Best Practices and Innovation
Education and Awareness
Green Infrastructure, Habitats and Connectivity
Invasive Alien Species
Species Diversity and Conservation
- Hélène Plante
Explore Biopolis projects and discover how citizens, researchers, institutions, businesses and community organizations are supporting biodiversity in cities across Canada.
The projects listed on Biopolis are diverse and a source of inspiration for all. They were selected according to their objectives to enhance and preserve urban biodiversity in cities across Canada. Explore our featured projects to discover how citizens, researchers, institutions, businesses and community organizations are working to support urban biodiversity.
|Over the past few years, the land surrounding Roger-Paquet Pond, located just a few steps from the city centre, has suffered many disturbances. Beavers have knocked down several trees, and invasive alien species, such as Japanese knotweed and Phragmites, posed a real threat to biodiversity and access to the pond. In 2018, work was carried out to lower the nearby Zachée-Langlais dam, dropping water levels of the Nicolet river and pond to critical points. Major measures had to be taken by the City to maintain this historic site with high ecological value.
With a limited budget and a great desire to work in collaboration, the Environment Department for the City of Victoriaville set up a project to enhance the wetland. The area was made more accessible to people through the addition of a wooden path and rest area. The project also made the spot more educational, thanks to the addition of interpretive signs on birds. Additional effort was also taken to make the area more beneficial for wildlife, with the planting of native trees and shrubs and the installation of nest boxes, rocks and logs for ducks and other species.
Since it opened in the fall of 2019, bird watchers, teachers, yoga enthusiasts, photographers and families have made this place their own.
The Boucher Forest Foundation’s mission is to protect the biodiversity of the Boucher Forest. Following the signing of a management agreement between the City of Gatineau and the Boucher Forest Foundation, the Foundation is now in charge of the development of the future Boucher Forest Park, a park whose main purpose is the conservation of biodiversity.
The rain garden is designed to collect storm water runoff from the roof and parking lot of the Great Canadian Superstore on St. Anne’s Road in Winnipeg, with a catchment size of 9860 square meters (2.4 acres). The garden was initially planted with 670 native plants of 58 different species, covering an area of 460 square meters. The plants and soil act as a natural filtration system, removing pollution and contaminants from the water. The water then drains through an underground pipe to the Seine River, providing clean water downstream. Since the initial planting, the rain garden has continued to be maintained and supplemented with additional plantings.
The Seine River Greenspace Enhancement Project includes several initiatives focused on connecting people with the Seine River as well as enhancing natural habitats. As Winnipeg grows, so too does the use of its remaining natural spaces. While it’s wonderful that people are spending time in nature, the increasing human activity is eroding riverbanks, damaging sensitive vegetation, and degrading upland habitats. This project aims to enhance the use and appreciation of the Seine River Greenway while protecting its natural spaces.
This project aims to:
The accessible dock will be the first of its kind in Winnipeg. While more funding is still needed, the goal is to install a dock that will be usable by a variety of people with a range of abilities, ages and sizes. Project partners: The City of Winnipeg and Scatliff+Miller+Murray.
|The Western Chorus Frog was declared vulnerable in Quebec in the early 2000s, but its status is under review and may change to threatened. Once found in abundance along the south shore of the St. Lawrence in the 1950s, now there are only a few fragmented populations of this tiny amphibian remaining. And all of them can be found between the river and Highway 30. Western Chorus Frog habitat continues to be destroyed and fragmented by urban development. In 2015 and 2016, the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks and the Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park began to experiment with restoring irrigation ditches, a habitat appreciated by the chorus frog. Mini-dikes were built there to keep water levels at 30 cm until mid-summer and to limit abrupt changes in temperature, regardless of the amount of precipitation. Since 2017, close water monitoring has been carried out across five developed sites and some control sites. Corrections have also been made to ensure proper drainage of excess water during heavy rains. This process helps us learn more about chorus frog habitat and understand its dynamics throughout the water basin. In the long term, this project aims to reintroduce populations of Western Chorus Frogs into Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park.
This tiny frog, no bigger than a $2 coin, breeds in temporary wetlands. These habitats, dry out slowly, preventing predators like fish, green frogs and dragonfly larvae from feeding on the tadpoles.
Meewasin organizes and leads group activities that encourage and enable the community to take part in citizen science projects to help monitor the biodiversity within Meewasin’s conservation zone. With these projects, we bring awareness and help educate on issue of declining biodiversity and invasive species, and guide and assist participants in making accurate observations, recording their sightings and submitting data.
The data collected through citizen science then helps inform Meewasin’s conservation work on habitat, connectivity and ecosystem services for the future, including but not limited to: prescribed fire, targeted conservation grazing, wildlife friendly fencing and native species planting.
All data retained is used as part of a valley-wide project monitoring the health of the area in an urban environment. We use this data for a five-year cycle report called State of the Valley. Participants are encouraged to share their data with citizen science apps including iNaturalist and eBird.
SOS Landcare is an initiative seeking to restore areas overrun by invasive (non-native) plants and encourage the growth of wildflowers native to the area. Landcare volunteers also clear winter garbage, plant shrubs and trees, clear storm damage on the paths, and become the local eyes for the river and land.
