Area: Environmental effect assessment
Region: Bas-Saint-Laurent
Year: 2015
Client: PWGSC

Environmental Effect Assessment: Rehabilitation of Ile de la Providence

Environment Canada (EC), which owns Ile de la Providence (part of the Kamouraska archipelago in the Lower St. Lawrence region), decided to rehabilitate a sector occupied by old buildings and other structures. To carry out the project in compliance with regulatory requirements, EC commissioned Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), which asked Groupe DDM to perform an environmental effect assessment study. 

The area under study hosted a number of wildlife and plant species that were representative of the Kamouraska islands. Located almost entirely within a stressed environment, it occupied an open prairie composed mainly of rough rose, wild cranberry and swamp gooseberry. A poplar forest composed mainly of trembling aspen and balsam fir was also present in the southern portion of the area. EC’s work encroached onto a portion of the island’s shoreline, which hosted plants typical of St. Lawrence Estuary shoreline areas (sea glasswort, beach pea, etc.). Two occurrences of special status plants whose habitats are associated with wetland environments were identified within a radius of 9 km around the area under study. No special status wildlife species were identified in either the Québec natural heritage data centre or the public register of species at risk, and a site visit confirmed the absence of special status species in the area under study. With regard to the environment’s physical characteristics, chemical analyses of soil samples revealed concentrations of lead, copper or zinc that were higher than the farmland levels recommended by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. All this information was considered when examining the environmental effects of the proposed work. 

The project was designed in such a way as to reduce the work’s effects on the natural environment, among other things by considering the risks of heavy metal runoff, potentially leading to bioaccumulation in the ecosystem. The environmental effect analysis revealed that the project’s negative repercussions would be generally slight or very slight for all the elements studied. Based on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and given the mitigation measures proposed in the analysis, the project was unlikely to cause significant negative effects, and was subsequently authorized by the authorities concerned.