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Beale,Mike [NCR

]
From:
Sent:
"To:
Cc:
Milburn-Hopwood,Sue [NCR]
February 9, 2014 3:07 PM
Beale,Mike [NCR]; Shafea,Anisa [NCRJ; Klenavic,Nancy [NCR]; Gaydamack,Natasha [NCRJ
Mclean,Robert [NCR]; Painter,Alan [NCR]; Taylor,Mary [NCR]; Houle,Patricia [Quebec];
Bliss,Doug [Sackville]
Subject: Material for Western Chorus Frog Briefing Monday
Attach ments: MIN-176618 - Memo to Min (with NSG Comments).doc; MIN-175318 - Memo to MIN Feb7
_clean.doc
Mike - Here is the draft MTM which we will use to walk thro·u the issue of imminent threat to Western Chorus Frog
Monday morning.
1 would also like ta discuss the MTM on the developments in the province of Quebec.
A draft of the MTM re development being approved is
attached.
1 have invited Natasha to the discussion Monday morning as well.
Please note bath notes are works in progress.
Sue Milburn-Hopwood
Director General
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environmental Stewardship Branch
Environment Canada
351 St.Joseph Blvd., 14th floor
Gatineau QC K1A OH3
Telephone 819-994-1360
Facsimile 819-953-3575
E-mail sue.milburn-hopwood@ec.gc.ca
Government of Canada
Website www.ec.gc.ca
Sue Milburn-Hopwood
Directrice générale
Service canadien de la faune
Direction générale de l'intendance environnementale
Environnement Canada
351, boui. St-Joseph, 14ième étage
Gatineau (Québec) K1A OH3
Téléphone 819-994-1360
Télécopieur 819-953-3575
Courriel sue.milburn-hopwood@ec.gc.ca
Gouvernement du Canada
Site Web www.ec.gc.ca
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MIN-176618
MEMORANDUM TO MINISTER
UPCOMING AUTHORIZATION BY THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC TO ALLOW
WORK THAT COULD AFFECT THE WESTERN CHORUS FROG, GREAT
LAKES/ST. LA WREN CE - CANADIAN SHIELD POPULATION
(For Information)
PURPOSE
To inform you of the intention of the Province ofQuebec in early February to authorize the
municipality of La Prairie to allow development to proceed in an area being proposed as
critical habitat for the Western Chorus Frog under the Species at Risk Act (SARA).
SUMMARY
• As you were informed in December 2013 (MIN-167227) three requests to
recommend an emergency order under section 80 of SARA on non-federal land for
the Western Chorus Frog have been received. ,
• The department is currently conducting an assessment of the threats and protection
measures for the species in Canada and you will be advised on whether there are
imminent threats to the survival or recovery of the species once the analysis is
completed.
• A proposed recovery strategy containing information about critical habitat is
scheduled to be posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry in March 2014 (MIN-
173428). The critical habitat is partially identified in the proposed recovery strategy.
It has been identified both in Quebec and in Ontario in federal protected areas, on
other federal lands, and on non-federal lands. This partial identification includes
privately owned land in La Prairie where a proposed real estate development project
is planned.
• It is expected that the Province of Quebec will authorize the real estate development
project to proceed in February, and it is expected that the project could proceed
immediately following the authorization. The project will likely destroy attributes of
the habitat that resulted in its identification as proposed critical habitat.
• The Province is aware that critical habitat will be proposed in the area of
development.
• There is not enough time to. put in place an emergency order before the development
proceeds.
• Given the public corr:iments already received on this matter, we expect media
attention when the development proceeds and responsive media lines have been
prepared.
CURRENTSTATUS
The requests for an emergency order under section 80 of SARA statethata residential real estate
development will destroy a significant portion of the species' habitat in La Prairie, Quebec.
In order for you to determine whether to recommend an Emergency Order, the department is
completing the assessment of the threats and the protection measures for the Western Chorus
Frog in Canada and will advise you on whether there are imminent threats to the survival or
recovery of the species.
