Posted yesterday at 5:00 AM.
“If you build it, they will come. This is a famous quote from the movie Dream field it is quite possible to apply to wetlands, which are gaining popularity among the people of Quebec. This is especially true of Ruisso de Feu, north of the city, where the former farmland in the flood zone has become one of the most popular wetlands in Greater Montreal.
Along Highway 40 in Terrebonne, ornithologists meet regularly to observe different species of birds. If they are lucky, they will be able to photograph a peregrine falcon or sparrow, two species listed by the Endangered Species Committee of Canada (COSEWIC).
“It didn’t happen before, it was fields,” said biologist Andre Misho, head of habitat protection at Ducks Unlimited, whose mission is to preserve and restore wetlands. Today, part of the sector has become a conservation park, opened in July 2021 by the city of Terrebonne.
Ducks Unlimited is now considered “one of the most impressive restoration projects in Quebec.” However, a project such as the Ruisso de Feu project benefited from the circumstances conducive to its implementation, explains Andre Misho.
“Back in the 1980s, this area was identified as an object of interest for a wetland restoration project due to its presence near the Riviera de Prairie,” explains the biologist. In 2004, the landowner, the Romano family, decided to transfer 41 hectares to Ducks Unlimited. Andre Misho and his team are working to create about forty hectares of wetlands, consisting of 1.6 km of dam, swamp, swamp and fish pass.
The $ 1.2 million project was completed in 2012. The public has access to it, but in the early years the site was known mainly to insiders. In July 2021, the city of Terrebonne opens the wetland sector of the Ruiso de Fe Reserve Park. Investments of 3.6 million, in particular, allowed the installation of a wooden pedestrian bridge on stilts and a tower for bird watching.
Andre Misho considers this project a “home run”.
For me, this is the most significant wildlife development project I have implemented in an urban environment. I am even more proud that all this is now available to the public.
Andre Misho, Head of Environmental Protection at Ducks Unlimited
The biologist also says he noticed a change in mentality during his 28-year career as a biologist at Ducks Unlimited. According to him, the public is increasingly aware of the importance of the natural environment, including wetlands. Changes that have accelerated with the pandemic. “Because of COVID-19 and restrictions, people have really taken over nature,” he says.
The Ruisseau de Feu is one of the most popular birdwatching sites in the northern crown of Montreal, confirms Jean-Sebastian Genett, CEO of the Québec Oiseaux Regroupement. “It’s a very beautiful place, especially since there aren’t many wetlands in the Montreal area. About 200 species of birds have been found at the site, he added.
According to a recent study by Professor Jerome Dupras of the Department of Environmental Economics at the University of Quebec in Utah, 83% of Quebecers are concerned about the loss of wetlands, and 84% believe the Quebec government should do more to protect them. In addition, Quebec residents say they are willing to make an average of $ 42.55 a year to fund wetland restoration and creation initiatives, the study concludes.
Among the activities that Quebecers say they prefer in the wetland sectors, hiking (81%) ranks first, followed by treatment (53%) and bird watching (37%). The importance of wetlands for the people of Quebec.
Ducks Unlimited launches a fundraising campaign
The study of wetlands by Professor Jerome Dupre aroused the interest of Sebastian Rio, director of provincial operations at Ducks Unlimited. The organization decided to make a breakthrough and launch an advertising campaign with the public. “In a sense, we are asking Quebec residents to talk after the publication of this study, which concluded that the public is willing to pay $ 280 million for wetland restoration or restoration projects. »
- Part of the wetlands that have already been destroyed in the Montreal region. In the province, this share is estimated at 40 to 80%.
SOURCE: Report Analysis of the situation of wetlands in Quebec
- $ 49.85
- The average amount that the population of the Montreal region is willing to spend on the protection or restoration of wetlands.
SOURCE: Training The importance of wetlands for the people of Quebec