In addition to my role in the Green Party of Quebec I am also president of the Association for the protection of Beaven and Round lakes in the Laurentians.
The biodiversity of our two lakes is under threat from both animal agriculture and an invasive species of a plant known as Eurasian milfoil. This species can rapidly overtake indigenous vegetation and can form thick mats on the surface that block out light. The stands can be so thick that fish and other wildlife cannot swim through. Even paddling a kayak through an infestation is a challenge.
This week I spent a couple of days on the water surveying the colonies of eurasian milfoil in Beaven and Round lakes along with Samuelle Durocher of the Conseil regional de l’environment (CRE) Laurentides. In the coming months Ms Durocher will provide our association with up to date maps of the infestations in our lakes. We will use this data to consider what can be done to counter this agressive attack on our lakes biodiversity by this plant which is beginning to dominate the ecosystem.
Any intervention to remove plants from the lakes will cost tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. There is very limited government funding for the protection of lakes in Quebec. Less than 2% of the provincial budget is put towards the ministry of the environment. Our lakes are suffering from both pollution from animal agriculture and a decline in biodiversity. Under these circumstances individuals and volunteer groups like ours are forced to choose between taking matters into our own hands or watching the health of our lakes decline before our very eyes.
Although it will take some time for the maps to be produced, I saw first hand the extent of the damage this week. Entire bays are infested to the point where eurasian milfoil are the only plants present. Fish habitat has been reduced, biodiversity has been reduced and every year the problem gets worse and worse as this invasive plant expands 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. Kind words about the environment are great, but we need concrete actions now and the financial means to intervene when needed rather than collectively watching our ecosystems decline.
Alex Tyrrell B.Sc. Env
President Association pour la protection des lacs Beaven et Rond – ALBeRo
Leader Green Party of Quebec