In addition to my role in the Green Party of Quebec, I am also President of the Association for the Protection of Beaven and Rond Lakes in the Laurentians.
The biodiversity of our two lakes and many other lakes across Quebec is threatened by both animal agriculture and an invasive plant known as Eurasian water milfoil. This species can quickly overtake native vegetation and form thick mats on the surface that block light. The colonies can be so thick that fish and other animals cannot swim through them. Even paddling a kayak through an infestation is a challenge.
This week I spent a few days on the water monitoring Eurasian watermilfoil colonies in Beaven and Rond Lakes with Samuelle Durocher of the Conseil régional de l’environnement (CRE) Laurentides. Over the next few months, Ms. Durocher will provide our association with updated maps of infestations in our lakes. We will use this data to consider what can be done to counter this aggressive attack on the biodiversity of our lakes by this plant that is beginning to dominate the ecosystem.
Any intervention to remove the plants from the lakes will cost tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. Government funding for lake protection in Quebec is very limited. Less than 2% of the provincial budget is dedicated to the Ministry of the Environment. Our lakes are suffering from both pollution from animal agriculture and declining biodiversity. Under these circumstances, individuals and volunteer groups like ours must choose between taking matters into our own hands or watching the health of our lakes decline before our eyes.
While it will take some time for the maps to be produced, I have seen first hand the extent of the damage this week.Entire bays are infested to the point that Eurasian watermilfoil is the only plant present. Fish habitat has been reduced, biodiversity has been reduced and each year the problem gets worse as this invasive plant spreads and conquers new sections of the lakes.
The Green Party of Quebec is demanding a significant increase in funding for the Ministry of the Environment to take care of our lakes and our environment. Words and speeches about the environment are fine, but we need concrete actions and the financial means to intervene when necessary rather than collectively watching the decline of our ecosystems.
Leader of the Green Party of Quebec
President – Association for the Protection of Beaven and Rond Lakes