Camosun Bog is a rare and beautiful ecosystem located within Pacific Spirit Park, on the west side of Vancouver, which faces risk of degradation through damaging human activity. Since 1995, the volunteers of the Camosun Bog Restoration Group have worked hard to restore and conserve the Camosun Bog through research, planning, raising awareness and weekly restoration work on the ecosystem. We work to restore native bog species, remove invasive species, monitor water quality levels, implement new projects to promote bog species growth, monitor biodiversity, raise awareness through community events and through educational outreach.
|The empty grounds of Bois-Francs School Board and the Victoriaville Cégep gained new life as a community garden and orchard. This three-phase project was made possible thanks to a partnership between the City of Victoriaville, the school board and the Cégep. Several other partnerships contributed to the success of the project, including volunteers of the carpenter club Du bois francs, who set up the planters in phase one and the sidewalk in phase three. This gathering and learning space is run by two students hired by the City each summer.
This garden is above all a gathering and sharing place — a green space in the city. Citizens and visitors can come and take advantage of this garden, which promotes learning about trees, plants and biodiversity. In a few years, visitors will also be able to participate in the maintenance and harvesting of vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
The Forage Fish Spawning Habitat Monitoring project, initiated in 2017, aims to identify the location of existing forage fish spawning habitat along the coastline of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. The project’s primary goal is to help reduce the knowledge gap regarding where and when forage fish species are spawning by collecting and analyzing sediment samples for forage fish embryos. Due to the coastline of Vancouver Island being heavily developed, the bulk of the sample locations are located within the town/city limits of multiple coastal communities, including Qualicum Beach, Parksville, Lantzville, Nanaimo, Ladysmith, and Maple Bay. The project focuses on two species of forage fish, Pacific sand lance and surf smelt, as they each hold significant ecological, cultural, and economic value in the region. A loss in these species could result in a significant loss to our local biodiversity.
MABRRI also trains citizen scientists to take part in the project in order to simultaneously cover a greater geographic extent. Currently, we have seven groups of volunteers that span the Vancouver Island coastline from Cowichan Bay north to Qualicum Beach, as well as two groups that sample sites on Gabriola Island and Thetis Island. With further funding, we intend to continue expanding this program to include more citizen science groups and continue to cover a greater geographical extent. All of the data that is collected is submitted to the Strait of Georgia Data Centre, an open-access data base owned by the Pacific Salmon Foundation. Ultimately, MABRRI will work with our partners to analyze the data in order to generate and propose updated management and policy with regard to habitat protection and conservation.
Impacts of urbanization on plant diversity of riparian swamps – IRBV – Université de Montréal
Urbanization poses a major threat to biodiversity by contributing to the homogenization of plant communities. This threat is even greater among plant communities that inhabit riparian habitats, where they are consistently disturbed by human activities and water level management practices. Channelling of runoff towards artificial drainage networks also poses an important threat to the natural evolution of these habitats that depend on the presence of water.
The objectives of this project were to determine the influential processes by which floristic composition (species and functional traits) of riparian swamps is driven, to assess whether urbanization leads to the biotic homogenization of the habitat’s flora, and to evaluate the role that exotic species play within this phenomenon. For the purpose of this study, a total of 57 riparian forest patches were sampled in the greater Montreal area, of which about 15 are found within the city’s boundaries.
This study demonstrated that riparian swamp flora is mostly influenced by environmental factors, especially by flooding intensity. Urbanization was found to have an indirect impact on the studied habitats by altering waterway hydrology, thus reducing flooding susceptibility. Urbanization also induced taxonomical and functional differentiation of flora, which means that an increase in diversity was observed among plant communities. This differentiation can be explained by the drainage of the most urbanized swamp patches, which led to the establishment of terrestrial species.
At the heart of the nature parks’ landscapes, one can observe the presence of dead or declining trees as well as tree trunks, tree stumps, and stacks of branches. Visitors might be surprised by the sight of these structures, but several animal species depend on woody debris and snag trees, which we call wildlife trees, that provide food, perches, shelters, and nesting sites.
The City conserves as wildlife trees some naturally declining or dead trees, by leaving in place parts of their main branches, while ensuring safety. A variety of tree species, of different sizes, diameters, and declining stages, is conserved to create micro-habitats and enhance biodiversity. Woody debris can be generated naturally by falling trees or be derived from arboricultural work carried out for security reasons near park trails and other areas commonly used by the public like picnic areas.
Wildlife trees and woody debris can be used by animals for several decades before returning to the ground in the form of organic matter. In fact, birds nesting in wildlife tree cavities account for one fifth of all nesting birds in nature parks, which represents about twenty species including the wood duck as well as various woodpeckers and birds of prey. Mammals such as squirrels, voles, and raccoons also use wildlife trees. Several insects, as well as amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals use woody debris at one point or another during their life cycle.
Live trees, snag trees and woody debris, all have important and complementary roles to play in the protection of forest biodiversity. This initiative is related to Montréal’s Ecosystem Management Program
Help protect threatened species and their habitats.