Rigaud Mountain receives federal funding for forest protection


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Liberal MP Peter Schiefke (third from right) announced federal financial support for the continuing efforts to preserve Rigaud Mountain forests to contributing stakeholders in the project: (left to right) NAQ representative Geneviève Gervais, NAQ Director General Pascal Bigras, Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal, Peter Schiefke, Rigaud Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr., and MRC-VS Assistant Director General Raymond Malo.

The ongoing project to preserve and protect Rigaud Mountain forest received a financial boost of $325,000 from the federal government. Vaudreuil-Soulanges Member of Parliament Peter Schiefke made the announcement at a press conference held Tuesday, August 27.

“This is one of my priorities, environmental protection,” said Schiefke adding the federal funding would protect and conserve 63 hectares of land on Rigaud Mountain. “That’s equal to approximately 100 football fields,” he said describing the size of the newly protected territory.

The money was granted to Nature-Action Québec (NAQ) a non-profit organization that works with people and organizations across the province to preserve and conserve natural habitats.

“This investment will ensure the mountain’s ecosystem is not only protected but also interconnected by forest corridors and natural paths,” he said. “It achieves far more than the protection of Rigaud Mountain’s pristine environment. It brings us closer as a community to our collective responsibility of leaving a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet for our children, grandchildren and generations to come.”

Protected areas open to public

“This project was the result of the efforts of many people and organizations,” said NAQ Director General Pascal Bigras as he expressed his thanks for the funding. He said there’s an urgent need to protect the remaining natural habitats, not only on Rigaud Mountain but also across Quebec, Canada and worldwide. Bigras added that millions of species of plants and animals are under duress worldwide and face extinction in the coming years.

“When we combine our local conservation efforts in each region, the situation can be reversed,” said Bigras. “In that sense, we salute the MRC Vaudreuil-Soulanges, the Town of Rigaud, the Canadian government and their partners for their efforts to protect the natural areas of the mountain.

“There is always a strategy to NAQ’s purchase of land,” he said. In this case, the land is adjacent to areas under protection, contains species of flora and fauna unique to the area, and is part of a larger ecosystem of the region. These are areas that will also be open to the public.

“Why?” asked Bigras, “Because when we get to know and love something, we want to protect it.”

Project based on cooperation

“It’s fantastic that we have several government agencies and non-profit organizations lined up to contribute and go in the same direction,” said Rigaud Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. “Finally, all the people involved have realized we have to do this,” he added referring to the ongoing project to protect and preserve the forested and natural areas of Rigaud Mountain. The mayor said he was very happy something was actually being done. “It’s like anything. Either we fight over the same thing with lawyers or we do it properly. We purchase the land and then we decide how to preserve it,” he said. Most of the property on the mountain is privately owned as were the 63 hectares purchased with government funding.

The press conference was held on the shoreline of a small lake in the vicinity of chemin Émile-Nelligan and rue Ganivet on Rigaud Mountain. On the opposite shore of the lake, known locally as Beaver Lake, was a Great Blue heron’s nest lodged in the branches of a dead tree. Geneviève Gervais, a member of NAQ, noted the area is home to a species of small brown bat and the Eastern Wood Peewee that could be heard singing high above in the forest canopy. Both species are at risk.

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