Despite obstacles, Southern Quebec’s network of protected areas gains ground

Montreal, February 17, 2022 – CPAWS Quebec welcomes the addition of ten local protected natural environments (link in French). With this announcement today, the Quebec Government is moving in the right direction, with a view to fill the conservation gaps in Southern Quebec.

Citizen and environmental mobilizations bear fruit
The creation of four new protected areas and the finalization of six expansion projects for existing lands are largely due to the mobilization of numerous citizen groups, local elected officials, and environmental organizations for the protection of local natural environments. Areas such as Sept-Chutes in Lanaudière and Mont Sainte-Marie, shared by the Outaouais and Lanaudière regions, will have direct impacts in the preservation of biological diversity, in addition to providing better access to natural environments for Quebec residents.

“We are excited to see the Government’s consideration for the commitment and determination of its citizens and communities towards the protection of natural environments. However, with the announcement covering just over 300 km2 of the agreed 22,000 km2 of protected areas, there is much more work to be done to remove barriers and increase the pace of developments, if the Government wishes to make the most of this strong popular support before the end of its term”, says Alain Branchaud, General Manager of CPAWS Québec.

Dozens of areas must be protected before the next elections
Today’s announcement includes areas that are part of a long list of projects, aimed at reaching the 2020’s 17% protected areas target, that had been set aside by the Government. Several dozen other territories are still on the waiting list.

CPAWS Quebec is asking the Government to bring into realization every one of those projects before the end of its term. For example, in the short term, the Government could easily carry through some projects that have received strong support from local communities, such as Rivières-Noire-et-Coulonge (820 km2) and Kaaikop (40 km2). CPAWS will continue to push for the achievement of all those Southern Quebec projects that had been put on the back burner.

Moreover, it should be noted that the surface areas of the ten projects announced today are on average 33% less than the initial projects supported by the Department of the Environment. “The expansion of our network of protected areas is a win-win investment for Quebec society and should not be the object of wars of attrition in government side rooms. Recall that the tabled protected area proposals have already been the subject of negotiations and compromises in civil society. We consider it advisable to work from the bases of those regional agreements, and to improve them”, concluded Pier-Olivier Boudreault, Director of Conservation, CPAWS Québec.


For more information:

Ingrid Cornec
Communications Coordinator, CPAWS Québec
Cell: 514-378-3880
[email protected]