Wood duck (Photo by Helen Jones)

Wood duck (Photo by Helen Jones)

Thor Vikström donates Laval island to conservation group

December 6, 2021
Laval, Québec

 

Nature Conservancy of Canada protects natural oasis surrounded by cities

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is protecting another natural area between Montreal and Laval. Thanks to a generous land donation by Thor Vikström, Île Ronde, a three-hectare island on the Rivière des Prairies, is now conserved for the long term.

The gift of a natural treasure

Nature lover and sportsman, Thor Vikström had a desire to create a natural legacy for future generations, by trusting NCC with the stewardship of his family’s land. The Vikström family, originally from Sweden, moved to Canada in the 1960s and took care of this island for half a century. Thanks to their good stewardship and respectful land use, the island has remained in its natural state, amid decades of urban growth around it. The Vikström family is very involved in the protection of Quebec’s precious wildlife. In addition to being donors to NCC, they support Ducks Unlimited Canada.

Hear Thor Vikström talk about his donation: 

A haven of biodiversity

This acquisition increases the number of protected areas in the region and improves habitat for many of the species found here. Of note, shagbark hickory, a tree species that is likely to be designated as threatened or vulnerable in Quebec, will be protected by this acquisition. There is also a wetland suitable for fish and amphibian reproduction here.

Map turtles, a species listed as being of special concern at the federal level and vulnerable in Quebec, frequently use the natural shores of this island, which provide it with a resting place safe from disturbance. Sites such as these are becoming increasingly rare for this species, which is present in the most densely populated region in Quebec.

Waterbirds and several species of waterfowl, such as Canada goose, wood duck, gadwall, black duck, American wigeon and common merganser, are frequently seen in this area. Several fish can be found in the waters of the Rivière des Praires, including burbot, northern pike, yellow perch, bowfin, largemouth bass and black crappie. The conservation of undisturbed shorelines helps ensure the water quality that these fish require.

Quotes

“This little jewel of biodiversity has endured in an urban setting. The Vikström family has taken great care of it, and with this very meaningful act we are protecting the natural diversity of this unique habitat for the benefit of the animal and plant species that live there, but also for future generations. Few people know this, but a significant portion of NCC’s protected areas comes from generous donors who choose to donate ecologically valuable land. It’s a gift that many people can make and one that can provide tax benefits to donors. It’s a way to help protect our beautiful planet.” – Annie Ferland, project manager for the Montreal Greenbelt at the Nature Conservancy of Canada

“Protecting any area of value in the southern part of the province, and especially on private land, makes a difference. Protecting Île Ronde not only ensures the protection of many species, but also of their habitats, which is great news for the conservation of biodiversity in Quebec! A special thank you to Mr. Vikström and his family for taking the protection of our natural environment to heart. Congratulations to NCC for this acquisition, which was made possible by our financial support through the Projet de partenariat pour les milieux naturels.” –  Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Minister Responsible for the Fight against Racism and Minister Responsible for the Laval Region

Best practices

By maintaining a strip of natural vegetation on their shore, waterfront landowners can help restore shoreline quality for species and increase biodiversity. Shorelines have been heavily modified over the past century, but fortunately nature is resilient! A few simple actions, such as leaving dead wood in place, planting native vegetation and controlling invasive exotic species, can make a difference.

Acknowledgements

This project was made possible thanks to several partners. NCC would like to thank Thor Vikström, the former owner of this site, for his generosity. The conservation of this property also benefited from the financial support of the Quebec government, through the Projet de partenariat pour les milieux naturels, and of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. Protection, restoration and awareness actions to conserve and enhance the St. Lawrence ecosystem and, more specifically, to conserve turtle habitats, such as that of map turtle, will be carried through the Community Interaction Program. NCC would also like to thank the Laurentian Bank for its continued support and the Age of Union Foundation for the protection of the St. Lawrence River islands.

 

About

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 14 million hectares (35 million acres) across the country, including 48,000 hectares (more than 118,600 acres) in Quebec. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.

The Projet de partenariat pour les milieux naturels (PPMN) is a four-year grant of more than $53 million from the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques 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 Québec’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 North American Wetlands Conservation Act is a program administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Community Interaction Program is a financial assistance program that supports community-based projects to conserve and improve the St. Lawrence ecosystem. As part of the St. Lawrence Action Plan (SLAP 2011-2026), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques du Québec (MELCC) are implementing this program.

The Laurentian Bank, founded in 1846, is helping to build a more responsible banking era while pursuing its mission to help its customers improve their financial health.

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.

  Gouvernement du Québec  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  NAWCA  Community Interactions Program  Laurentian Bank of Canada  Age of Union

 

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