCC, to conserve Quebec’s richest natural areas. Together, the two organizations have conserved more than 55,000 hectares of natural areas in the province. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca

In addition to being a major tourist attraction in Quebec, the Zoo de Granby is a non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve the animal world.  Since 1953, the Zoo de Granby has acted as a conservation organization through awareness-raising activities, conservation initiatives, and the funding of scientific research programs. With Mission Faune, the Zoo de Granby is stepping up the pace of its wildlife protection initiatives.  Launched in May 2024, Mission Faune proposes a series of ambitious commitments to halt the decline in biodiversity around the world. More information at missionfaune.zoodegranby.com

The gouvernement du Québec through the Projet de partenariat pour les milieux naturels (PPMN). The PPMN is a four-year grant of more than $53 million from the Gouvernement du Québec to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. 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 Québec's network of protected areas located on private land.

The Accélérer la conservation dans le sud du Québec (ACSQ) project is a co-funding agreement between the gouvernement du Québec and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), benefiting Quebec conservation organizations. The project aims to protect and conserve natural habitats of ecological interest, notably through the acquisition of private land, for protected and conserved areas and the establishment of ecological corridors. Through this, the ACSQ will promote the development and sound management of the network of protected areas on private land, as well as public access to nature. The gouvernement du Québec invested $144 million in the ACSQ over five years; this must be matched by NCC and its partners with other funds not provided by the gouvernement du Québec.  

Canada’s Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund (NSCSF) is a $1.4 billion, ten-year fund (2021–2031) administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada to help conserve, restore, and enhance the management of ecosystems such as wetlands, forests, and grasslands, in order to help tackle the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. The NSCSF will focus on three main objectives: (1) conserving carbon-rich ecosystems at high risk of conversion to other uses that would release their stored carbon; (2) improving land management practices to reduce their greenhouse gas emission-causing impacts on Canada’s ecosystems; and (3) restoring degraded ecosystems. Overall, these projects will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and increased carbon sequestration, while also providing benefits for biodiversity and human well-being.

The Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a unique partnership that supports the creation and recognition of protected and conserved areas through the acquisition of private land and private interest in land. To date, the Government of Canada has invested more than $440 million in the Program, which has been matched with more than $870 million in contributions raised by Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the country’s land trust community, leading to the protection and conservation of more than 700,000 hectares of ecologically sensitive lands.

For over 37 years, Nature-Action Québec, a non-profit organization, has been dedicated to guiding individuals and organizations in the implementation of best environmental practices. The organization works with municipalities, businesses, community organizations, and citizens to carry out concrete projects that contribute to improving the environment, health, well-being, and quality of life of Quebec population.

The Quebec Ecological Corridors Initiative (QECI) was launched by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in 2017 to accelerate the conservation of natural areas connected by ecological corridors. The initiative is coordinated by NCC and led by a group of 10 organizations. The group offers a collective approach to land use planning and advises provincial and municipal governments, woodlot owners, farmers and other key stakeholders. The group also carries out mobilization, capacity building, recognition and support activities throughout southern Quebec.

QECI is supported by over 100 experts and stakeholders and receives most of its funding from the following organizations: the Gouvernement du Québec (under the Action-Climat Québec program which meets the objectives of the 2030 Plan for a Green Economy), the Government of Canada’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Woodcock Foundation and Fondation de la faune du Québec.

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Ania Wurster
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