The province ofQuebec intends to deliver authorizations to the municipality of La Prairie in
February 2014 to build utility infrastructures and to conduct work in wetlands for a residential
real estate development project that involves the construction of about 1,200 units on 40
hectares. The wetlands at the Bois de la Commune site to be affected are likely to be formally
identified critical habitat for this population of Western Chorus Frog in the final recovery
strategy. La Prairie is a municipality of24,000 inhabitants located 15 kilometers from Montreal.
Crit\cal habitat for the Western Chorus Frog will be partially identified in the proposed recovery
strategy. A total of260 critical habitat parcels covering approximately 33 048 ha will be
proposed, including 211 parcels in Ontario (16 793 ha) and 49 parcels in Quebec (16 275 ha).
The development project in La Prairie would likely destroy attributes of the proposed critical
habitat in an area covering approximately 1 OO to 150 ha.
CONSIDERATIONS.
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NEXTSTEPS
• Media lines have been developed.
• A proposed draft recovery strategy will be posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry
in March 2014.
• The Department will complete the assessment of the threats and the protection measures
for the Western Chorus Frog in Canada and will advise you on whether there are
imminent threats to the survival or recovery of the species.
Bob Hamilton
Deputy Minister
c.c. Andrea Lyon
Andrea Lyon
Associate Deputy Minister
c.c. Bob Hamilton
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MEMORANDUM TO MINISTER
SECRET
MIN-175318
CONSIDERATION OF THE USE OF AN EMERGENCY ORDER UNDER THE
SPECIES AT RISK ACTTO PROTECT THE WESTERN CHORUS FROG (GREAT
LAKES/ST.LAWRENCE-CANADIAN SHIELD POPULATION)
(For Decision)
TIMELINE
Y our decision is requested by
PURPOSE
To provide information with respect to the Western Chorus Frog (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence-
Canadian Shield population) to enable you to consider whether or not the species' survival or
recovery is imminently threatened in accordance with Section 80 of the Species at RiskAct
(SARA).
SUMMARY
• As you were informed in December 2013 (MIN-167227) your predecessor received 3
petitions requesting that he recommend to the Governor in Council (GiC) that an
emergency order be issued to provide for the Western Chorus Frog's protection in La
Prairie, located on the south shore of Montreal. The petitions state that a residential
real estate development project will destroy a significant portion of the species' habitat.
• Environment Canada has conducted an assessment of the threats and protection
measures for the Western Chorus Frog in Canada.
• Technical consultations were held with Quebec government officiais to understand
mitigation measures considered by the municipality of La Prairie and by the province.
• The Department's assessment is that the development project constitutes an imminent
threat to the recovery of the Western Chorus Frog, but not toits survival.
• It is expected that the province of Quebec will authorize the real estate development
project to proceed in February, and it is expected that the project coùld be initiated
immediately following the authorization
• You have the legal obligation to make the recommendation for an emergency order if
you are of the opinion that the species faces imminent threats toits survival or
recovery.
• There is not enough time to put in place an emergency order before the development
project proceeds.
CURRENTSTATUS
The province of Quebec intends to authorize the municipality of La Prairie in February 2014 to
build utility infrastructures and to conduct work in wetlands for a residential real estate
development project called "Bois de la Commune" that involves the construction of about 1,200
units on 40 hectares. The wetlands at the Bois de la Commune site to be affected are likely to be
formally identified critical habitat for this population of Western Chorus Frog in the final
recovery strategy. La Prairie is a municipality of 24,000 inhabitants located 15 kilometers from
Montreal.
CONSIDERATIONS
Species Status and Management
The Western Chorus Frog (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence-Canadian Shield population) is listed as
threatened under the Species At Risk Act (SARA).
The Western Chorus Frog is a small amphibian approximately 2.5 cm long which reproduces in
temporary wetlands. The species is particularly vulnerable to changes in surface water drainage
patterns and requires a territory comprised of varied terrestrial habitats and a cluster of temporary
wetlands.
The 2008 status report prepared by the Committee on the Status of Wildlife in Canada
(COSEWIC) for the Western Chorus Frog describes declines of approximately 40% over a 10-
year period both in Quebec and Ontario. The current population is small and is exposed to
ongoing losses of habitat and breeding sites due to suburban expansion and alteration in farming
practices, which have resulted in losses of populations and isolation of remaining habitat patches.
