Nature threatens to take Ottawa to court over Quebec’s frog protection-Montreal

Two environmental groups say they are ready to take the federal government to court if they fail to protect a small brown frog population that they say is threatened by a road expansion project in southern Montreal.

Two Quebec-based groups are calling on Ottawa to issue an urgent order to protect the western chorus frog population.

Geneviève Paul, Managing Director of Center qué bécois dudroit del’environnement, said Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is obliged to recommend issuing an order to “intervene in this situation to protect important frog habitats.” .. Paul said the group was ready to bring the matter to federal court if Wilkinson did not recommend such an order by Wednesday.

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In a statement emailed late Friday, a spokesman for Wilkinson’s office did not confirm that the nomination would be made.

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“The Minister’s decision will be communicated by the best available information, including scientific evidence collected and provided by the Environment and Climate Change Canada,” the Secretariat acknowledged the need for a “timely decision.” Wrote Joanna Shibasan Karan.

Western chorus frogs breed in small, often temporary wetlands that are increasingly threatened by agricultural and urban sprawl. Adults grow up to less than 4 centimeters in length. The number of species is safe worldwide, but the population of Canada’s Great Lakes / cents. The Lawrence-Canadian Shield area has been described as endangered since 2010, and current estimates suggest that up to 90 percent of its habitat has been lost in recent decades. ..

In 2016, the federal government issued an urgent order to protect the western chorus frog population threatened by housing development in La Prairie, another suburb of Montreal, not far from Longueuil. The developer filed a proceeding, which was brought to the Canadian Supreme Court and eventually refused to hear the landowner’s complaint.

Paul said the group had no choice but to appeal to Ottawa because the Quebec government failed to meet its obligations to protect frogs. She said due to both lack of will and a regulatory framework that limits intervention on private land.

Alain Branchaud, head of conservation group SNAP Quebec, calls the Coalition Avenir Québec government an “approval system” and rarely refuses to approve projects. Instead, he said, ultimately, inadequate “mitigation measures” would be required.

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The city of Longueuil states on its website that a 300-meter road extension has been requested by citizens for years and has been approved by state authorities. It takes into account biodiversity, including frogs.

The project is stated to include a large concrete tunnel under a new road aimed at allowing frogs to safely pass between two parts of the dichotomized habitat. increase.

Branchaud says wildlife passages are inadequate because they cannot stop the destruction of ponds where frogs need to breed. He said the construction itself would damage water levels and vegetation, and the city could eventually build houses along the side of the new boulevard.

“The essence of the habitat is completely destroyed, so we pass through a tunnel from one side where there are no frogs to the other side of the boulevard where there are no more frogs,” he said.

Mr Branch Aude said the federal government wanted to move forward on its own, but otherwise the group would go to court to protect amphibians.

Despite the earlier attention-grabbing court battle over frogs, he says it is wrong to think that frogs have a widespread impact on the construction of southern Montreal.

He also says that the idea of ​​finding a balance between frogs and developers is ridiculous if frogs have already lost 90% of their habitat and continue to lose about 7% of what remains each year.

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“Nature has already made a big compromise,” he said. “Maybe it’s our turn to make some.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Nature threatens to take Ottawa to court over Quebec’s frog protection-Montreal

Source link Nature threatens to take Ottawa to court over Quebec’s frog protection-Montreal

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