Biological

The study of avian fauna describes the bird communities that frequent the project area, as well as feeding, breeding and migration sites.
This study also validates the presence of special-status species.
In addition to field data, the following data sources are consulted:

  • Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec (CDPNQ) (MFFP 2015)
  • Data from Études des populations d’oiseaux du Québec (ÉPOQ)
  • The second inventory of breeding birds in Quebec (AONQ 2016a) and
  • the Canadian Wildlife Service (bird colonies and waterfowl inventory plots).

These baselines study describe the micrmammals that frequent the project area and identifie the presence of species with special status. These studies focus on the Cooper’s voles (Synaptomys cooperi) and rock voles (Microtus chrotorrhinus), two species likely to be designated as threatened or vulnerable in Quebec (MFFP 2016). Preferred habitat for both species is present in the study area.

The methodology was inspired by the protocol established by the MFFP (Jutras 2005). For this type of study, a SEG permit must first be obtained from the regional branch of the MFFP. A SEG permit is a special permit issued by the Ministry for the capture of wild animals for scientific, educational or wildlife management purposes.

A summary characterization of each of the environments where a capture device was used was carried out to document the diversity of habitats encountered. Micromammals were identified using Lupien’s identification keys (2001 and 2002).

The chiropterans environmental baseline study documents the presence and distribution of bat species that may be affected by the project.

A fixed acoustic inventory during the breeding and autumn migration periods is used to identify the species present and assess their use of the site. A mobile acoustic inventory is also carried out, as well as research and validation of potential hibernacula and maternity sites in the field. In addition, a literature search is used to assess the potential presence of hibernacula.

The fixed inventory technique consists of installing fixed acoustic inventory stations at key habitats for breeding, resting, feeding and moving chiropterans. These stations are equipped with an ultrasonic detector (AnaBat® Bat Detector), active between 8 pm and 6 am and waiting to receive sound. The sounds are transferred to a computer, and sound analysis software (Batview and AnaBat® 5, version 5.7) is then used to produce sonograms for visualizing and analyzing the recorded calls. Bats are then identified by comparing the sonograms with the known characteristics of each species’ echolocation calls (sound signatures).

This approach effectively distinguishes 7 of the 8 bat species present in Quebec.

The herpetofauna baseline study identifies and describes the amphibian and reptile communities present in the study area, validates the presence of special-status species and lists sensitive areas for these species.

This study includes a literature review of the following sources: the Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du (CDPNQ), the amphibian and reptile ranges established by the MELCCFP, data from the Atlas des amphibiens et reptiles du Québec (AARQ), data from iNaturalist (2022) and data from the Global biodiversity Information facility (GBIF, 2022).

A characterization study of fish communities and their habitats in aquatic environments likely to be affected by the project is used to establish baseline conditions for the receiving environment. Fish and fish habitat are protected at the federal level by the Fisheries Act (FA; R.S.C. [1985], c. F-14) and associated regulations, and at the provincial level by the Loi sur la conservation et la mise en valeur de la faune (chapter C-61.1).

All water bodies and watercourses (permanent and intermittent) likely to be affected directly or indirectly by the project are therefore included in the baseline study. The specific objectives are to provide a description of the aquatic environment using a habitat characterization approach based on various physical and physico-chemical parameters for water bodies, to characterize the fish populations present through field inventories and on the basis of existing available data, and to draw up a list of aquatic species of precarious status (provincial and federal status) documented in the area or potentially present, provide a description of suitable or potential habitats for these species (residence and critical habitat) at or near work sites, provide the location and area of potential or confirmed fish habitats in and near the work area, describe their use in terms of habitat function and quality, and characterize the benthic invertebrate community in Keriens Creek.

Fishing gear was selected to cover the different habitat types present. Open, shallow shoreline habitats characterized by the presence of some flow were inventoried using fyke nets. Habitats at greater depths, generally devoid of vegetation, were surveyed using experimental gillnets to capture large species. Finally, electric fishing was used in the open areas of small, shallow streams.

The basic vegetation and wetland inventory study identifies environmental constraints related to vegetation and wetlands, as well as special-status flora. Terrestrial and wetland environments are delimited and classified, the main terrestrial and wetland plant groups in the project area are characterized, the presence of threatened, vulnerable or potentially so designated plant species (special-status plant species [SSFS]) is verified, the presence of invasive alien plant species (IAS) is verified, and the ecological value of the plant groups inventoried is assessed.

The methodology used is :

  • 3D photo-interpretation.
  • Interpretation of the 5th inventory ecoforestry map produced by the MRNF’s Direction des inventaires forestiers.
  • Interpretation of recent aerial photographs (ESRI World Imagery) was used to delineate the contours of more dynamic features such as beaver ponds and marshes.
  • ArcGIS 10.2 a geographic information system was used to digitize the information.

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