Education and Awareness
Species Diversity and Conservation
- Denis Fournier
Explore Biopolis projects and discover how citizens, researchers, institutions, businesses and community organizations are supporting biodiversity in cities across Southern Québec.
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 Southern Québec. Explore our featured projects to discover how citizens, researchers, institutions, businesses and community organizations are working to support urban biodiversity.
In large parks, especially in nature parks, the City of Montréal works to create favourable conditions for wildlife and encourage environmental education. Several dozens of bird nesting boxes have been installed close to park trails and, in winter, bird feeders are placed near the park’s reception chalet. Nesting boxes contribute to the arrival of species that do not find sufficient cavities to meet their needs in the surrounding areas. Feeders provide an additional food source during the winter season. Above all, nesting boxes and feeders are excellent tools to introduce people of all ages to birdwatching and foster appreciation of our close link with nature.
Although ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) is a native plant, it is highly invasive. Indeed, ragweed is being found all over Southern Quebec while one hundred and fifty years ago, it occupied only a small part of it.
The Champ des Possibles (including Bernard lot) ended up with a huge infestation of ragweed in 2016 despite having Les Amis du Champ des Possibles expend major efforts in planting competing species over the years in addition to proceeding with localized annual mowings or weedings, measures usually considered sufficient to control ragweed.
This infestation was jeopardizing the possibility of conserving the pastoral aspect of the field as well as its mission of supporting biodiversity. In fact, ragweed is responsible for severe allergies and asthma problems. Since young children from an outdoor day care center frequent this place daily, it would have been irresponsible to let them breathe in so much pollen. In addition, ragweed showing allelopathic behavior, its presence affects the establishment of other plants.
Rather than responding to the need to remove pollen from the air by a fieldwide mowing, Irene Mayer proposed a pilot project to test her method of selective weeding in order to reconcile public health protection with the support of biodiversity.
The project aims to demonstrate that ragweed can be successfully eradicated in a field-like urban park while returning to conditions that support biodiversity. The 3×3 OUT! protocol (3 selective weedings, 3 successive summers and autumns) was conceived after years of experimentation in Montreal’s streets and alleyways.
Two wildlife observation sites have been redeveloped using a new and improved design concept in Montréal’s nature parks network : Observatoire Havre aux tortues in Cap-Saint-Jacques nature park, and Observatoire du marais in Pointe-aux-Prairies nature park. These structures have been adjusted to simultaneously address wildlife protection imperatives and people’s desire to observe wildlife. A wall with openings disposed at varying heights allows all visitors to view and enjoy the natural landscape without disturbing the animals. Materials consistent with sustainable development principles were selected for the construction of these structures.
GRAME works to promote sustainable development and environmental protection by taking into account long term and global issues, such as climate change. “ICI on verdit!” is a project that started in 2015, which invites institutions, businesses and industries located in the South West area of the Island of Montreal to plant trees. The plantations are primarily located in Lachine, Dorval, Lasalle, Baie-D’Urfé and Saint-Laurent.
This project is part of the Plan d’Action Canopée (Canopy Action Plan) , which aims to increase the canopy in Montreal by 5% by 2025. Our plantations aim to diversify species while taking into account those already present in the field.
Since 2015, the project has led to the plantation of more than 2100 trees and 435 shrubs and the mobilization of over 1600 people.
The Ecosystem Management Program provides for knowledge acquisition on ecosystems, ecological evaluation, monitoring of components of interest, as well as field interventions aiming to protect and enhance biological diversity in Montréal’s large parks. Ecosystem management maintains a balance between public access and protection of large parks’ ecological integrity. The Program supports informed decision-making when projects and activities are undertaken, in an effort to protect and minimize impacts on natural habitats and to ensure that their ecological value or integrity are not compromised. The Program has been implemented by the City for over twenty years.
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.
In the framework of an urban boulevard extension, the City of Montréal has put in place different measures to enhance quality of natural habitats and connectivity in an area of ecological interest. A wildlife crossing was built as an integrated component of the civil engineering infrastructure in order to facilitate animal movement between natural habitats on both sides of the boulevard. Infrared wildlife cameras have demonstrated its efficiency: several animals are seen using the corridor, including the Milk Snake, a species of special concern in Canada, and likely to be designated as threatened or vulnerable in Québec.
Launched in 2015 in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough, the IDENT-Cité project has two interlocking spiralled paths that were designed to help visitors experience the importance of biodiversity as they explore them. They feature different varieties of deciduous and coniferous trees, with species becoming more diversified as you move towards the center of the first spiral path, only to become more and more similar during the second path. This is the first urban project for the IDENT network, who have already led several experiences showcasing the benefits of biodiversity across the world.
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.
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.
Thomas-Chapais Park encompasses one of the richest woodlands found in the eastern portion of the Island of Montreal. The park covers an area of 15,2 hectares and is home to over 11,000 trees and to an impressive diversity of native plant and animal species. In order to preserve the park’s biodiversity and ecological value, a habitat protection and restoration project, funded by the Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l’environnement, was developed. The project has three components:
Education and outreach
Uprooting and removal activities will be organized in order to eradicate buckthorn, or at least, to slow down rapid propagation of this invasive alien species. Furthermore, because buckthorn form a dense opaque wall-like bush, control operations will increase the feeling of safety among citizens in the park.
Restoration of biodiversity
Trees and shrubs will be planted in order to restrain buckthorn regeneration and to offer complementary habitat and food sources for wildlife.
All activities will be planned and executed by the coordinator in charge of biodiversity projects at éco-quartier Mercier – Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, in collaboration with the Thomas-Chapais Park Citizen Committee.
Public trees of Montreal is a digital tool designed to view more than 250,000 trees in the city. The tool is presented on the QuéBio website, a platform managed by the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science. The tree inventory was carried out by the employees of the different boroughs of the City of Montreal and was made available on the city’s open data platform.
Help protect threatened species and their habitats.