For the past 30 years, Hydro-Québec has been conducting studies on the environment, and here at last is a summary of the lessons learned.
The Summary of Knowledge Acquired in Northern Environments from 1970 to 2000 deals with a wide range of topics including mercury, coastal and estuarine ecosystems, rivers with modified flow, and the physical, chemical and biological changes observed in reservoirs.
It describes the impact of the La Grande complex on aspects of the terrestrial environment such as riparian vegetation and terrestrial or migrating wildlife. The social environment is also addressed: archaeology, the Aboriginal way of life, agreements signed with Aboriginal peoples and their repercussions, and the harvesting of wildlife. The document surveys the mitigation, compensation and enhancement measures implemented north of the 48th parallel. Finally, the bibliography lists over 230 scientific publications, articles and papers presented at national and international events.
The body of knowledge acquired over the past three decades makes it possible to draw conclusions and lessons based on facts which, in view of their scientific value, can guide future hydroelectric projects in comparable environments.