Ducks Unlimited Canada has recently acquired six properties, totaling more than 80 hectares of wetlands in the regional county municipality of Pontiac.

Located in the municipalities of Isle-aux-Allumettes and Île-du-Grand-Calumet in the Outaouais region, the various properties have great ecological value, particularly because of their strategic location on the periphery of the Ottawa River, a high-priority area for the conservation of waterfowl and their habitats.

The wetlands found here provide food, water, shelter and nesting sites for migratory birds as well as dozens of threatened species, including the northern water snake, the common turtle, the chorus frog, and several other varieties of birds, insects, and small mammals. These acquisitions, which are adjacent to other conserved areas, will consolidate ecosystems on the land to maintain the connectivity essential to sustaining regional biodiversity. They will also be made accessible to the public for outdoor activities such as wildlife observation and hiking.

Personal connections to conservation

The Outaouais is home to some of the greatest biodiversity in the province. Therefore, the protection of habitats by private owners is crucial. There are many ways to conserve habitat on private land, but they all rely on the willingness of landowners to commit to sustainable action. For many, a personal connection to wildlife and the environment inspires their desire to give back.

Mrs. La Salle and Mr. Von Witzleben are among the many landowners who have decided to take action to preserve the wetlands located on their properties.

Last spring, Mrs. La Salle was contacted by DUC to inquire about selling the family land on Île-du-Grand-Calumet. The idea of preserving the site’s natural heritage for future generations quickly convinced her.

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“For me, ensuring the sustainability and accessibility of this gem of the Pontiac region, now frequented by visitors from all over the world, is a great way to commemorate my beloved father who originally acquired the land to preserve rafting activities in the region,” she says.

Located in the municipality of Isle-aux-Allumettes, the Von Witzleben’s beach is a breeding sanctuary for a variety of waterfowl as well as several other species at risk, including the common turtle. Von Witzleben’s relationship with DUC dates back to the 1980s, when he began installing nest boxes on his property.

“Over the years, I’ve seen the bird population grow, witnessed natural evolution, seen several small families grow. When DUC approached me to buy my property, I couldn’t have asked for a better future for my flocks. It is also the consecration of the efforts of my family to preserve the value of the site not only for hunting, but especially to preserve its integrity,” he explains.

Strong financial partners

These acquisitions were made possible thanks to the financial contributions of several public and private partners, including Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Echo Foundation, the Fondation de la faune du Québec, as well as the Government of Quebec and the Nature Conservancy of Canada through the programme de partenariat pour les milieux naturels (PPMN).

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