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Montréal, August 29, 2018

Press Release

An Important Discovery – Turtles Found in a New Area of QuébecMajor restoration project results in a new home for threatened species

Some vulnerable and threatened turtle species in Québec are getting a new lease on life after a new home was made for them.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada and project partners have completed a major habitat restoration project at Lake Champlain in the Montérégie region. A conservation announcement was held today by NCC with representatives of the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) and the Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l'environnement (FHQE),

The project is already leading to positive conservation results.

This agricultural land and wetlands has been restored for the spiny softshell turtle and the map turtle. Previously, the spiny softshell turtle could only be found in the Outaouais (Ottawa), St-Laurent (St. Lawrence) and Richelieu rivers.  Since the work was carried out, a number of turtles have been discovered on the site.

An agricultural pond was restored to provide turtles with a resting and feeding area adapted to their needs. Several map turtles and a spiny softshell turtle were discovered in the basins created using mounds, pits and canals as well as logs and flat stones, which allow turtles to get some sunshine as they slowly move out of low-lying wet areas.

The second part of the project was to experiment with and showcase different farming practices that are more environmentally friendly. A unique system, with four native tree species, was implemented. This approach will protect not only these rare turtles, but also other species found in the fields, forests and water bodies in this agricultural area.

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“Thanks to this exceptional collaboration, this site has benefited from the expertise of several teams of professionals and increased in ecological value,” said Joël Bonin, associate regional Vice-ppresident for NCC in Québec. “This project plays a leading role in protecting an emblematic species of the region, the spiny softshell turtle, which is designated as threatened in Québec and Canada, and its cousin, the map turtle, which is also at-risk. We hope this initiative will inspire other farmers to join us in protecting biodiversity.” 

“The cooperation between the project stakeholders is very inspiring,” said Carlo Gagliardi, Executive Director of the Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l’environnement. “This NCC and MFFP initiative is in line with the Foundation’s mission, since it targets a specific natural environment and results in a significant environmental gain, in addition to raising awareness and engaging the community.”

“After more than twenty years of work on conservation and increasing our knowledge about at-risk wildlife species around Lake Champlain, the Ministère is contributing even more to the improvement of a spiny softshell turtle habitat through this wildlife management program. The adoption of new agricultural and forestry practices, such as the present agroforestry system, demonstrates an approach that is compatible with conservation, while having a positive impact on lake water quality, ecosystem health and the health of the population," said Jean-Philippe Detolle, Director General for the metropolitan and southern region at the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs.

Acknowledgements 

In addition to the valuable contribution of the MFFP, this project was made possible through funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada through the National Wetlands Conservation Fund, the Fondation de la faune du Québec, the FHQE and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

We also thank Terraformex, PNG, Amphibia-Nature and CLG AGFOR as well as the Organisme de bassin versant de la Baie Missisquoi (Missisquoi Bay watershed organization) and the Spiny Softshell Turtle Recovery Team for the design and implementation of the project. Finally, we wish to acknowledge the contributions of Graymont, Beaudoin Excavation and Mr. Arnold Reynolds. 

About the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs

The Ministère assumes the sustainable management of public forests and wildlife for the benefit of the citizens of Québec. Particularly in southern Québec, the Ministère aims to ensure the long-term maintenance of biodiversity and the conservation of species and habitats while promoting ecosystem enhancement. As part of its mission, it collaborates with multiple community partners.

About the Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is Québec’s leading not-for-profit private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the plants and animals they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2.7 million acres (1.1 million hectares) across the country, including 111,197 acres (45,000 hectares) in Québec. To learn more, visit www.natureconservancy.ca.

About the Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l’environnement 

The Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l’environnement supports organizations carrying out tangible initiatives designed to protect, restore and enhance natural habitats, and to educate target audiences about local environmental issues. Between 2001 and 2017, the Fondation awarded $14.8 million to 272 projects implemented throughout Québec’s administrative regions. The total value of these projects is estimated at $48 million. To find out more about the various projects funded by the Fondation, visit www.hydroquebec.com/fondation-environnement


Media contact 

Elizabeth Sbaglia, Communications Manager, NCC
Office: 1 877 876-5444, ext. 6240 | Mobile: 514 996-4440 
elizabeth.sbaglia@natureconservancy.ca

Diane Lamarche, Communications Advisor, MFFP
Direction générale du secteur métropolitain et sud
Office: 514-873-2140 ext. 240
Diane.lamarche@mffp.gouv.qc.ca

Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l’environnement
Office: 514 289-5384
fondation-environnement@hydro.qc.ca

 

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