The species is found in Quebec and Ontario. The direct management of the Western Chorus Frog
is under provincial jurisdiction except where the species occurs on federal lands. Under
provincial laws, the species is designated as vulnerable in Quebec; however, its status is under
assessment and could be raised to threatened; and in Ontario, the species was assessed by the
Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO) in 2009 and determined to
be Not at Risk at that time.
SARA Recovery Strategy and Critical Habitat
A proposed recovery strategy containing information about critical habitat is scheduled to be
posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry by March 2014 with the final to follow in June
2014 (MIN-173428). Environment Canada worked with the provincial governments of Quebec
and Ontario to develop the proposed recovery strategy.
The critical habitat is partially identified in the proposed recovery strategy. It has been identified
both in Quebec and in Ontario on federal protected areas, on other federal lands, and on non-
federal lands. A schedule of studies has been developed to complete the identification of critical
habitat necessary to meet the population and distribution objectives.
A total of 260 critical habitat parcels covering approximately 33 048 ha will be proposed in the
recovery strategy, including 211 parcels in Ontario (16 793 ha) and 49 parcels in Quebec (16 275
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ha). The development project in La Prairie would likely destroy attributes of the proposed critical
habitat in an area covering approximately 1 OO to 150 ha on private lands.
The population and distribution objectives of the proposed recovery strategy are:
1. In the short-term: to maintain the area of occupied habitats as well as the abundance of
local populations of the Western Chorus Frog in Canada.
2. In the long-term: to ensure the persistence of local populations by increasing the area of
occupied habitats and their connectivity throughout the Canadian range.
How was ifapplied to WCF And bY. wlio ,. fedi prov;.elsè' (by .QR +OR).
Emergency Ortler
Section 80 of SARA provides the federal govemment with the authority to make an emergency
order to protect a listed species:
80. (1) The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the competent minister,
make an emergency order to provide for the protection of a listed wildlife species.
(2) The competent minister must make the recommendation ifhe or she is of the opinion
that the species faces imminent threats to its sutvival or recovery.
The draft SARA Policies developed by Environment Canada, Parks Canada Agency and Fisheries
and Oceans Canada provide guidance on factors that could be considered by the competent
Minister when determining if imminent threats to the survival or recovery of a species exist.
These factors are:
1. A serious, sudden decline in the species' population and/or habitat that jeopardizes the
survival or recovery of the species is in progress and is anticipated to continue unless
immediate protective actions are taken; or
2. A strong indication of impending danger or harm to the species or its habitat, with
inadequate or no mitigation measures in place to address the threat, such that the survival
or recovery of the species is at risk; or
3. One or more gaps have been identified in the existing suite of protection measures for
the species that will jeopardize its survival or recovery, and it is not possible to achieve
protection by other means in a timely fashion.
DEPARTMENTAL ASSESSMENT
Environment Canada conducted an assessment of the existing threats and protection measures for
the Western Chorus Frog in Canada.
Threat to survival
Although the decline at the Bois de la Commune site in La Prairie and across all of southem
Quebec and Ontario can be classified as biologically serious and sudden, the assessment found
that no actions are contemplated that threaten the continued existence of the species elsewhere in
Canada and thus did not find any evidence of an imminent threat to the survival of the Western
Chorus Frog in Canada.
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Threat to recovery
The assessment identified evidence of an imminent threat to the recovery of the Western Chorus
Frog in Canada, based on the draft SARA Policies:
1. The assessment found that there is a serious, sudden decline in the species' population in
progress that is anticipated to continue unless immediate protective actions are taken.
Approximately 10% of the candidate critical habitat of the local population of the Western
Chorus Frog at the Bois de la Commune site La Prairie would be destroyed by the
development project. The proposed recovery strategy considers ail remaining suitable
habitat for the Western Chorus Frog at this site as critical habitat that is necessary for the
recovery of the species. Consequently, the destruction ofremaining suitable habitats for the
Western Chorus Frog at the Bois de la Commune site threatens the recovery of the species.
