Ducks Unlimited Canada recognizes Quebec government's committment

QUEBEC CITY, Sept. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Within the framework of the Eastern Premiers and Atlantic Governors meeting held in Saint John NB, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) recognized the commitments made by the Premiers of eastern Canada and their governments to waterfowl and wetlands conservation. For the occasion, Ducks Unlimited Canada hosted a reception to recognize in particular the leadership demonstrated in eastern Canada by the government of Quebec and Premier Jean Charest through financial programs and public policies.

Last spring, the Charest government acting through the ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF) committed to matching $6.75 million over 5 years with Ducks Unlimited Canada to protect and restore wetlands in southern Quebec, enhancing the quality of life for people and wildlife through the provision of habitat and critical ecological services. "In addition to providing habitat for waterfowl, fish and hundreds of other species, wetlands also enhance water quality, minimize flooding, and sequester carbon. This agreement and the results that will follow are compelling evidence of the benefits that can be attained by collaboration between partners sharing a common vision,'' says Bernard Filion, DUC's Manager of Provincial Operation in Quebec. Filion also used the opportunity to mention the commitment displayed by the ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs (MDDEP). Through a funding program called Partenaires pour la Nature, the MDDEP has 25 million dollars available to environmental agencies who can match the funds to acquire land for the purpose of conservation.

The evening also afforded an opportunity to discuss the Plan Nord which will embody the Quebec government's intention to protect from industrial development an area of 600,000 square kilometers which represents over 50% of northern Quebec. The remainder of the territory will be open to sustainable development activities."This is an enormous commitment on the part of the Quebec government which will provide benefits way beyond northern Quebec. The impact will be global," says Bernard Filion.

"Achieving the Premier's vision is a tall challenge", continues Filion. "Balancing the protection of the integrity of northern ecosystems with the need for socio-economic development has never been done at such a large scale before. The Premier's challenge cannot be met without leadership and collaboration among northern communities, conservation organizations, private sector interests and a cohesive public sector. Environmental and economic government departments must speak with the same voice. We are encouraged by the progress we have witnessed over the past few years and we are optimistic about the future" concludes Filion.

Ducks Unlimited Canada, a national, private, non-profit organization, conserves, restores and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America's waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people. DUC has been active in Quebec for more than 30 years and numbers over 150,000 members across Canada, of whom 7,400 are actively involved in community fundraising activities.

The conservation society collaborates extensively with the implementation of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

SOURCE Ducks Unlimited Canada

For further information: For further information: Pierre Dulude, Biologist, Ducks Unlimited Canada, (418) 623-1650

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