The Canadian National (CN) destroyed, without permission, a wetland in Longueuil that was home to one of the last habitats of the chorus frog, a species threatened in Canada and endangered in Quebec. A gesture that earned the company a notice from the Québec Department of the Environment about the non-compliance who introduced regulations. The Society for Nature and Parks (SNAP) is calling for an investigation to determine whether the company also broke the law Species Protection Act.
Posted at 5:00 am
On April 11th, Tommy Montpetit and his team had an appointment in the Darveau swamp in Longueuil to take stock of the choir frog. The technique is to listen to the little frog sing during the spring breeding season. The more numerous they are, the higher the song rating attributed to the environment visited.
But no tree frog sang that day in the Darveau swamp. For the simple and good reason that part of the wetlands had been filled in. Tommy Montpetit, director of conservation at Ciel et Terre, immediately notified the city of Longueuil, which then notified the Quebec Ministry of Environment and Combating Climate Change (MELCC).
According to Mr. Montpetit, the backfilled environment is exactly where we found a habitat for tree frogs. Its destruction would also have altered the hydrology of the area, affecting the neighboring wetland where the Batrachian also occurred.
CN “not known”
The Darveau Swamp, which consists of several interconnected wetlands, is located on Canadian National Railway Company land along Route 116 in Longueuil. CN has confirmed this The press Being the author of the backfill work without specifying when the offense was committed. The company states that it received a notification of non-compliance from the MELCC on November 11th.
According to a source familiar with the matter, the approximately 1-hectare wetland was backfilled last August. CN was looking for a space to store materials, information not confirmed by the company, which emailed a brief statement in response to questions from CN The press.
CN says it was “unaware that this wetland could be designated as a habitat for sensitive species.” However, the Darveau Swamp has been designated in the federal restoration program for the species since 2015. And since 2003, volunteers go there every year for the Chorus Frog’s spring inventories.
Wetlands already identified
The backfilled area is about two miles from the Béliveau Boulevard sector, where the federal government issued an emergency executive order on November 21 to halt work and protect tree frog habitat there. There, too, wetlands had been destroyed to lengthen the boulevard. The work carried out by the City of Longueuil had been approved by the Quebec government.
The wetlands of the Darveau Marsh are clearly identified on the maps from Ducks Unlimited, the reference on the subject in Canada. They can also be found in the development plan of Ville de Longueuil.
Ironically, the backfilled environment is also included in the draft interim control charter that is scheduled to be passed by the Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM) on Thursday. The Executive Committee also unanimously decided to recommend the adoption of this Statute intended to protect the natural environments of interest in the territory of the CMM.
Note that there are only seven populations of tree frogs left in Quebec, three of which are in the Longueuil Agglomeration.
“CN apparently failed to exercise due diligence in this record when the presence of the species and its critical habitat was well documented in both of the country’s official languages,” said Alain Branchaud, general manager of CPAWS Quebec. “We call on the Federal Environment Minister to launch a transparent investigation and determine whether a violation of the general bans of the Species Protection Act was committed. »
Tommy Montpetit, he hopes the site will be restored quickly. “Wetlands were illegally filled in near Rue du R-100 two years ago [à Longueuil], and nothing has been fixed yet. »
It seems our governments have trouble understanding that if you poke a hole in a bucket of water, the whole bucket is empty. The same applies to wetlands. Every year we lose parts of it in general indifference.
Tommy Montpetit, Conservation Director of Ciel et Terre
CN says it intends to “establish a recovery plan with a work plan that will be shared with the affected departments to take the corrective actions deemed necessary, specifically aimed at restoring the site.”
But according to the CPAWS, it’s obvious Ottawa needs to intervene again. In August 2021, the organization had also asked the federal government to adopt a decree to protect the critical habitat of the choir frog throughout the territory of the city of Longueuil and not only for the Boulevard Béliveau sector.
- According to a spring 2021 report by the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) less than a quarter of the remaining populations of chorus frogs to date “may disappear in the medium term if conditions remain unchanged”.
Source: Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks
- In the past 60 years, the chorus frog has lost 90% of its range in Quebec, a decline similar to that of wetlands, 70% of which have been destroyed or damaged for more than 50 years.
Sources: MFFP and Ducks Unlimited