The assessment also found that habitat destruction will continue across range in Quebec and
Ontario due to suburban expansion and alteration in farming practices.
2. The assessment also found that there is a strong indication of impending danger to the
species and its habitat and that there are no mitigation measures in place to address the
threat. The province of Que bec informed EC that they will authorize the municipality of La
Prairie to build utility infrastructure for the residential real estate development in February
2014.
3. The assessment identified gaps in the existing protection measures for the species, and found
that it is not possible to achieve protection in a timely fashion. There are no measures or
provisions under SARA or any other Act of Parliament that could be implemented in a
timely manner as an alternative to the emergency order to protect the individuals or survival
or recovery habitat of the Western Chorus Frog at the Bois de la Commune site in La Prairie.
The assessment also found that although there are legal measures in place that the province
of Que bec could use to protect the habitat of the Western Chorus Fro g in La Prairie, the
province has not indicated the willingness to use them.
The assessment found that there is no non-binding conservation measure in place that
currently protects the candidate critical habitat and individuals of the Western Chorus Frog
at the Bois de la Commune site in La Prairie. While an agreement was signed in 2004
between the municipality of La Prairie and the province, to create a conservation park to
preserve the natural habitat of the Western Chorus Frog, the proposed park has not yet been
created. Moreover, even if it were, it will not result in reliable protection of the habitat of the
Western Chorus Frog given the proposed park is not composed of habitat type and size that
are necessary for the conservation of the species, and consequently, cannot ensure the
survival of the Western Chorus Frog at Bois de la Commune site in La Prairie. An
environmental organization, Nature-Action Québec, was mandated in early 2013 by the
municipality of La Prairie to develop conservation measures for the proposed conservation
park and the residential development area. However, the plan has not yet been completed.
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OPTIONS
In the circumstances you are required to consider whether the Western Chorus Frog (Great
Lakes/St. Lawrence-Canadian Shield population) faces imminent threats to its survival or
recovery. There are two possible courses of action in this case:
1) If you form the opinion that the Western Chorus Frog faces imminent threats to its
survival or recovery, you are required under SARA to make a recommendation to the
GiC for an emergency order.
2) If you form the opinion that the survival or recovery of the species is not imminently
threatened, then the matter ends there and there is no requirement to make a
recommendation to the GiC.
NEXTSTEPS
If you are of the opinion that the Western Chorus Frog faces imminent threats toits survival or
recovery, the Department will prepare the regulatory package on an emergency basis for you to
make the recommendation to Governor in Council. An emergency order would focus on the
activities that will be prohibited to address the imminent threats, particularly those related to
habitat loss and fragmentation, which in this case is the proposed development of the site, and
the timing of those prohibitions.
Before proceeding with the recommendation, you will need to consult with the province of
Que bec on the implications of a potential emergency order decision prior to the recommendation
to GiC as per the bilateral agreement on species at risk (Cooperation Agreement for the
Protection and Recovery of Species at Risk in Que bec).
If you are not of the opinion that the Western Chorus Frog faces imminent threats to its survival
or recovery related to the development in La Prairie, Quebec, the matter ends there.
The Department will continue work to complete the recovery strategy and to identify Western
Chorus Frog critical habitat in Quebec and Ontario.
Communications has been engaged and updated Media Lines on the Western Chorus Frog issue
will be developed as required.
