Climate change, trade and some of our operations lead to the proliferation of invasive animal and plant species and pathogens. Once established, these species can affect biodiversity and be detrimental to farming and forestry. Our activities related to construction (especially excavation), operations and vegetation control can propagate these harmful species. Consequently, we are implementing various measures to help maintain biodiversity.
Emerald Ash Borer
The emerald ash borer is an insect that attacks all species of ash trees that provide a suitable environment for it to grow and develop. The larvae, which hatch from eggs laid in the bark, dig numerous tunnels in the wood, resulting in the death of infested trees. This pest has few natural enemies and causes considerable economic and ecological damage.
Hydro-Québec is working to combat the spread of the emerald ash borer. It is taking inventories of the ash trees on its properties and, depending on the extent of the infestation, will treat or fell affected trees and in some cases plant other tree species.
Roughly 4,000 of the company’s properties are located in emerald-ash-borer regulated areas. This land includes large waterfront properties; sites housing transformer substations, telecommunications towers or administrative buildings; and several thousand undeveloped lots.
In 2017, Hydro-Québec launched a wide-ranging inventory program to locate ash trees that are infested with the emerald ash borer on its properties, including power line rights-of-way.
- After about a hundred infested ash trees were felled, the trees were given to the organization Bois Public to be used in making street furniture (Montérégie).
- An inventory was conducted of 425 properties covering over 3,000 ha; 93 wooded lots and the presence of 75,000 ash trees were noted. Felling and treatment operations were carried out on properties with administrative buildings. An action plan is being prepared based on two components of the 2014–2024 emerald ash borer strategy adopted by the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal: management of ash trees on private land and management of ash trees in forested areas.
- As part of the agreement on the reuse of branch chips, a campaign was conducted to educate owners of sites where this wood is to be reused about the issues associated with possessing and reusing the residual materials to be delivered.
- Research continued on the state of fish populations in La Grande complex reservoirs and changes in these populations. This research, which began in 2105, is being carried out in partnership with McGill University and involves the quantitative synthesis of data (Nord-du-Québec).
- An extensive study begun in 2013 continued its work of identifying species of migratory birds nesting in transmission line rights-of-way. To date, over 200 such species have been identified, with surveys of breeding pairs conducted at 165 point count locations and nest searches carried out in 120 parcels of land across Québec.
- Measures to protect the little brown bat were implemented at Bersimis-2 generating station and observations were made of the population, which is declining owing to white-nose syndrome (in French only) (Côte-Nord).
- Reforestation work was carried out on 7.4 ha in the Lanaudière region to compensate for the clearing of 14.7 ha for the construction of the Pierre-Le Gardeur–Saint-Sulpice line. In addition, an $85,000 contribution was made to the Fiducie de conservation des écosystèmes de Lanaudière, a land trust in the region.
- We gave a talk on biodiversity governance at the 85th Annual Meeting of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD). The various biodiversity protection measures undertaken since 2016 include studies on the impact of dams on wildlife, mitigation measures to protect reptiles and amphibians, and the use of environmental DNA to detect fish presence in reservoirs.
- Reforestation was carried out on the site of the former headrace canal of the now-closed Chute-Burroughs facility. 1,626 plants from four different species were planted over an area of approximately 6,500 m2. (Estrie)