Nature and Environment 4734 Views by Monique Beaudin

Quebec gets Ottawa River Wetlands Reserve

Quebecers will one day have a new wildlife refuge along the Ottawa River thanks to the conservation group Ducks Unlimited and the federal and provincial governments.

The three parties announced Monday that they will spend $4.8 million to acquire 715 hectares of land around Lochaber Bay, between Gatineau and Thurso. The two levels of government are contributing about $4.2 million, Ducks Unlimited is covering the rest.

The land, 75 per cent of which is wetlands and breeding grounds for several different animals, will become part of a new nature refuge. The photo above shows the bay, with the Ottawa River to the left and Highway 148 to the right.

“The area purchased represents an exceptional and unique environment in the Outaouais,” Environment Canada said in a press release Monday. “The bay is a preferred habitat for many species of plants and animals. Among other things, it serves as a staging area for waterfowl and a breeding habitat for a number of animal species. The Canada Goose, the American Black Duck and the Green-winged Teal are among the species seen there.”

Ducks Unlimited said it has been working on acquiring this piece of land — the size of 1,300 football fields — for 20 years. The organization called it one of the 10 most important wetlands in southern Quebec.

With the acquisition of this land, a 28-kilometre stretch of the Ottawa River shoreline is now protected, said Quebec’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife. The new wildlife refuge to be created there will be the largest in the province, the ministry said.

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