Bob Hamilton
Deputy Minister
c.c. Andrea Lyon
Andrea Lyon
Associate Deputy
Minister
c.c. Bob Hamilton
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I am of the opinion that the survival of the Western Chorus Frog (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence-
Canadian Shield population) is imminently threatened
I am of the opinion that the recovery of the Western Chorus Frog (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence-
Canadian Shield population) is imminently
I am of the opinion that there is no imminent threat to the survival of the Western Chorus Frog
(Great Lakes/St. Lawrence-Canadian Shield population)
I am of the opinion that there is no imminent threat to the recovery of the Western Chorus Frog
(Great Lakes/St. Lawrence-Canadian Shield population)
Leona Aglukkaq
Attachments (3):
• Threat and Protection Assessment
• Proposed Recovery Strategy for the Western Chorus Frog(Great Lakes/St.Lawrence-
Canadian Shield population) in Canada
• Cooperation Agreement for the Protection and Recovery of Species at Risk in Quebec
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BACKGROUND
Summary of the Threats and Protection Assessment of the Western Chorus Frog (Great
Lakes/St. Lawrence-Canadian Shield population) based on the draft SARA Policies
1. Serious, sudden decline in the species' population and/or habitat is in progress and is
anticipated to continue unless immediate protective actions are taken
The status report prepared by the Committee on the Status of Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC)
for the Western Chorus Frog describes declines of approximately 40% over a 10-year period
bath in Quebec and Ontario. In southern Quebec, the species has disappeared from 90% of its
historical range over the last 60 years and remaining populations have declined significantly in
the last two decades. The Western Chorus Frog at the Bois de la Commune site has lost more
than half of its habitat during the same period, primarily to residential real estate development
project
Although the decline of the Western Chorus Frog across all of southern Que bec and Ontario can
be classified as biologically serious and sudden, and although the decline at Bois de la Commune
in La Prairie would increase with the development project, the survival of the Western Chorus
Frog does not appear to be imminently threatened, given the apparent lack of any threats of
similar magnitude elsewhere in Canada that could lead to the extinction of an important local
population of the species, as is the case in La Prairie.
The short-term population and distribution objective of the proposed recovery strategy is to
maintain the area of occupied habitats as well as the abundance of local populations of the
Western Chorus Frog in Canada. The proposed recovery strategy considers all remaining
suitable habitat for the Western Chorus Frog at the Bois de la Commune as candidate critical
habitat that is necessary for the recovery of the species.
The assessment found that destruction of remaining sui table habitats for the Western Chorus
Frog at Bois de la Commune imminently threatens the recovery of the species by precluding the
possibility that the population and distribution objective could be met if adequate protection
actions are not taken in the short term. The assessment also found that habitat destruction will
continue across range in Quebec and Ontario due to suburban expansion and alteration in
farming practices.
2. A strong indication of impending danger or harm to the species or its habitat, with inadequate
or no mitigation measures in place to address the threat
The province of Quebec informed EC that it will deliver a certificate of authorization necessary
to build utility infrastructure for the residential real estate development project (section 32 of the
Environmental Quality Act (EQA)) when the municipality of La Prairie has met all the required
conditions of the 2008 certificate of authorization to destroy wetlands (section 22, EQA). It is
expected that the section 32 certificate will be delivered in early 2014. A second certificate of
authorization pursuant to section 22, EQA to move a creek and destroy wetlands could be
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delivered when the municipality of La Prairie has met all the requirements of the 2008 certificate
of authorization. This work will have more impact on the habitat of the Western Chorus Frog.
If the municipality of La Prairie goes ahead with the development project as planned, a
significant part of the candidate critical habitat of Bois de la Commune in La Prairie will be
destroyed. About twenty ponds will be affected directly, and several others will be indirectly
affected to varying degrees by the modification of surface water drainage, by recreational
facilities such as cycling and cross-country skiing and by the impacts of the edge effect. The
candidate critical habitat of Bois de la Commune is one of the 260 sites that are all considered
essential to the recovery of the Western Chorus Frog across all of southem Quebec and Ontario
in the proposed recovery strategy.
The assessment indicates that the development project is an impending threat to the Western
Chorus Frog and its habitat at Bois de la Commune, La Prairie, since all candidate critical habitat
sites in Que bec and Ontario are considered essential to achieve the population and distribution
objectives for the recovery of the species in Canada. Consequently, the recovery of the Western
Chorus Frog is compromised by the development project in La Prairie.
3. One or more gaps have been identified in the existing suite of protection measures for the
species, and it is not possible to achieve protection by other means in a timely fashion.
Federal protection measures:
The Western Chorus Frog at the Bois de Commune site is not currently protected by SARA's
general prohibitions, given that the lands are non-federal lands and no order has been made to
apply SARA.
