Montreal, November 22, 2021—Following a recommendation from the federal Minister of Environment, the federal government has finally issued an emergency order under the Species at Risk Act to protect the western chorus frog in Longueuil (QC), as the QCentre québécois du droit de l’environnement (Quebec Environmental Law Centre) and SNAP Québec have requested for several months.

The two organizations welcome the action, but consider its scope too limited, as the protection order would mainly protect already compromised habitat and does not include other areas that are vital for the endangered frog.

“The scope of this order leaves much to be desired,” says Alain Branchaud, biologist and executive director at SNAP Québec. “The emergency order focuses on areas that have already been destroyed or disturbed, and does not include the main breeding ponds in the area. We hope that the federal intervention will provide the leadership to truly protect the frog’s critical habitat in Longueuil.”

The CQDE and SNAP Québec are urging the three government levels to work together, to immediately provide the needed corrective action to avoid excessive land drainage, and to not compromise the reproduction of the species in the spring of 2022.

“This case is a perfect example of a broader problem that has gone on for too long,” says Sophie-Anne Legendre, interim executive director of the CQDE. “We badly need to update the provincial tools to protect wildlife at risk and its habitat. Specifically, it is well past time that we update the Regulation respecting wildlife habitat to expand habitat protection beyond public land to include private land as well.”

For the record, the critical habitat of this endangered species was threatened by work extending Boulevard Béliveau. The construction was first suspended by the Superior Court of Quebec, and again by the agreement of the City of Longueuil. Time is running out—the western chorus frog has already lost more than 90% of its original habitat in Quebec.

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