The Gleaner
Agriculture

Montérégie UPA announces new ecological projects

The Fédération de l’UPA de la Montérégie is launching two new projects for the conservation of field birds and pollinators.

The projects are in line with the regional action plan of the Plan d’agriculture durable (PAD) 2020-2030, which aims to accelerate the adoption of agri-environmental practices in response to local concerns. The projects are being funded by the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation (MAPAQ) through the Prime-Vert program.

The main objective of the Fauche retardée en faveur des oiseaux champêtres (delayed mowing for field birds) project is to protect field birds by offering training and support to agricultural producers in the Montérégie region to modify their hay harvesting practices. According to a press release issued by the UPA, waiting to cut one hectare of hay until after the breeding season of sensitive field bird species has passed will allow chicks to mature enough so that they can move out of the way of machinery. Delayed mowing will benefit several species of ground-nesting birds, including the endangered Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark.

At least $72,470 has been earmarked to support this initiative through to 2024.

The Création d’habitats propices aux pollinisateurs par l’implantation de bandes fleuries project will focus on the creation of pollinator-friendly habitats through the planting of flower strips. The project involves an awareness-raising campaign among local farmers and producers concerning the benefits of installing perennial flower strips on agricultural land. These have been shown to increase the biodiversity of insects which can lead to increased yields through increased pollination and the presence of beneficial insects.

 

Close up photo of two birds sitting on top of  branches.
Bobolink field birds are endangered The mowing of hay during their breeding period which disturbs nesting adults and young birds is considered to be one reason the bird population is declining PHOTO Fédération de lUPA de la Montérégie

 

Local farmers will also be able to access support for the design, implementation, and monitoring of flower strips on their properties. The UPA is hoping this will lead to the creation of new habitats offering protection to pollinators. A total of $87,456 in funding for this project has been guaranteed through 2024.

“The Fédération de l’UPA de la Montérégie is proud to be working once again to reconcile agricultural and wildlife uses, and for the protection of sensitive species on Montérégie farmland,” said Julien Pagé, 1st vice-president of the UPA Montérégie. “It is thanks to the involvement of agricultural producers that the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices in favour of these species will become a reality,” he added.

The Fédération de l’UPA de la Montérégie has been active in promoting initiatives to protect endangered species in agricultural areas for several years. These two projects are a concrete example of the inclusive approach the government is promoting in the implementation of the PAD, that especially involves groups such as the UPA and the participation of agricultural producers. (SR)

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