The Gouvernement du Québec approved the designation of the Réserve de territoire aux fins d’aire protégée Mishigamish following the submission in the fall of 2020 of a joint brief from the Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, and the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks. The legally protected status contemplated for this territory is that of a “biodiversity reserve,” which is governed by the Natural Heritage Conservation Act.
Geographical location, boundaries and dimensions
The Réserve de territoire aux fins d’aire protégée Mishigamish is associated with the Cree community of Waswanipi, which has wanted for many years to protect this territory to preserve the intact large forest tracts found there and with which is associated the traditional Cree way of life centred on hunting, fishing, and the trapping of fur-bearing animals. What is more, this territory ensures connectivity between the Réserve de biodiversité projetée de Chisesaakahikan-et-de-la-Rivière-Broadback and the Réserve de parc national Assinica, two territories that are important for the long-term maintenance of woodland caribou populations. Lake sturgeon, a species likely to be designated threatened or vulnerable in Québec, is also found there.
Protection measures applied in the territory
No natural resource exploration or exploitation activity (mining, energy and forests) is allowed in the territory of the territorial reserve for protected area purposes. The Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks will ensure the maintenance of the administrative and legal provisions that their prohibition requires.
Note 1. Land covered by mining titles is landlocked in this territorial reserve for protected area purposes. The holder of the titles can continue to access the land as was previously the case. The construction or creation of a new road is usually incompatible with the objectives of a territorial reserve for protected area purposes. However, in the case of the mining titles covering landlocked lots, the holders can build a road to access the land that their titles cover. They must inform accordingly beforehand the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, which may then impose mitigation measures on the natural environment and the implementation conditions.