Government of Canada partners with Ducks Unlimited to conserve valuable habitat in Montérégie
Government of Canada Release
CHÂTEAUGUAY, QC, Oct. 15 — Canada’s Environment Minister, the Honourable Jim Prentice, today joined the representatives of Ducks Unlimited Canada to announce the acquisition, for conservation purposes, of the Marguerite-d’Youville Wildlife Refuge. The project was funded in part by Environment Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program, with an overall budget of $1,375,000.
“This acquisition marks another achievement under our government’s Natural Areas Conservation Program. With this investment, we are taking real action to protect and conserve our ecosystems and sensitive species for present and future generations,” said Minister Prentice. “All your actions, large or small, will help to protect the abundance and variety of life that is part of our natural heritage.”
“The natural character and size of the Marguerite-d’Youville Wildlife Refuge are impressive, especially so close to Montréal. This exceptional site required action, particularly due to the pressure for its development that we are seeing. Given that 70% to 90% of urban wetlands have disappeared in Quebec, you will understand that our action is all the more justified,” said Bernard Filion, director of Ducks Unlimited in Quebec.
The 213-hectare property located on île Saint-Bernard contains 173 hectares of wetlands, representing 45% of the wetlands in the municipality of Châteauguay. The natural shorelines on the north and east of the island provide a series of gravelly and sandy beaches bordered by a bulrush marsh. The west and south shores, located along the Châteauguay River, contain aquatic grass beds. This is a remarkable site for wetland birds and one of the best sites in Quebec for the Least Bittern, a threatened species in Canada under the Species at Risk Act. The project’s geographic location makes it particularly valuable because of the extent of wetland losses and degradation in the Montréal region over the past few decades.
In this International Year of Biodiversity, the Government of Canada has made a commitment to the long-term conservation of biological diversity and is collaborating with partners, including Ducks Unlimited Canada, for the protection of the natural heritage aspect of sites. The Marguerite-d’Youville Wildlife Refuge site is a fine example of this.
The Government of Canada’s $225-million Natural Areas Conservation Program is an important on-the-ground initiative that takes real action to preserve Canada’s environment and conserve its precious natural heritage for present and future generations. It is through the ongoing contribution from all donors that we can ensure the protection of natural areas in Canada. As of July 2010, under the Natural Areas Conservation Program over 138,800 hectares (342,982 acres) have been secured, protecting habitat for over 79 species at risk.
For more information, contact:
Media Relations, Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of the Environment