Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, is unveiling an emergency order for the protection of a species at risk—the Western Chorus Frog (Great Lakes / St. Lawrence – Canadian Shield population).
The order, made under the Species at Risk Act, will apply in the municipalities of La Prairie, Candiac and Saint-Philippe, in Quebec, and will come into effect on July 17, 2016. The primary purpose of the measure is to prevent the loss or degradation of the habitat the Western Chorus Frog needs to grow and reproduce.
This decision will not impede the development of the public and community infrastructure planned in La Prairie, such as the school or the arena. In addition, of the 1,200 housing units initially planned as part of the Symbiocité project, only 171 will not be built.
“Our government has committed to demonstrating transparency and accountability. We have based our decision on the best available scientific knowledge. We consulted a wide variety of actors at the political and administrative level, notably, the affected municipalities, the Quebec Government, developers and actors in the environmental field. We have also ensured that the socio-economic impacts of the order are kept to a minimum. We firmly believe that economic development and the protection of biodiversity can, and must, go hand in hand.”
“By working together, we can protect and recover species at risk while enhancing our precious biodiversity, in accordance with our commitments under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. That is why our government and the government of Quebec have established a working group, with representatives from Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs as well as the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, in order to identify short and medium term solutions to enhance collaboration in protection of species at risk. Both governments are committed to working more intensively with the municipalities involved, the key stakeholders and the public to protect and recover the Western Chorus Frog population. A coordinated approach will offer greater certainty to developers and municipalities for the authorization of projects within a context of sustainable development. It will reduce the likelihood that orders under the Species at Risk Act will be made in the future by ensuring that our governments are aligned in sharing information and expertise early in the process.”
“Our government will continue to work with all levels of government across Canada to ensure seamless coordination of conservation measures and consulting local communities and Indigenous peoples. We are committed to preserving the rich ecosystems and biodiversity that make our country so beautiful and that are the pride of all Canadians.”
– The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Western Chorus Frog populations in Montérégie have declined sharply in the last few decades. The most significant loss of habitat in this region occurred in La Prairie, where nearly 60% of the suitable habitat was destroyed between 1992 and 2013. In addition, habitat in suburban areas of southwestern Quebec is vanishing so quickly that populations are in danger of extirpation by 2030. When the Minister of Environment and Climate Change determined the species was facing an imminent threat to its recovery, she was required by the Species at Risk Act to recommend an emergency protection order to the Governor in Council.
Photo: Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata) © Mark Nenadov