An environmental follow-up has three objectives: to assess the real impacts of an activity or project, to compare them with the anticipated impacts, and to evaluate the effectiveness of mitigation and enhancement measures.

Listed below are some of the areas addressed by environmental follow-up programs implemented for recent projects.

  • Aquatic wildlife
  • Avian wildlife
  • Economic and sociocultural aspects
  • Hydrology and hydraulics
  • Ice monitoring
  • Land use
  • Mercury
  • Navigation
  • Recreation and tourism
  • Sedimentology
  • Terrestrial wildlife
  • Thermal regime
  • Vegetation
  • Water quality

Environmental follow-ups are part of every phase of a project. To continuously improve environmental impact assessments, the lessons learned from following up on previous projects need to be incorporated as early as possible in the process.

Hydro-Québec, Société d'énergie de la Baie James and Hydro-Québec Équipement et services partagés have been working together for over three decades to maintain and take measures at the stations that make up the Environmental Monitoring Network (EMN). This network covers several of Hydro-Québec's hydropower complexes, including the Baie James and Côte-Nord regions. The stations were set up in key locations to monitor changes in the modified aquatic environments.

Environmental follow-up program in the project cycle, from planning to operation
Environmental follow-up program in the project cycle, from planning to operation.

Objectives of the Environmental Monitoring Network:

  • Monitor changes in the physical and biological parameters of aquatic environments.
  • Monitor changes in the main wildlife species in the area and their habitats.
  • Monitor changes in components of the human environment:
    • land use
    • hunting and fishing
    • economic and sociocultural aspects
    • impacts on isolated communities related to building new access roads

Environmental follow-up at the La Grande complex

To date, environmental monitoring at the La Grande complex remains a long-term follow-up program rich in lessons and teachings. This section provides the bibliographic references for summary technical reports and their abstracts.

Physical environment

Hydrology and Ice Regime

  • Groupe-Conseil LaSalle inc. 2002. Suivi environnemental des projets La Grande-2-A et La Grande-1. Rapport synthèse pour la période 1991-2000. Hydrologie et régime des glaces (Environmental monitoring of La Grande-2-A and La Grande-1. Summary report for the 1991–2000 period. Hydrology and ice regime). Report prepared for Hydro-Québec. 50 p and app. Abstract [PDF]
  • Génivar inc. 2005. Environmental Monitoring at the La Grande Complex. Abridged Summary Report: Hydrology and Ice regime of the La Grande Rivière. Report submitted to Hydro-Québec. 27 p

Grande Rivière Winter Plume

  • Messier, D. 2002. Suivi environnemental des projets La Grande-2-A et La Grande-1. Rapport synthèse pour la période 1987-2000. Le panache de la Grande Rivière (Environmental monitoring of La Grande-2-A and La Grande-1. Summary report for the 1987–2000 period. The Grande Rivière winter plume). Montréal: Hydro-Québec. 73 p and apps. Abstract [PDF]
  • Génivar inc. 2005. Environmental Monitoring of the La Grande-2-A and La Grande-1 projects. Abridged Summary Report 1987-2000: La Grande Rivière Winter Plume. Report submitted to Hydro-Québec. 27 p and apps.

Bank Dynamics of La Grande Rivière

  • Pâquet, G. and R. Lévesque. 2001. Dynamique des berges de la Grande Rivière entre les centrales LG-2-A, Robert-Bourassa et l'embouchure : Rapport synthèse pour la période 1991-1999 (Bank dynamics of La Grande Rivière between generating stations LG-2-A, Robert-Bourassa and the mouth of the river: Summary report for the 1991–1999 period). Report by Géo-3D Inc. prepared for Hydro-Québec. 52 p and apps. Abstract [PDF]
  • Génivar inc. 2005. Environmental Monitoring of the La Grande-2-A and La Grande-1 projects. Abridged Summary Report 1987-2000: La Grande Rivière Winter Plume. Report submitted to Hydro-Québec. 26 p and apps.

Water Quality Changes

  • Schetagne, R., R. Lalumière and J. Therrien. 2006. Suivi environnemental du complexe La Grande. Évolution de la qualité de l'eau : Rapport technique d'analyse des données de 1978-2000 (Environmental monitoring at the La Grande complex. Changes in water quality: Technical report of data analysis 1978–2000). Joint report by GENIVAR and Hydro-Québec. 248 p and apps. Abstract [PDF]

Biological environment

Changes in Fish Mercury Levels

  • Schetagne, R., J. Therrien and R. Lalumière. 2002. Suivi environnemental du complexe La Grande. Évolution des teneurs en mercure dans les poissons : Rapport synthèse 1978-2000 (Environmental monitoring at the La Grande Complex. Changes in fish mercury levels: Summary report 1978–2000). Joint report by Génivar inc. and Hydro-Québec. 193 p and apps. Abstract (in French only) [PDF]
  • Schetagne, R., Therrien, J., and Lalumière, R. 2003. Environmental Monitoring at the La Grande Complex. Evolution of Fish Mercury Levels: Summary Report 1978-2000. Joint report by Génivar inc. and Hydro-Québec. 185 p

Changes in Fish Communities

  • Therrien, J., R. Verdon and R. Lalumière. 2002. Suivi environnemental du complexe La Grande. Rapport synthèse (1977-2000). Évolution des communautés de poisons [Environmental monitoring at the La Grande Complex. Summary report (1977–2000). Changes in fish communities]. Joint report by GENIVAR inc. and Hydro-Québec. 131 p and apps. Abstract (in French only) [PDF]
  • Génivar Inc. 2004. Environmental monitoring at the La Grande Complex. Changes in fish communities. Summary report 1977-2000. Joint report by Génivar inc. and Hydro-Québec. 129 p and apps.

Riparian and Aquatic Vegetation

  • FORAMEC. 2001. Complexe La Grande. Suivi environnemental de la végétation riveraine et aquatique. Rapport synthèse pour la période 1979-1999. (La Grande Complex. Environmental monitoring of riparian and aquatic vegetation. Summary Report 1979–1999.) Prepared for Hydro-Québec. 133 p (Report in French) Abstract (in French only) [PDF]

Eelgrass Meadows of the Northeast Coast of Baie James (James Bay)

  • Lalumière, R. and C. Lemieux. 2002. Suivi environnemental des projets La Grande-2-A et La Grande-1. La zostère marine de la côte nord-est de la baie James. Rapport synthèse pour la période 1988-2000 [Environmental monitoring of the La Grande-2-A and La Grande-1 projects. Eelgrass meadows of the northeast coast of Baie James (James Bay). Summary report for the 1988–2000 period]. Report by GENIVAR Inc. prepared for Hydro-Québec. 92 p and apps. Abstract [PDF]
  • Génivar Inc. 2005. Environmental Monitoring of the La Grande Complex. Abridged Summary Report 1988-2000: Eelgrass meadows of the northeast coast of James Bay. Report submitted to Hydro-Québec. 42 p

Human environment

Human Impacts Generated in the Eastern Sector of the La Grande Hydroelectric Complex

  • Vincent Roquet & Associés. 2006. Environmental Follow-up Assessment of the La Grande Hydroelectric Complex. Human Impacts Generated in the Eastern Sector. 2nd edition. Report prepared for Hydro-Québec. 2 vols. Abstract (in French only) [PDF]