More than 25 years of collaboration between the governements of Canada and Quebec
Since 1988, the governments of Canada and Quebec implement jointly the St. Lawrence Action Plan. The progress that has been made in conserving and enhancing the St. Lawrence River is evidence of the unwavering commitment of the two governments to this exceptional ecosystem!
The St. Lawrence Action Plan is an effective partnership that allows the two governments to harmonize their efforts to protect, enhance and work together on the St. Lawrence, to the benefit of all. Thanks to investments of more than $716 million and the pooled expertise of specialists from many government partners, the St. Lawrence Action Plan results in significant progress toward the sustainable development of the St. Lawrence. Improvements have been made to water quality in the river, as reflected in particular by the reduction of contaminants such as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). In addition, the Plan supports the protection and rehabilitation of many species and their habitats. For example, we are seeing significant progress of the Striped Bass, a species reintroduced in the St. Lawrence following its disappearance in the 1960s. The public is reclaiming the St. Lawrence in a number of locations for multiple uses. The Sustainable Navigation Strategy, which aims at harmonizing the protection of the St. Lawrence with the needs of users and the development of the marine industry, helps reduce the impacts of shipping on the St. Lawrence. Lastly, through its many projects, the St. Lawrence Action Plan improves our knowledge and understanding of the St. Lawrence to better intervene.
Some noteworthy accomplishments:
- Toxic effluents into the St. Lawrence from the 50 most-polluting plants have been reduced by more than 95%.
- The Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park was created in Quebec in 1998.
- More than 100,000 hectares of natural habitat have been protected.
- The Overview of the State of the St. Lawrence, an overall look at the health of the St. Lawrence, is released every five years.
From understanding to action
Through various initiatives, including the implementation of the State of the St. Lawrence Monitoring Program, the St. Lawrence Action Plan makes it possible to improve our knowledge about the St. Lawrence, raise public awareness and understanding, and facilitate the actions needed to enhance this precious ecosystem. The State of the St. Lawrence Monitoring Program plays a key role in this regard by providing information on a series of indicators on water quality, sediment and biological resources. The resulting data and the Overview of the State of the St. Lawrence 2014 are available for anyone to consult.
Since 2011, the St. Lawrence Action Plan has also included the Numerical Environmental Prediction Program for the St. Lawrence. By pooling the participants’ expertise and data and combining the participants’ numerical prediction models, this program makes it possible to improve predictions and gain a better understanding of the St. Lawrence ecosystem and flow regime. As a result of these improved predictions, communities are able, for instance, to more accurately predict the effects of a flood and properly prepare for them, or to measure the impact of a chemical spill on their drinking water supply.
Fostering community participation
The Community Interaction Program under the St. Lawrence Action Plan supports the involvement of communities along the river by means of hundreds of projects focusing on ecosystem enhancement, biodiversity conservation, sustainable use and improved water quality. Priority action area committees, known as ZIP committees, have also been put in place all along the river to foster cooperation among regional players and resolve local issues affecting the St. Lawrence.
Implementation of the integrated management of the St. Lawrence (IMSL)
The integrated management of the St. Lawrence (IMSL) is one of the objectives of the Act to affirm the collective nature of water resources and provide for increased water resource protection, passed by the Government of Quebec in 2009, and is also being implemented under the St. Lawrence Action Plan. The objective of this approach is to ensure that the interests and needs of the various players with a stake in the St. Lawrence are fairly represented and to balance the players’ activities and interventions.
Integrated management is being achieved through
- the gradual establishment of 12 regional round tables;
- the annual Forum on the St. Lawrence. The participants share information, ideas and avenues for collaboration on various themes linked to the St.Lawrence.
A forward-looking action plan
In 2011, the governments of Canada and Quebec began the most recent phase of the St. Lawrence Action Plan. This new agreement aims to continue the work already under way while adapting to emerging issues facing the St. Lawrence, including the control of invasive alien species, the assessment of climate change impacts, and the presence of pharmaceuticals in the St. Lawrence. The governments of Canada and Quebec intend to jointly address these challenges with the same commitment and determination that they have shown for more than 25 years.
Our website contains a vast amount of information on the St. Lawrence and shows the latest progress on the St. Lawrence Action Plan.