- reduce pollution;
- conserve, rehabilitate and develop habitat for plants and animals;
- encourage sustainable navigation practices;
- improve knowledge and understanding of the St. Lawrence;
- promote community outreach and involvement.
In order to continue this work while adapting to the emerging problems facing the St. Lawrence River, in 2011, the governments of Canada and Quebec committed to renewing this partnership for a fifteen-year period with the signature of the 2011-2026 Canada-Quebec Agreement on the St. Lawrence. This agreement, commonly known as the “St. Lawrence Action Plan” (SLAP), involves ten departments and agencies from the Government of Canada and nine departments and agencies from the Government of Quebec. To implement the plan, three 5-year plans have been adopted, including those for 2011-2016 and 2016-2021. The most recent plan adopted will cover the 2021-2026 period. It will be implemented jointly by Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Quebec Department of Environment and the Fight against Climate Change.
In keeping with the 2016-2021 programming, the 2021-2026 programming comprises 32 projects aimed at biodiversity conservation, sustainability of uses, and improved water quality in the St. Lawrence.
St. Lawrence Action Plan achievements in 2016-2021
Specialists from numerous participating departments shared their expertise, resulting in 43 joint projects being carried out between 2016 and 2021. These projects involved the creation of awareness and decision-support tools.
Here are some examples:
- The production of the Atlas of Sites of Conservation Interest in the St. Lawrence Lowlands and the Atlas of sites of conservation interest in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence coastal regions, which are helping municipalities carry out land development projects and better protect wetlands and coastal habitats;
- Rehabilitation and conservation of strategic sectors of the Lake Saint-Pierre shoreline, which has generated positive benefits for this precious ecosystem;
- Research into solutions to preserve water quality, which was a major component of the 2016-2021 St. Lawrence Action Plan. The use of retention ponds for agricultural water was evaluated and sources of deleterious substances for the water and ecosystem were tracked and studied;
- The development of a common framework to evaluate the cumulative effects of marine activities, which will help to better measure their impact on uses of the St. Lawrence and ensure their sound management.
In addition, the Community Interaction funding program supports community projects aimed at conserving and improving the St. Lawrence ecosystem. Between 2016 and 2021, $3.3 million was granted to carry out 59 projects, with the participation of 44 agencies and their partners. This funding made it possible to set up community projects to control invasive exotic plant species, restore and protect wetlands, and raise citizens’ awareness of the conservation of the St. Lawrence ecosystem.
The researchers’ work also involved collecting and interpreting various types of scientific data. This includes the Overview of the State of the St. Lawrence River, published in 2020, which makes available high-quality scientific information on a number of indicators for water quality, sediments and biological resources.
By combining their expertise and scientific data, the participating departments have successfully improved numerical environmental predictions and their understanding of the St. Lawrence hydrological regime and ecosystem.
Departments participating in the 2021-2026 action plan:
Government of Canada
- Environment and Climate Change Canada, with support from:
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada;
- Parks Canada Agency;
- Public Health Agency of Canada;
- Canadian Space Agency;
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada;
- Health Canada;
- Public Safety Canada;
- Public Services and Procurement Canada;
- Transport Canada.
Government of Quebec
- Department of Environment and the Fight against Climate Change with support from:
- Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing;
- Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food;
- Department of Energy and Natural Resources;
- Department of Forests, Wildlife and Parks;
- Department of Public Security;
- Department of Health and Social Services;
- Department of Tourism;
- Department of Transport.