MINISTER MULCAIR MOVES UP THE ACTION PLAN TO REDUCE PHOSPHORUS IN MISSISQUOI BAY FROM 2016 TO 2009
Québec, September 30, 2003 – Thomas J. Mulcair, Minister of the Environment, today announced that Québec, together with Vermont, will bring forward from 2016 to 2009 the target date for carrying out the measures provided for in the Québec Action Plan for the reduction of phosphorus inputs responsible for the proliferation of cyanobacteria in Missisquoi Bay.
" In an effort to respond as quickly as possible to the concerns of citizens of the region, this move underscores our resolve to intensify our initiatives in the fields of agriculture and residential and municipal wastewater treatment as well as the implementation of improved watercourse protection practices.
I would also like to take this opportunity to commend Vermont Governor James Douglas for his parallel initiative. I am convinced that the coordinated action of our governments will provide the synergy needed to resolve the problem of cyanobacteria, " stated Minister Mulcair.
Since phosphorus and nitrogen inputs are the main cause of the proliferation of cyanobacteria affecting the environment, the government has decided to accelerate the timetable for requiring compliance with farming regulations that are essential for the protection of water. " The Ministry will reduce from 36 to 12 months the planned timetable to carry out “farm by farm” visits involving some 500 farming operations in the Missisquoi Bay area. "
The Ministry will also ensure, on a priority basis, that the agro-environmental fertilization plans are carried out by farming operations pursuant to the regulations applicable in the Pike River Basin. It is here that one finds a large portion of the farming activities having significant impacts on the quality of water in Missisquoi Bay.
In addition, Minister Mulcair announced the granting of $256,484 in financial support to Conservation de la nature – Québec, a conservation organization, for the acquisition of five sites promoting the development of a Québec network of protected areas on private lands.
" Missisquoi Bay is home to peatlands and natural habitats that are essential to life in this ecosystem. It is necessary to take tangible steps to preserve these environments that play the role of a purifier- filter and that serve as buffer zones between farming activities and the aquatic environment, " underscored Minister Mulcair.
The financial contribution of the Ministry will allow this conservation organization to ensure the protection of some 186 hectares of wetlands, including two ponds, in the Missisquoi Bay area. The government assistance will be used to offset 50% of the costs associated with the acquisition of the sites, thereby helping to safeguard biodiversity and to increase protected areas in Québec.
For the Minister, these measures are part of a comprehensive plan that will be carried out together with the Corporation Bassin Versant Baie Missisquoi, an organization that brings together stakeholders of the municipal, farming, environment, economic and social sectors in the watershed region.
" The quality of water and aquatic environments is a key concern for me. I would like to thank all of those who are playing an active role in taking up the major challenge of preserving Missisquoi Bay for the benefit of current and future generations, " concluded Minister Mulcair.
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