Ottawa, Quebec pledge $57.5 million over five years to protect St. Lawrence River

The money will go towards 38 joint federal-provincial projects focused on fighting erosion, improving water quality and preparing for future flooding.

Investment will fund 38 joint-projects to protect water quality and biodiversity and fight flooding

Whales including belugas and this minke whale have died in the St. Lawrence River in recent years, sparking concern among researchers. (Alexandre Duval/Radio-Canada)

Canada and Quebec have committed $57.5 million in funding over the next five years to protect the St. Lawrence River. 

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna joined Quebec's Environment Minister David Heurtel and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre Monday to make the announcement.

The funding is part of a 15-year agreement between the federal and Quebec governments to protect the St. Lawrence River through scientific research and action.

Ottawa is contributing $35.2 million and Quebec is contributing $22.3 million over the next five years.

The money will go towards 38 joint federal-provincial projects focused on fighting erosion, improving water quality and preparing for future flooding.

Protecting biodiversity and sustainable development are listed as other priorities for the St. Lawrence River.

"There's still an enormous amount of work to do," said Heurtel, who noted the impact of flooding could worsen due to climate change. 

Coderre applauded the intergovernmental cooperation, saying all three levels are working hand in hand to protect the river.

Activist says plan doesn't go far enough 

Femke Bergsma, of the environmentalist group GRAME, was biking along the Lachine Canal in Montreal when she noticed the news conference taking place.

She stopped to listen and was unimpressed with what she heard.

"I was a little bit disappointed with the answers of the ministers to different questions we were asking," she said.

"They told us very little on the concrete measures that will be taken."