With $4.66M in Four Years
TROIS-RIVIÈRES, QC, July 19, 2018 – The Quebec government is continuing its efforts to preserve Lac Saint-Pierre and announced the second component of a plan that aims to define and promote sustainable agriculture in a manner that is compatible with the Lac Saint-Pierre ecosystem.
To that end, the government of Quebec granted $4.66M of funding to McGill University, Université Laval and the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) over a four-year period. This funding will help set up a multidisciplinary pole of expertise for the sustainable management of the Lac Saint-Pierre shoreline.
That is what was announced at a press conference today by the Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, Ms. Isabelle Melançon, and the Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for the Regions and MNA for Maskinongé, Mr. Marc H. Plante, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and Minister responsible for the Centre-du-Québec region, Mr. Laurent Lessard.
The mission of the new pole of expertise will be to propose research and experimental projects that will promote sustainable agriculture that is adapted to, and respectful of, Lac Saint-Pierre’s ecosystem. The pole’s creation also aims to establish collaborations between sector stakeholders for the following objectives:
- Develop agricultural practices and cultures that are adapted to the particular context of Lac Saint-Pierre’s large cultivated shoreline, which will positively impact the quality of its ecosystem;
- Evaluate the performance as well as the social, economic, environmental and faunal impacts of agricultural activities and restoration projects;
- Using research results, offer the Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, Ms. Isabelle Melançon, and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mr. Laurent Lessard, a management style that fosters sustainable agriculture along the Lac Saint-Pierre shoreline.
The pole of expertise will need to associate with other experts by establishing partnerships, especially with the agricultural and research sectors, throughout the different phases of its development.
This announcement completes both sections of the plan that was unveiled on March 16, 2018, to protect Lac Saint-Pierre, for which $14M over five years was earmarked. In addition to the sum of $2.66M announced for the pole of expertise, another $2M has been added from the budget measure for the responsible use of pesticides in agriculture, administered by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Recall that the first section of that plan aimed to implement a program to protect Lac Saint-Pierre, a financial assistance program for sector organizations who wanted to create conservation or restoration initiatives for either the biodiversity or the water quality in Lac Saint-Pierre.
Lac Saint-Pierre’s current health is worrying and underscores the need for us to act quickly. That is why today our government has announced an additional concrete measure, implementing the elements required for it to recover. We need all partners to be involved so that we can work together and create a vision and measures to reduce the environmental pressures on the ecosystem. The financial assistance announced today will provide tangible results for the restoration of this national and international jewel for the benefit of future generations.
– Isabelle Melançon, Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change
In keeping with the needs expressed by local stakeholders, the multidisciplinary pole of expertise will use its skills to serve sustainable agriculture that is adapted to, and respectful of, Lac Saint-Pierre’s ecosystem. Regional partners, especially those from the agricultural sector, will be involved so that their vision and knowledge of the territory can be integrated. This project is directly related to the Politique bioalimentaire 2018-2025 – Alimenter notre monde, especially as it concerns attractive and responsible businesses and prosperous, dynamic territories.
– Laurent Lessard, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Lac Saint-Pierre is as exceptional as it is fragile. It is of great concern to those of us who benefit in many ways from its unique ecosystem. Today, we have many reasons to delight in the creation of a pole that will meet the needs of many regional stakeholders who want to encourage its recovery. I invite the driving forces in the region to mobilize around the pillars of this pole of expertise so that we can meet the challenges we face in sustaining this biosphere reserve.
– Marc H. Plante, Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for the Regions and MNA for Maskinongé
- The pole will be under the responsibility of a steering committee coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in collaboration with the Ministry of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, The Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks and the three universities involved.
- The pole will bring together the regional and national resources in agricultural and environmental research. The active participation of farmers will also be at the heart of the approach to determine sustainable solutions that are adapted to Lac Saint-Pierre’s ecosystem.
- McGill University and Université Laval will be important pillars of the multidisciplinary pole of expertise for the Lac Saint-Pierre shoreline’s management, given their well-known proficiency in agricultural science. That will also be the case for UQTR, who will contribute its distinguished environmental skills and thorough knowledge of the Lac Saint-Pierre ecosystem.
- At 32 kilometres long and 14 kilometres wide, Lac Saint-Pierre is the last fresh water basin on the Saint-Lawrence River before it reaches the ocean. It extends from Sorel-Tracy to Trois-Rivières. It was recognized as wet land of international importance in 1998 by the Ramsar Convention. In 2000, UNESCO declared it a biosphere reserve.
- Lac Saint-Pierre’s health situation is worrying. This situation is connected to a deterioration of habitats along the lake’s shoreline and of the quality of water in its tributaries, the causes of which include evolving agricultural practices. Improvements to its health therefore rely on a reduction on agricultural pressures. Note that farming is practised on approximately 5,000 hectares of Lac Saint-Pierre’s shore line.
- The Ministry of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks have developed a common vision upon which rests on the implementation of the two-fold intervention strategy.