The species' critical habitat will be formally identified in the final recovery strategy, which is
anticipated to be published in by June 2014. The proposed recovery strategy contains a partial
identification of the critical habitat that includes the Bois de la Commune site in La Prairie. No
SARA protections are currently in place and no agreements are in development to protect the
species' critical habitat on private or provincial Crown lands (e.g., section 1 lconservation
agreement).
The assessment indicates there are no measures or provisions under SARA or any other Act of
Parliament that could be implemented in a timely manner as an alternative to the emergency
mder to protect the individuals or survival or recovery habitat of the Western Chorus Frog at the
Bois de la Commune site in La Prairie.
Provincial protection measures:
The Western Chorus Frog is designated as vulnerable in Quebec. The species is considered Not
at Risk in Ontario.
In Que bec, the status of threatened or vulnerable animal species and the designation of habitats
fall under the "Act respecting threatened or vulnerable species" and the "Regulation on
threatened or vulnerable wild animal species and their habitats", and also under the "Act
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respecting the conservation and the enhancement of wild animals" and the "Regulations on wild
animal habitats".
More specifically, the "Act respecting the conservation and the enhancement of wild animals"
includes provisions for the protection and management of wild animal species designated or
likely to be designated threatened or vulnerable. The "Regulations on wild animal habitats"
designate 3 8 threatened or vulnerable wild animal species and describe the characteristics of 8
habitats of which 2 are for species present on provincial protected areas (the Gaspésie caribou
population and the peregrine falcon ofl' Anse à la Vache at.Mekinac Lake).
The Environment Quality Act (EQA) is not intended as a tool to protect the habitat of species at
risk. The authorization pursuant to section 22 of the EQA is meant to authorize the destruction of
habitat under certain conditions. However, the province could withhold an authorization
pursuant to section 22 of the EQA in order to protect the habitat of species at risk. In 2007, the
municipality of La Prairie obtained a certificate of authorization to destroy wetlands for the
residential real estate development project. The municipality could actually use this certificate to
drain the wetlands prior to getting another authorization pursuant to section 32 of the EQA to
build the public utility infrastructure, thus destroying the candidate critical habitat of the Western
Chorus Frog. In December 2013, Quebec informed EC that a second certificate of authorization
pursuant to section 22 of the EQA could be delivered when the municipality of La Prairie has all
the requirements of the 2007 certificate of authorization. These provincial requirements are
aimed to protect only half of the candidate critical habitat of the Western Chorus Frog at Bois de
la Commune in La Prairie.
At least two other le gal provisions could be used by Que bec protect the habitat of the Western
Chorus Frog in La Prairie. Pursuant to section 115.10 of the EQA, Quebec could amend,
suspend, revoke or refuse to renew the section 22 certificate of authorization issued in 2007.
Pursuant to section 19 of the Natural Heritage Conservation Act (NHCA), Quebec could also
require that the development project be submitted for authorization under that law, if the
provincial minister is of the opinion that the project may severely de grade a biophysical feature
that is rare or exceptional. However, although they exist, Quebec does not intend to use these
other le gal tools to protect the habitat of the Western Chorus Frog in La Prairie.
The assessment found that although there are le gal measures in place that the province of Quebec
could use to protect the habitat of the Western Chorus Frog in La Prairie, the province did not
demonstrate the willingness to use them.
Non-binding conservation measures:
An agreement was signed in 2004 between the municipality of La Prairie and the province,
notably to create a conservation park to preserve the natural habitat of the Western Chorus Frog.
The following year, the park project was expanded to 80 hectares, including 35 hectares of
disturbed environment located within the hydroelectric power line right of way, where the
construction of storm water retention ponds had already considerably altered the environment.
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The proposed conservation park has not yet been created, and even once it is created, will not
result in reliable protection of the habitat of the Western Chorus Frog and consequently, cannot
ensure the survival of the Western Chorus Frog at Bois de la Commune site in La Prairie.
An environmental organization, Nature-Action Québec, was mandated in early 2013 by the
municipality of La Prairie to develop conservation measures for the proposed conservation park
and the residential development area. However, the plan has not yet been completed.
The assessment found that there is no non-binding conservation measure in place currently to
protect the candidate critical habitat and individuals of the Western Chorus Frog at the Bois de la
Commune site in La Prairie.
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