The Ensemble pour la nature projectQuebec makes a major investment in conservation
Hochelaga archipelago, QC (Photo by Immophoto-Patrice-Bériault)
The Ensemble pour la nature project (PEPN) is a three-year, $15-million grant from the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC) to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), a not-for-profit organization.
The project has two main components:
- First, it aims to support securement or conservation agreement projects for the purposes of conservation by NCC and other organizations;
- Second, the project aims to gain scientific knowledge and raise public awareness about the importance of conserving Quebec’s rich natural environments.
The grant enables NCC to establish financial partnerships to support projects carried out by other conservation organizations and municipalities in Quebec.
“We are honoured by the trust placed in us by the MDDELCC through its contributions to the PEPN, which will serve to consolidate efforts to protect wetlands, forests and coastal or aquatic ecosystems that are home to precious plants and wildlife,” says Joël Bonin, associate vice-president of NCC in Quebec. “The project will expand the network of protected areas and protect natural areas that are considered high-priority due to the species they contain and the ecological services they provide to the population.”
In particular, NCC intends to work on ecological corridors — land or water passages linking protected areas to each other — that allow animals to move and plants to disperse in order to meet their needs. These connectivity areas present a way for species to adapt to climate change.
Conservation requires collaboration. Together with the community and its partners, NCC is committed to achieving conservation objectives that benefit everyone and to implementing agreements with several partner groups. Of the $15 million provided by the government, more than $5 million is already available to NCC partners. Some of these funds are accessible through the Fondation de la faune du Québec’s (FFQ) Protéger les habitats fauniques (wildlife habitat protection) program. All conservation organizations can request financial support from the FFQ to protect biodiversity on private land. Since 1987, the foundation has provided financial and technical assistance to organizations in all regions that wish to conserve and enhance wildlife habitats.
NCC will coordinate another part of the funding with Appalachian Corridor and Nature-Action Québec, key leaders in the development of conservation projects in southern Quebec. Both of these groups collaborate with their many affiliates and municipal partners on important projects to strengthen biodiversity protection in several priority areas.
A funds-matching challenge
“The department is launching a fundraising matching challenge: your contribution will be matched by that of the Province of Quebec in order to protect larger areas of great ecological wealth,” added Joël Bonin.
The MDDELCC promotes funds-matching in other investments as well, such as the federal government’s Natural Areas Conservation Program, managed by NCC. The latter solicits the generosity of individuals, foundations, businesses and more, in order to double Quebec’s contribution and realize specific conservation projects. In this way, natural sites will be protected for the long term.