Protection of Wetlands in the Lake Champlain Natural Area of QC 2011-2012
Goals and Objectives
The goal of this project is the management of wetlands and riparian habitat containing waterfowl and species associated with them. The focus of our conservation goals will be given priority wetlands in the natural area of Lake Champlain and will include:
- Implement management measures on protected sites, including the maintenance of the pond Reynolds property upstream of the marshland of the bay Chapman and site development for waterfowl;
- Write and implement three management plans with specific actions for the management of wetlands and waterfowl associated for three targeted areas, the peat swamp of the Pike River, Bog of Venice West and the bog Clarenceville;
- Develop partnerships with local hunters to manage protected areas, including the territory of the bog in Clarenceville. Maintain and renew existing partnerships in other sectors;
- Perform an ecological characterization of three properties in the Bay Chapman with a specific focus on waterfowl and write a book owner for one of them to promote management actions for wildlife and its habitat.
A) Protection and management of the property upstream of the Chapman Bay swamp:
- Renewal of the option to buy
- Signing the sales contract
- Establishing management funds to ensure management of the property in perpetuity
- Collecting information on the use of the property and drafting the management plan
- Establishing hunting leases
B) Canvassing and protection of the priority bogs in the Lake Champlain natural area:
- Targeting the landowners to be contacted within the five priority areas
- Establishing a table (list) of the landowners, ensuring follow-up of communications
- Ecological characterization of 4 targeted properties
- Negotiation with the landowners
- Develop a model of a landowner handbook
- Land evaluations of 2 targeted properties
Specific Habitat Products/Results Supported by WHC’s Contributions
1. Ecological characterization of three properties with the waterfowl habitat to the bay Chapman, including detailed inventories of waterfowl and its habitat;
2. Renewal of agreements with seven hunters with activities on properties protected by NCC in the targeted sectors, including the bog-west of Venice and the peat swamp of the Pike River. Creation of new agreements in the sector of the bog in Clarenceville. These agreements include an inspection report, and management tool for monitoring the properties subject to a lease;
3. Production of a report documenting the basis for the property to the Bay Reynolds Chapman;
4. Creation of a management plan for the pond Reynolds, with proposals for actions to ensure the sustainability of infrastructure and facilities benefiting waterfowl and turtles;
5. Implementation of three management plans (Clarenceville bog, peat swamps of the Pike River and Bog-west of Venice);
6. Realization of ecological monitoring and stewardship of annual reports on the targeted areas;
7. Mark-up properties targeted protected areas;
8. Establishment of a fund dedicated to infrastructure management on the property Reynolds.
Benefits to Waterfowl, Wetlands-Associated Species, and/or Other Wildlife
The results of this project will make it possible to directly achieve the protection of the waterfowl habitat. The waterfowl species which will benefit from it and which are confirmed in the wetlands of the Lake Champlain natural area are the Canada Goose, Snow Goose, Bufflehead, Mallard Duck, Wood Duck, Black Duck, Hooded Merganser, American Wigeon, Great Blue Heron, Blue-winged Teal and the Green-winged Teal.
The Chapman Bay swamp in which the upstream property is targeted by this grant application, is of great interest for the Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle (Apalone spinifera), a species designated as threatened in Quebec and Canada (N2S1). It is the most important gathering site of this species in Quebec which is used as a site for food, exhibition and reproduction. The area is indicated as a priority for conservation actions by the Team of re-establishing the Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle. Other turtle species are also frequently encountered in the Chapman Bay wetlands: Common Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica) (N4S2); Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) (N5S4) and Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) (N5S4).
In general, the Lake Champlain wetlands are located in the Atlantic flyway, an important corridor for waterfowl and other bird species. The Missisquoi Bay area is part of the priority areas for waterfowl and terrestrial birds identified in the bird conservation plan in the region of Grands Lacs and the St. Lawrence Lowlands. The water birds most frequently observed close to Missisquoi Bay are the Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens) and Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola). In addition, the black earth and bogs are used as place for feeding and resting by waterfowl, including the Mallard Duck (Anas platyrhynchos), Wood Duck (Aix sponsa), Black Duck (Anas rubripes), Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus), American Wigeon (Anas americana), Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors) and Green-winged Teal (Anascrecca carolinensis). In addition, the Clarenceville bog, Venise-Ouest bog, Brochets River boggy swamp, Venise-Est boggy swamp and Chapman Bay are environments that are very rich in nutritious matter. They conceal an important plant and wildlife diversity and play a role in filtering and purifying, thus contributing to the improvement of the water quality of Missisquoi Bay. The acquisition of these wetlands will ensure their long-term protection.
Relevance to Habitat Planning, Decision Making and/or Management
This project fits into the conservation plan of the Lake Champlain natural area which is based on five- year concrete actions that are centered on the protection of natural environments. Among the actions which the NCC is committed to complete, by 2013, is the protection of 350 hectares of the identified priority areas, the prioritization of the conservation efforts in the areas and the restoration of Reynolds pond. If Wildlife Habitat Canada wishes to know more about the protection and management activities of this conservation plan, a copy can be provided.
The project of acquiring the property upstream of the Chapman Bay swamp falls within the priorities of the Team of re-establishing the Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle. Some of the properties acquired by the NCC will be transferred to the MRNF while keeping a conservation easement to ensure the protection of it in perpetuity. Because of the project’s anticipated hunting activities, the acquired properties will have to belong to category IV of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the main management objectives of the areas being the preservation of species and biological diversity, as well as the maintenance of ecological functions.
The NCC will continue its work in order to acquire other parcels of natural environments belonging to private landowners in the five priority areas.
This acquisition project of the property upstream of the Chapman Bay swamp is situated in the municipality of Saint-Georges-de-Clarenceville, approximately 80 km southeast of Montreal. A total of 113 acres will be protected, including 20 acres of wetlands.
The entire project of canvassing (landowners), protection and management of properties will proceed on the five bogs of interest in the Lake Champlain natural area: Clarenceville bog; Venise-Ouest bog; Brochets River boggy swamp; Venise-Est boggy swamp and Chapman Bay (of which the main targeted property is a part).
1) The priority area of Chapman Bay covers 129 hectares in the municipality of Saint-Georges-de-Clarenceville;
2) The priority area of the Clarenceville bog covers 1,162 hectares and overlaps the municipalities of Saint-Georges-de-Clarenceville and Noyan;
3) The priority area of the Venice-Ouest bog covers 565 hectares and overlaps the municipalities of Henryville, Venise-en-Québec, and Saint-Georges-de-Clarenceville;
4) The priority area of the Venice-Est boggy swamp covers 204 hectares in the municipalities of Venise-en-Québec and Saint-Sébastien;
5) The priority area of the Brochets River boggy swamp covers 697 hectares in the municipalities of Venise-en-Québec, Saint-Pierre-de-Véronne-à-Pike-River, and Saint-Armand.
For more information on this project, please contact Caroline Bélair, Project Manager, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Montreal, QC