Ducks Unlimited Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada Join Forces to Rebuild the Digue-aux-Aigrettes Marsh — Ducks Unlimited Canada Skip to main content

Ducks Unlimited Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada Join Forces to Rebuild the Digue-aux-Aigrettes Marsh

November 24, 2020 National Québec
Ducks Unlimited Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada Join Forces to Rebuild the Digue-aux-Aigrettes Marsh
Aerial view

Quebec, QU – Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is completing an outstanding project initiated in 2018: the reconstruction of the dike and water level control structure of the Digue-aux-Aigrettes marsh, in the heart of the Lake Saint-François National Wildlife Area. In partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), DUC took on a threefold challenge: to upgrade the facilities while improving the habitat for the multiple species hosted at the site and preserving the quality of this vulnerable location. Through this project, DUC is reaffirming our material contribution to wetland conservation in Canada.

A Unique Environment to Be Preserved

The Lake Saint-François National Wildlife Area is a biodiversity jewel recognized as a Wetland of International Significance under the Ramsar Convention and one of DUC’s focus areas. The site hosts at least 287 wildlife species.

The Digue-aux-Aigrettes, which covers 75.5 hectares, is at the core of the area. It is home to some 15 species protected under the Species at Risk Act. This is an outstanding location, with trails and footbridges, ideal for bird-watching and enjoying the beauty of nature.

In 2018, the water level control and diking facilities built by DUC 35 years earlier in the area of the Digue-aux-Aigrettes marsh were close to the end of their lifecycle and needed to be restored. This was a major challenge, requiring solid expertise. After several decades of successful partnerships, the federal government, as the owner of the site, naturally resorted to DUC and mandated us to rebuild the marsh.

A Sustainable Development Perspective

Unique precautions had to be taken to protect the endangered species on the site. For example, work was carried out during the winter period, following the migration of birds, on frozen ground, providing a better load-bearing capacity for the equipment. In addition, early in the fall, the team responsible for the project set up exclusion fences around the dike to prevent turtles from settling there to hibernate.

This reconstruction gave the project partners an unprecedented opportunity to adopt a long-term vision, in addition to modern, innovative and state-of-the-art methods and materials in the field. The goal was to achieve a sustainable result while respecting the environment. A special membrane has been integrated to waterproof the dike. and the water level control structure is made of sturdy plastic. The project required a total investment of $1.5 million, funded by Ducks Unlimited Canada, Environment Canada and partners in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

To learn more about this project, please read our story.


“Wetlands provide numerous benefits for Canadians and our wildlife. That’s why the Government of Canada partnered with Ducks Unlimited Canada to restore this important habitat, which cleans the air, creates healthier communities, and supports our iconic Canadian biodiversity. This project is part of a larger collaborative initiative that aims to restore up to 10,000 hectares of wetlands in national wildlife areas across the country, which will capture the equivalent of emissions from 9,286 vehicles per year.”

– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Our government is proud to support the important work of fantastic partners like Ducks Unlimited. With this $750,000 contribution, local workers protected and restored an iconic ecosystem that provides important habitat for wildlife, including species at risk. With strategic investments like this one, we are contributing to both the environment and the economy.”

– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Member of Parliament for Quebec and President of the Treasury Board

“The Digue aux Aigrettes wetlands are important for waterfowl continentally, which is why they are in one of Ducks Unlimited Canada’s highest priority landscapes. Conservation actions like this 75.5 hectare wetland restoration require strong partnership efforts, and we are very pleased to have partnered with Environment and Climate Change Canada on this project. The project benefited from Ducks Unlimited Canada’s ongoing drive to find new, innovative, and cost-effective solutions that build on our 82 years of experience in conserving and restoring Canada’s wetlands.”

– Mark Gloutney, Director of Regional Operations – Eastern Canada and British Columbia, Ducks Unlimited Canada

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment. Learn more at

Contact Information

Leigh Patterson
Communications and Marketing
Ducks Unlimited Canada
Cell: 204-229-3536