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Press Release

Quebec Strategy on protected areas:
QUÉBEC ANNOUNCES A $2,898,232 FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE GRANT FOR PRESERVATION IN A PRIVATE ENVIRONMENT OF THE SUTTON MOUNTAINS

West Brome, August 5, 2004 – Quebec Premier, Mr. Jean Charest, the Minister of the Environment, Mr. Thomas J. Mulcair and Mr. Pierre Paradis, MNA for Brome-Missisquoi, announce a $2,898,232 financial assistance grant to the Conservation de la Nature - Québec organization for the protection of natural areas in the Sutton Mountains. This grant is part of a conservation initiative to ensure the preservation of a significant portion of this massif, which represents one of the last wild regions in southern Quebec and which is a continuity of the Vermont Green Mountains.

Thanks to the financial assistance granted today, Conservation de la Nature - Québec was able to acquire a fantastic area; this represents a significant step forward in building a transboundary corridor for the discovery of nature and outdoor activities and for the establishment of a hiking trail to connect the Eastern Townships and Georgia through the Appalachian Trail. The Eastern Townships thus have the opportunity to implement an ecotourism model project for sustainable development”, said Premier Charest.

For Minister Mulcair, the considerable investment announced today represents an opportunity to stress the importance the Quebec Government places on preserving biodiversity and protected areas. “Our main preservation challenge on private lands is in our capacity to protect vast spaces that are vital to large animals and to preserve landscapes. Acquiring the 40 square kilometres of untouched nature in the Sutton Mountains represents one of the most remarkable public-private preservation efforts in Quebec. I wish to emphasize that this project could not have gone ahead without the cooperation of Domtar”, said Minister Mulcair.

The financial assistance granted by the Ministry of the Environment allowed Conservation de la Nature - Québec to acquire the Domtar property, which spans the Bolton Ouest, Potton and Sutton municipalities. The government financial assistance grant will be used to pay for 50% of the acquisition costs for this 4044-hectare site, thus contributing to preserve large areas of life-sustaining forests for large animals, including the black bear and the bobcat. This project not only increases the acreage of protected areas, but will directly ensure the protection of wild leek colonies, a plant which is officially listed as vulnerable in Quebec, and populations of pickerel frogs, spring salamanders and northern dusky salamanders. These last three species are susceptible of being designated as threatened or vulnerable in Quebec.

I congratulate the instigators and partners in this vast project to ensure the preservation of Sutton Mountains. This is a prime example of cooperation that will not only preserve biodiversity in Quebec, but also the beauty of the landscapes, which has a direct impact on the citizens' quality of life in this area”, said Mr. Pierre Paradis, MNA for Brome-Missisquoi.

Finally, the Regional Director of Conservation de la Nature - Québec said that “This acquisition represents the most meaningful example of private-public partnership ever carried out in the field of conservation in Quebec for the benefit of present and future generations. This historical transaction brings to 15,000 acres (60 square kilometres) the protected area surface in the Sutton Mountains, thus making it the largest private natural area in Quebec.

This preservation initiative in the Sutton Mountains is part of the $10M financial partnership agreement signed on January 24, 2002, between Conservation de la Nature - Québec and the Quebec Government within the scope of the Programme national pour le développement d’un réseau privé d’aires protégées [National Program for the development of a private network of protected areas].

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Sources :

Marie-Claude Champoux
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
Tel.: (418) 643-5321

Chantale Turgeon
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of the Environment
Tel.: (418) 521-3911

Louise Barrette
Communications Directorate
Ministry of the Environment
Tel.: (418) 521-3823, ext. 4163
   
Information :  
Michèle Dumas
Communications Directorate
Ministry of the Environment
Tel.: (418) 521-3823, ext. 4192
 

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