QUEBEC CITY, Quebec, Nov. 25, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Twelve years ago, there were no detailed maps to identify the millions of hectares of wetlands in southern Québec. Without proper documentation and classification, these important habitats were at high risk of being damaged or destroyed in this densely populated part of the province. Today, thanks to detailed mapping delivered by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), with the support of the Québec Ministry of the Environment (Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques) and more than 80 partners, 265,549 wetlands spanning 717,038 hectares have been mapped. It is a monumental advancement for conservation in Québec.
"Governments, land-use planners, real estate developers, farmers, foresters and the public in general can now access valuable data to make informed decisions," says Sébastien Rioux, DUC's manager of provincial operations in Québec. "The detailed mapping we've completed is a significant first step towards protecting the wetlands of southern Québec."
Using three-dimensional photo interpretation, the maps DUC has produced accurately document wetlands at a resolution of 0.3 hectares. To date, 85 per cent of the targeted area in southern Québec has been mapped. DUC expects to complete the project in the next few years.
This mapping work provides the baseline information for Québec's Wetlands and Water Conservation Act. In fact, this crucial work is used to inform land-use decisions by both the provincial and municipal governments, their land-use planners and regulators. Since the start of the project in 2009, the Québec Ministry of the Environment (Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques) has been a major funding partner as well as a pivotal member of the implementation team. The participation of numerous Regional County Municipalities (Municipalités régionales de comté; MRC), the federal government and various local organizations was instrumental in the success of this major initiative that yielded a total investment of nearly $5 million.
"I am pleased to see that the detailed mapping of wetlands in southern Québec is progressing well and that this new knowledge will help ensure better protection of these sensitive natural areas," says Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Minister Responsible for the Fight against Racism and Minister Responsible for the Laval Region. "The Ducks Unlimited Canada team is doing important work and we are pleased to contribute financially to this project. Thank you to the organization, but also to the many Regional County Municipalities and the federal government that are involved in this project."
The mapping project recently received an "Excellence in Conservation Award" from Ducks Unlimited organizations across North America. It was selected from thousands of conservation projects completed in Canada, the United States and Mexico as being pioneering in scope and delivering exceptional, positive impact on the landscape.
"Our mapping work has changed how people and developers in Québec do business," says Rioux. "Our mapping products are empowering them to make smart, sustainable choices that balance economic growth with environmental protection."
Wetlands are some of the most important ecosystems on Earth. From helping combat climate change to supporting biodiversity, wetlands provide a host of environmental benefits that impact the lives of all Québecers.
For more information about DUC's mapping project in Québec, visit www.canards.ca/cartographie-des-milieux-humides (available in French only).
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 that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment. www.ducks.ca
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Ducks Unlimited Canada