© Marc Sardi / WWF-Canada lavender growing in an urban garden

BIOPOLIS PROJECTS

Explore Biopolis projects and discover how citizens, researchers, institutions, businesses and community organizations are supporting biodiversity in cities across Canada.

Biodiversity Projects in Canadian Cities

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.

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    Landscaping of the Roger-Paquet Pond

    Landscaping of the Roger-Paquet Pond

    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.

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    Niakwa Trail Rain Garden

    Niakwa Trail Rain Garden

    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.

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    Plant Diversity of Montreal Riparian Swamps

    Plant Diversity of Montreal Riparian Swamps

    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.

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    Restoration of the Molson Marsh

    Restoration of the Molson Marsh

    In 2015, the Comité de surveillance Louis-Riel (CSLR) initiated landscaping and restoration activities of the Molson Marsh in order to render it more accessible for the public to enjoy this unique urban habitat. The Molson Marsh is located in Boisé-Jean-Milot Park, at the corner of Langelier Boulevard and Bélanger Street, in the borough of Mercier – Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. Within the framework of the project, the main path was restored and a 20 meter long boardwalk was constructed. Nine interpretation signs were also installed in order to inform visitors of the responsible ways to enjoy nature and of the elements of biodiversity that are present on site. Over the next few years, the CSLR wishes to pursue actions to preserve and restore the Molson Marsh.

    Boisé-Jean-Milot Park boasts a distinctive topography that includes a steep slope at the foot of which an ancient stream bed lies and where the marsh is located. This wetland plays an important role for the park’s biodiversity. Recently discovered, this water feature was concealed by a dense colony of Common Reed, which was invading the site in question. Measures to eradicate Common Reed have been deployed within the framework of this project in order to allow water to once again fill the marsh.

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    Pond Biodiversity in Montreal

    Pond Biodiversity in Montreal

    Biodiversity, ecology and typology of ponds and small lakes of Montreal City -Group for Interuniversity Research in Limnology and Aquatic Environment (GRIL) – Université de Montréal

    Biodiversity is an essential characteristic to consider when elaborating sustainable management and conservation plans for urban water bodies. The latter is determined by the diversity and environmental quality of pond and lake ecosystems in urban settings, two variables still rarely assessed in North America.

    The project’s main objective is to qualify biodiversity and aquatic community structures in 20 urban water bodies of the City of Montreal. The ultimate goal is to define biological indicators associated with habitat quality that respond to environmental factor changes and landscape/management techniques.

    In fact, Montreal urban water bodies support a rich biodiversity composed of plankton, macro-invertebrates, and different community structures. The main environmental factors associated with variability of diversity and community structures are: water body source, presence of macrophytes and fish, trophic level and landscape/management techniques. In order to preserve biodiversity in these water bodies, we recommend the following actions: maintaining shore vegetation and variability in water body type, and adopting optimal landscape/management practices.

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    Tern Colony Conservation in the Saint-Lawrence River

    Tern Colony Conservation in the Saint-Lawrence River

    Héritage Laurentien has been mandated by Environment Canada to undertake a conservation project aimed at protecting and surveying Common Tern colonies located on small rocky islands offshore from the boroughs of Verdun and Lasalle.

    Several anthropogenic and natural disturbances affect the reproductive success of terns nesting on the islands in question. These disturbances include kayaks, water scooters and other watercrafts that wander too close to the small islands where the terns nest. Certain individuals will even deliberately approach the nests and the chicks. Furthermore, certain aggressive species, such as Common Reed and Ring-billed Gull, also invade the islands, greatly reducing available nesting space for terns.

    Wildlife experts from Héritage Laurentien will conduct a survey of tern nests and install a protection device on the islands where the colonies are found. This device consists of a type of loose netting that allow terns to access their nests while preventing gulls from landing on the islands. The project also includes a public awareness component with regards to the tern colonies and the Saint-Lawrence islands ecosystem. Local nautical equipment rental companies have been made aware of the issue and a conference will be offered to citizens following analysis of the survey results. A federal permit has been issued to undertake this project and a report on the status of the tern colonies will be presented to the government.

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    Rain Garden, bioretention – Decarie Boulevard

    Rain Garden, bioretention – Decarie Boulevard

    The city of Montreal issued a mandate to Vinci Consultants in 2011 to supervise the conception and performance of the bioretention island of Décarie Boulevard, between St-Jacques Street and Crowley Avenue, a rain garden designed to capture runoff waters. A 200 meter long segment of the street, comprising of four traffic lanes and one parking lane, was redesigned to support the entrance to the new McGill University Health Center. The client’s wish was to carry out an efficient, aesthetic and innovative runoff management project that would contribute to the fight against heat islands, which constitutes a threat to public health.

    As a first step, the mandate included a feasibility study that was conducted in partnership with the landscape architects from Fahey et Associés and the DIrector of Urban Planning of the mandated firm, Pascale Rouillé. This study allowed the identification of numerous proposed alternatives to sustainably manage runoff waters of the Boulevard. The chosen option was that of a six meter wide bioretention island located within the central mall, which would allow drainage, retention, and filtration of runoff waters.

    The mandate then included the supervision of the plans and specifications of excavation designed by an independent firm. Vinci Consultants was also mandated to supervise the construction work, evaluate the performance and social acceptability of the project and ensure the issuance of a certificate of final acceptance of the works.

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    Mon fleuve et moi

    Mon fleuve et moi

    Mon fleuve et moi is the first educational project that brings young people closer to the St. Lawrence River, to inform them and raise awareness of the issues surrounding its protection, enhancement and development. The project includes an educational kit and a drawing contest for students in primary, secondary, college and professional training from all regions of Quebec. Once they have learned more about the St. Lawrence River through the detailed educational kit, students are invited to express their artistic visions for the river through their drawings.

    The project includes an educational kit and a drawing contest for students in primary, secondary, college and professional training from all regions of Quebec. Once they have learned more about the St. Lawrence River through the detailed educational kit, students are invited to express their artistic visions for the river through their drawings.

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    Scientific Fishing

    Scientific Fishing

    The primary purpose of scientific fishing is to show citizens the multitude of fish species living in the waters surrounding parc des Rapides in LaSalle. Wildlife experts from Heritage Laurentien then take inventory to determine the richness of local biodiversity.

    The public is invited to participate in activities, in order to promote citizen science. Since the beginning of this initiative more than 50 fish species have been recorded, including lake sturgeon and American shad, two species at risk in Quebec. The data gathered from these studies confirms that Des Rapides Park enjoys great levels of fish biodiversity that should be protected and showcased.

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    Adopt a River

    Adopt a River

    Adopt a River aims to raise awareness among children (the decision-makers of tomorrow), as well as educate and engage them about protecting the environment through sustainable development and watershed management.

    Using simple scientific equipment and educational materials, the project helps students aged 10-15 years old participate actively in protecting water. As a bonus, the project connects diverse learnings in a tangible and inspiring way.

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    Pêche en herbe (young sport fishers)

    Pêche en herbe (young sport fishers)

    Pêche en herbe (young sport fishers) is an introduction to sport fishing for Montrealers aged 9 – 12. The program consists of a full training followed by a supervised fishing lesson, where kids are offered the tools they need so they are ready to go fishing again on their own starting from the very next day.

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    Monitoring Invasive Alien Species

    Monitoring Invasive Alien Species

    The Jacques Cartier ZIP Committee has been mandated by the ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte aux changements climatiques (Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change) to monitor the evolution of invasive alien plants along the St. Lawrence River. All sites are inventoried on a three-year rotation.

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