Summary – Emergency Order for the Protection of the Western Chorus Frog (Great Lakes / St. Lawrence – Canadian Shield population)

The purpose of this Order is to address the imminent threat to the recovery of the Western Chorus Frog (Great Lakes / St. Lawrence – Canadian Shield population (GLSLCS)) by providing protection for the La Prairie metapopulationFootnote1 through measures that include protection of the habitat identified in the Order.

The Emergency Order came into force on July 8, 2016.

Geographic Area

The area covered by the Order is approximately 2 km2 of partially developed land in Quebec, in the municipalities of La Prairie, Candiac and Saint-Philippe, which are located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River opposite Montreal. A large portion of this area includes land that has been set aside as the Smitter’s Marsh conservation park.

The schedule of the Emergency Order contains a list of all lots and portions of lots to which the Order applies (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Area where the Western Chorus Frog (GLSLCS) Emergency Order applies
Map of the area of the Emergency Order in the municipalities of La Prairie, Candiac, and Saint-Philippe in Quebec.
Long description for Figure 1

This map illustrates the area to which the Emergency Order for the Protection of the Western Chorus Frog (Great Lakes / St. Lawrence - Canadian Shield Population) applies in the municipalities of La Prairie, Candiac, and Saint-Philippe in Quebec.

Disclaimer: This map illustrates the area to which the Emergency Order for the Protection of the Western Chorus Frog (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence - Canadian Shield population) applies. It is provided for information only and must not be used for legal interpretation or implementation purposes. If there is any contradiction between the information in the present document and the Emergency Order cited above, the order takes precedence. For a legal description of the area to which the Emergency Order applies, please consult the schedule of the Emergency Order in the Canada Gazette, Part II, or in the Species at Risk Public Registry.

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Prohibitions

The prohibitions set out in the Emergency Order are intended to prevent the loss or degradation of the habitat that is necessary for the recovery of the Western Chorus Frog (GLSLCS), and to prevent activities that could harm the species. In the area covered by the Emergency Order, the following activities are prohibited:

  • Remove, compact or plow the soil;
  • Remove, prune, damage, destroy or introduce any vegetation, such as a tree, shrub or plant;
  • Drain or flood the ground;
  • Alter surface water in any manner, including by altering its flow rate, its volume or the direction of its flow;
  • Install or construct, or perform any maintenance work on, any infrastructure;
  • Operate a motor vehicle, an all-terrain vehicle or a snowmobile, anywhere other than on a road or paved path;
  • Install or construct any structure or barrier that impedes the circulation, dispersal or migration of the Western Chorus Frog;
  • Deposit, discharge, dump or immerse any material or substance, including snow, gravel, sand, soil, construction material, greywater, or swimming pool water; and
  • Use or apply a pest control product or a fertilizer.

Additionally, activities conducted outside the area covered by the Emergency Order are also prohibited if they contravene the provisions of the Order.  An example would be work performed outside the area covered by the Order that results in the alteration of surface water within that area. This could include activities such as installing a culvert that results in the draining of lands located within the area covered by the Emergency Order or the release of a large amount of water that causes flooding of lands within that area.

Activities that are undertaken for the protection of public health or public safety that are authorized pursuant to provincial legislation are exempt from the Emergency Order. This could include, for example, work by Hydro Québec in cases of emergency, and municipal work on blocked culverts and watercourses that is required to prevent flooding. Activities that are undertaken for the protection of public health or public safety that are authorized pursuant to federal legislation may also be exempt under certain conditions.

Why is the Western Chorus Frog at risk?

Photo of Western Chorus Frog
Photo: © Raymond Belhumeur

The Western Chorus Frog (GLSLCS) was listed as threatened on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act in 2010. The main threats to the species are habitat loss and degradation associated with urban development, intensification of agriculture, climate change, the use of pesticides and fertilizers, the expansion and maintenance of linear infrastructure, and habitat succession. In the Montérégie region, more than 90% of the historical range of the Western Chorus Frog had been lost by 2009. Within this region, La Prairie has experienced the greatest loss of habitat, with 57.3% of suitable habitat lost between 1992 and 2013. Planned development in this area threatens the survival of the La Prairie metapopulation, thereby posing an imminent threat to the species’ recovery as a whole.

What you can do

Citizens who live in the area where the Emergency Order applies can play an important role that goes beyond simply protecting the Western Chorus Frog (GLSLCS) and its habitat. It is important to remember that the area covered by the Order is also home to many native species of plants, birds and other animals. You and your family can take the opportunity to discover this ecologically rich environment located just steps from your front door. Proximity to nature is a key attribute of this region, and you can do your part to help maintain the ecological integrity of the area covered by the Order.

In addition to complying with the specific prohibitions set out in the Emergency Order, when using recreational paths, engaging in bird watching or otherwise enjoying the outdoors, try to minimize the potential impacts of your actions on the environment. For example, keep your pets leashed, cycle or snowshoe on designated paths and use more environmentally friendly products and methods when you wash your car or maintain your lawn. While these actions may seem trivial, they contribute to collective efforts to conserve nature and its benefits for all, including future generations.

What happens if I do not comply with the Emergency Order?

Environment and Climate Change Canada representatives will carry out compliance promotion activities to help affected individuals and organizations understand the Order and the impact it will have on their activities. The Department will contact stakeholders directly, organize community information sessions and post answers to frequently asked questions concerning the Order on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

Any contravention of the provisions of an Emergency Order is an offence under the Species at Risk Act. A person who is convicted of an indictable offence is liable to a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment for up to five years, or to both. On summary conviction, the person would be liable to a lower fine of up to $50,000 or imprisonment for up to one year, or to both.  Any corporation, other than a non-profit corporation that contravenes a provision of the Emergency Order is liable to a fine of up to $1,000,000 if found guilty of an indictable offence or a fine of $300,000 if convicted of an offence punishable on summary conviction.  Any non-profit corporation that contravenes a provision of the Emergency Order is liable to a fine of up to $250,000 if found guilty of an indictable offence or a fine of $50,000 if convicted of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

If Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers can show that an offence has occurred, they have a legal obligation to enforce the law and use their discretionary power to choose the most appropriate response, which may range from a warning to legal prosecution.

For more information

To obtain a copy of the Emergency Order (including its Schedule) and to find out whether your property falls within the area covered by the Order, please refer to the Canada Gazette, Part II, or the detailed maps of the area covered by the Emergency Order.

For more information on the Western Chorus Frog (GLSLCS), please see the species fact sheet on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

For more information on the Emergency Order or to report a possible contravention, contact Environment and Climate Change Canada by email at ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca or by phone at 1-800-668-6767 or (819) 938-3860.

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Footnotes

Footnote 1

A metapopulation is a network of local populations within which individuals move from one population to another.

Return to footnote 1 referrer