(Montreal) Minister for the Environment and Combating Climate Change Benoit Charette on Friday announced his intention to create 11 new protected areas, mostly in the south of the province, a delight for environmentalists who have called for the protection of more forests and ecosystems in southern Quebec for a long time.
Posted at 11:18 am
The government intends to add almost 2000 km2 to the network of protected areas.
“The creation of protected areas remains one of the best tools to promote long-term conservation and the adaptation of species and ecosystems to climate change,” Minister Charette said in a press release.
A coalition of Aboriginal people, environmental organisations, health experts and outdoor stakeholders regretted that dozens of proposals to protect urban and peri-urban forests in the south of the province in 2020 had been abandoned by the Legault government. According to groups including the Society for Nature and Parks (SNAP Québec), the government had decided to protect mainly forests in the north of the province because they are of little industrial interest.
But after Friday morning’s announcement, CPAWS Quebec commended the government’s efforts.
“We are pleased with this announcement, which demonstrates the government’s renewed desire to fill the gaps in southern Quebec and offer local natural environments to the population. However, Quebec must quickly adopt a game plan to reach 30% protected areas by 2030 and confirm additional investments estimated at $50 million per year to protect public lands,” said Alain Branchaud, general manager at SNAP Quebec.
CPAWS points out that of the 83 projects put on hold by the government in December 2020, 23 have now been granted protection.
Nature Québec also called Minister Charette’s announcement “good news” but recalled the need to protect more areas in the South, even if they include forests coveted by the forest industry.
“To meet our new goal of protecting 30% of the territory by 2030, the government needs to step up these kinds of announcements to create a representative network of protected areas, especially where pressure on biodiversity is greatest. . To achieve this, all they have to do is give the green light to dozens of protected area projects located south of the commercial forest line that are on the waiting list,” said Alice-Anne Simard, Director General of Nature Quebec.
The list does not include the Lac Pipmuacan area
The list of new federal protected areas does not include the Lac Pipmuacan sector, an ancestral territory of the Innus of Pessamite where the caribou population is declining.
When asked by The Canadian Press, the Pessamit Innu Council responded that it “has taken note of the government’s announcement and would like to take the time to analyze the decision before officially responding.”
The Pessamit Innu Council recently sent a formal notice to the Quebec government, urging them to protect the region’s caribou.
On May 18, the leader of the Pessamit Innu Council, Jean-Marie Vollant, had asked for a meeting “as soon as possible” with the government to register without delay the protected area project in the Lac Pipmuacan sector to prevent forestry from decimation the caribou herd.
Eleven new protected areas
- The proposed Basses-Collines-du-Ruisseau-Serpent Biodiversity Reserve will be extended to an area of 73 km2.
- The proposed Rivière-Dumoine Biodiversity Reserve will be extended to an area of 313 km2.
- 820 km2 in the Rivières-Noire-et-Coulonge sector.
Lower St Lawrence
- 74 km2 in the Rivière-Causapscal sector.
- 90km2 in the Duchenier sector.
- 347km2 in the Rivière-Cascapédia sector.
- 5km2 in the Mont-Saint-Pierre area.
- 11km2 in the Seigneurie-de-Joly sector.
- 4km2 in the Notre-Dame district.
- The proposed Brûlis-du-lac-Frégate Biodiversity Reserve is expected to reach 18 km2.
- The proposed Vallée-de-la-Rivière-Godbout Biodiversity Reserve will be extended to 209 km2.
Quebec has also confirmed reservations for the areas it announced it would protect earlier this year, including Rivière-Péribonka.
“Since January 2022, that’s a gain of more than 2500 km2 for the network of protected areas,” announced the Ministry of the Environment.