The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is expanding its activities to the municipalities of Saint-Anicet, Sainte-Barbe and Dundee in an attempt to protect ecologically significant environments along the shores of the St. Lawrence River. The NCC made the announcement during a press conference held on July 6 at the Lake Saint-François National Wildlife Area in Dundee.
The NCC, which firmly believes human and agricultural activities can be carried out while respecting nature, wants to work with local residents to protect private land in the area. Over the next two years, the NCC will work to raise awareness among land owners along the St. Lawrence River, in collaboration with the Fondation de la faune de Québec and the Community Interaction Program, which supports community-based projects aimed at conserving and improving the St. Lawrence ecosystem .
In meeting with residents NCC biologists be able to identify the different species living on their property and the ecological characteristics of their land. The goal is to encourage voluntary commitments to protect these important ecosystems. The organization is also interested in supporting owners willing to donate or sell their land for conservation purposes.
An environment of great ecological richness
“The St. Lawrence is at the heart of our history. That is why the Government of Quebec is providing financial assistance for this community-oriented and unifying project, which aims to raise awareness among owners of natural riparian environments of the importance of protecting the resources of the St. Lawrence. It is through these types of initiatives that, together, we will improve its ecosystem,” explains Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.
“The south shore of Lake Saint-François (a widening of the St. Lawrence River) is composed of wetlands and woodlands that provide important ecological services to the river, such as water filtration, to improve water quality”, says Valérie René, a project coordinator at the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Quebec. The area is also a prime habitat for species such as the Map Turtle, which is designated as vulnerable in Quebec under the Act respecting threatened or vulnerable species (VSLSA), and the Blanding’s turtle, which is designated as threatened in Canada under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and the VSLSA in Quebec.
The woodlands and riparian areas in this region are home to sensitive plant species such as the white-flowered lizard (likely to be designated threatened or vulnerable), the ostrich fern, vulnerable under the VMEA in Quebec, and the butternut, which is endangered under the SARA in Canada.
NCC has been working in the St. Lawrence River sector for some 30 years. To date, thanks to its funders and partners, including the Community Interaction Program, NCC has protected more than 1,400 hectares of natural habitats of interest between Lake Saint-Louis and Lake Saint-Pierre.
NCC is now inviting land owners in Saint-Anicet, Sainte-Barbe and Dundee to express their interest in learning more about the types of species on their property by contacting Valérie René, the project coordinator at NCC at 1 877 231-3552 ext. 6293 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org