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Agriculture

Why ask those who live along the shoreline and next to other bodies of water to respect a buffer zone of 10 to 15 metres while those who conduct agricultural activities are only required to respect a strip of 3 metres (including a minimum of one metre on a slope) and spread a great deal of manure? How is it that in certain cases the manure spreading exceeds what is allowed and in other cases the spreading is carried out beyond the allowable dates in the fall, sometimes even before heavy rains? We should be much more aware of the soils, the topography of lands and of the general support capacity of the area in question and the forecasts for rain. 

What is the logic in asking citizens to renaturalise their shorelines when not so long ago we witnessed 100s of hectares of forest being cut to create fields for spreading pig manure? Shouldn't the use of new techniques to dispose of pig manure be accentuated on the condition that the capacity of each drainage basin be respected in terms of animal units? 

When we talk about shorelines, there are already solutions which permit spectacular results. For example, the hybrid poplar is a veritable phosphorous pump, grows extremely quickly and can be harvested after a mere few years. However, as long as this type of planting along an enlarged shoreline surface takes place, it will be in opposition to existing subsidized planting, in particular corn which is very harmful to water. It is therefore unlikely that we will progress toward the protected shorelines which are worthy of the name.   

The agricultural industry can be mobilised to do its part and also contribute to a better quality of water in our region. They now face a host of governmental regulation to this effect. These are practical people who for the most part ask no more than to be able to employ sound environmental practices on their lands.  In our region some farmers have signed up for the Prime-Vert (doing it green) program. But it is unfolding too slowly. Everybody would be in a winning situation if the bureaucratic requirements were simplified and the numerous government agencies (MAPAQ, MDDEP, Pêches et Océans, Ressources Naturelles et de la Faune, MRC) were better coordinated.