Ducks Unlimited Canada acquires wetlands in Pontiac

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Tashi Farmilo

MRC PONTIAC – Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) has recently acquired six properties totaling more than 80 hectares of wetlands in the MRC Pontiac in order to preserve biodiversity. The properties, located in the municipalities of Isle-aux-Allumettes and Île-du-Grand-Calumet in the Outaouais region, have great ecological value due to their strategic location on the periphery of the Ottawa River, a high-priority area
for the conservation of waterfowl and their habitats. The wetlands found in the area provide food, water, shelter, and nesting sites for migratory birds and threatened species, including the northern water snake, the common turtle, the chorus frog, and several other varieties of birds, insects, and small mammals.

These acquisitions, adjacent to other conservation areas, will consolidate ecosystems on the land to maintain the connectivity essential to sustaining regional biodiversity. In addition, they will be accessible to the public for outdoor activities such as wildlife observation and hiking.

The Outaouais is home to some of the greatest biodiversity in the province. Therefore, the protection of habitats by private owners is crucial. Local landowners Mrs LaSalle and Mr Von Witzleben are among others who have decided to preserve the wetlands located on their properties. Last spring, DUC contacted Mrs LaSalle to inquire about selling the family land on Île-du-Grand-Calumet. The idea of preserving the site’s natural heritage for future generations quickly convinced her.

Located in the municipality of Isle-aux-Allumettes, the Von Witzleben’s beach is a breeding sanctuary for a variety of waterfowl as well as several other species at risk, including the common turtle. Mr. Von Witzleben’s relationship with DUC dates back to the 1980s, when he began installing nest boxes on his property. “Over the years, I’ve seen the bird population grow, witnessed natural evolution, and seen several small families grow. When DUC approached me to buy my property, I couldn’t have asked for a better future for my flocks. It is also the culmination of our efforts to preserve the value of the site not only for hunting but preservation of its integrity,” he explains.

These acquisitions were made possible thanks to the financial contributions of several public and private partners, including Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Echo Foundation, the Fondation de la Faune du Québec, as well as the Government of Quebec and the Nature Conservancy of Canada through the Programme de Partenariat pour les Milieux Naturels (PPMN). The PPMN is an agreement between the Ministère de l’Environ-nement et de la Lutte Contre les Changements Climatiques de la Faune et des Parcs (MELCCFP) and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). The PPMN aims to develop the network of protected areas located on private land by carrying out protection activities, acquiring knowledge, establishing nature reserves, and enhancing natural environments.

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is a registered charity and a leader in wetland conservation, that works in collaboration with government, industry, non-profit organizations, Indigenous Peoples, and landowners to conserve wetlands critical to waterfowl, wildlife, and the environment.

For more information on DUC’s innovative environmental solutions and services, visit www.ducks.ca.