St. Lawrence islands project

Backgrounder

On April 24, 2019, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Montréal Port Authority expressed their intention to work together to designate a series of islands under their jurisdiction as National Wildlife Areas (NWAs).

The St. Lawrence islands project includes the potential creation of three NWAs: the Boucherville Islands NWA, the Varennes and Verchères Islands NWA and the Lake St. Pierre Islands NWA. The project targets 27 islands located in the heart of the St. Lawrence River between Montréal and Lake St. Pierre. The proposed area of the protected land totals nearly 775 hectares.

National Wildlife Areas are created and managed to ensure wildlife conservation, research and interpretation. Their creation is governed by the Canada Wildlife Act, and their management is the responsibility of Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Boucherville Islands National Wildlife Area

The Boucherville Islands National Wildlife Area project includes nine islands with a total area of nearly 175 hectares.

The Boucherville Islands are located in a geographical corridor heavily used by migratory birds, are among the last natural islands in the region and provide important habitats for waterfowl. They also include the critical habitat of the Least Bittern, a species at risk in Canada.

The Port Authority manages the targeted lands.

Varennes and Verchères Islands National Wildlife Area

The Varennes and Verchères Islands National Wildlife Area project includes 11 islands with a total area of nearly 110 hectares.

The Varennes and Verchères islands boast important habitats for birds. Species listed under the Species at Risk Act are found there, and they include the Bobolink, the Bank Swallow, the Short-eared Owl and the Yellow Rail. Least Bittern critical habitat can also be found there. These islands are the second largest breeding site in Quebec for dabbling ducks and are home to the largest colony of ring-billed gulls in Quebec. A total of 43 bird species have been observed there.

Environment and Climate Change Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are the current managers of the targeted lands.

Lake Saint-Pierre Islands National Wildlife Area

The Lake Saint-Pierre Islands National Wildlife Area project includes seven islands with a total area of nearly 490 hectares.

The Lake Saint-Pierre Islands have important habitats for birds. A total of 62 bird species have been observed there, including species at risk such as the Bobolink, the Eastern Meadowlark, the Barn Swallow, and the Bank Swallow. The area contains the critical habitat of the Least Bittern, a species at risk, as well as the butternut and species listed in the Species at Risk Public Registry.

Environment and Climate Change Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada manage the targeted lands.

Canada's National Wildlife Areas

There are currently 55 National Wildlife Areas in Canada that contain important animal or plant habitats. Environment and Climate Change Canada's National Wildlife Areas protect approximately 1 million hectares of habitat, almost half of which protects marine habitat.


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