Green Infrastructure, Habitats and Connectivity
Species Diversity and Conservation
- Denis Fournier
- Sylvie Comtois
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.
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.
Impacts de l’urbanisation sur la diversité floristique des marécages riverains – IRBV – Université de Montréal
L’urbanisation représente une menace majeure pour la biodiversité, favorisant généralement une homogénéisation des communautés floristiques. Cette menace est d’autant plus grande dans les milieux riverains où les communautés sont à la fois perturbées par les activités humaines environnantes que par la gestion des niveaux d’eau des rivières. La canalisation des eaux de pluie vers le réseau de drainage artificiel est aussi une menace importante pour ces habitats dont la dynamique dépend de la présence d’eau.
Les objectifs de ce projet étaient de déterminer quels sont les processus qui influencent la composition floristique (espèces et traits fonctionnels) des marécages riverains urbains, de déterminer si l’urbanisation entraîne une homogénéisation biotique de la flore de ces milieux et d’évaluer le rôle des espèces exotiques dans ce phénomène. Pour ce faire, 57 parcelles de forêts riveraines ont été échantillonnées dans la grande région de Montréal, dont une quinzaine sur le territoire de la Ville de Montréal.
Cette étude a permis de démontrer que la flore des marécages riverains était principalement influencée par des facteurs environnementaux et surtout par l’intensité des inondations. L’impact de l’urbanisation étant indirect par le biais de l’altération du régime hydrologique des rivières réduisant la susceptibilité aux inondations. L’urbanisation a également induit une différenciation taxonomique et fonctionnelle de la flore, c’est-à-dire une augmentation de la diversité entre les communautés. Cette différenciation s’explique par l’assèchement des marécages les plus urbanisés favorisant ainsi l’établissement d’espèces terrestres.
The ILEAU project (interventions in local environment and urban architecture) is a program running until 2017 that fights urban heat islands in eastern Montreal. Coordinated by the CRE-Montreal (Regional Council for the Environment of Montreal) (CRE-Montreal) the project is being realized in close collaboration with several local and regional partners who are working together to create major changes in the area. The entire community is invited to tangibly participate in the project by taking action on the ground.
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.
Initiated in 2009, the urban agriculture project Paysage Solidaire consists in transforming mineralized, contaminated or underused urban spaces into educational and productive food gardens in the borough of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. Since 2014, project team members have been specifically working on setting up a local and alternative food strategy throughout the borough. The objectives of the project are to improve food safety for the citizens of the borough, to develop a local and organic food production and to market fresh harvests in a short circuit through two produce stands. The project also aims to supply local grocery stores, restaurants, caterers and food safety community organizations with fresh local produce.
Paysage Solidaire comprises of:
The educational component of the project consists of workshops and training sessions on different topics relative to urban agriculture offered to schools, community organizations, and citizens of the borough.
A green alley is a place in the city where citizens mobilize (with the help of an éco-quartier, a borough or other partners) to create, green and enliven spaces conducive to environmental actions, sharing and play. Citizens participating in green alley projects share common objectives and values. Together, they pool their efforts and their talents to improve their family’s and their neighbours’ living environments.
Greening activities carried out in green alleys reduce the effect of urban heat islands, improve air quality, capture runoff water, increase plant biodiversity and provide habitat for small mammals, birds and insects.
Interventions aimed at limiting vehicle traffic in green alleys enable for the creation of safe spaces for play and for active transportation. The organization of festive events and activities in these alleys contribute to the strengthening of community bonds and to the improvement of safety and belonging feelings of citizens toward their neighbourhood.
In 2016, Montreal éco-quartiers were involved in over 300 green alley projects. Eleven of the nineteen Montreal boroughs have at least one green alley project developed on their respective territories with the help of engaged citizens and local éco-quartiers. Throughout the Island of Montreal, 346 green alleys can be found, which represents a total length of over 69 kilometres.
Les Jardins des Patriotes is a greening, embellishing and food production project at Louis-Joseph-Papineau School with three major scopes to it’s goal – social, educational and environmental. The project comprises of four zones: a fruit tree orchard, a green rest area for school personnel, an artistic garden featuring works made with reused objects and a food production garden adjacent to an educational garden for children. The surface area of the garden is 300 m2 and about 30 fruit trees are found in the orchard.
In the framework of the educational component of the project, students in a special work preparation program are trained in urban agriculture and landscaping in order for them to be able to reintegrate the job market in their respective fields. The educational approach is similar to the one used in environmental education where learning is achieved through interdisciplinary projects that include all subject matters. In-class workshops are taught in collaboration with Ça pousse!, a program of the NDG Food Depot.
One of the environmental objectives of this project is to aim for a system based on circular economy. Hence, organic matter from the gardens is composted, seedlings are started in class, harvested produced is transformed in the kitchens on-site, other produce is sold at the market, and an effort is made to reuse objects as much as possible. By greening the schoolyard, the project contributes to the fight against urban heat islands and to carbon dioxide sequestration in the neighborhood. A wildflower patch has also been planted in order to create habitat for pollinators. The environmental component of the project is supported by the éco-quartier Saint-Michel/François-Perrault et le Pari Saint-Michel.
Finally, the social aspect of the project involves summer job creation for local youth in the gardens and at the Saint-Michel Solidarity Market. Volunteer opportunities are also offered in the gardens during the summer in order to allow members of the community to fight social exclusion and isolation. Partners of the project are also involved in a food production garden project in order to improve access to healthy produce through the Saint-Michel Solidarity Market.
Les Arbres publics de Montréal est un outil numérique qui permet de visualiser plus de 250 000 arbres de la Ville. L’outil est présenté sur le site Internet QuéBio, une plateforme parrainée par le Centre de la science de la biodiversité du Québec. L’inventaire des arbres est effectué par les employés des arrondissements de la Ville de Montréal et rendu disponible sur le portail de données ouvertes de la Ville.
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.