Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site of Canada
Monitoring Victorin’s gentian© Parks Canada / H. Gilbert
Monitoring the Victorin’s gentian, Victorin’s water hemlock and Parker’s pipewort populations
Since 2008, Parks Canada and the recovery team for threatened vegetation of the St. Lawrence freshwater estuary have implemented a monitoring program for Victorin’s gentian, Victorin’s water hemlock and Parker’s pipewort populations. These rare plants are at high risk of extinction in Quebec due to their distribution almost exclusively in the St. Lawrence River area as well as the threats they face.
Victorin’s gentian© Parks Canada / E. Le Bel
The status of these plant communities is evaluated annually by a monitoring network that focuses on seven sites, including Grosse Île, Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures and Château-Richer. The surveillance project aims to better understand this unique vegetation to ensure its safekeeping.
The team responsible for the monitoring consists of Quebec’s Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Fondation Québécoise pour la Protection du Patrimoine Naturel, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Parks Canada and Environment Canada.
Butternut© Parks Canada / E. Le Bel
Recovery of the butternut population
Grosse Île has a large population of butternut trees, which is a species designated at risk of extinction in Canada. Certain butternut trees on Grosse Île are infected by a harmful fungal disease: the butternut canker.
Butternut canker is an extremely virulent disease and is responsible for the vast decline of the butternut in its distribution area. The butternut population on Grosse Île is in a precarious position and could disappear due to the presence of butternut canker, the geographic isolation of the island and competition from other species living in proximity.
Recovery measures for the butternut on Grosse Île are therefore planned for the coming years to ensure the survival of this endangered species.
Management of ecosystems and at-risk vegetation
Monitoring site for vegetation protected from white-tailed deer using exclosures© Parks Canada / R. Vaudry
Monitoring site of vegetation unprotected from white-tailed deer without exclosures© Parks Canada / R. Vaudry
Grosse Île is home to a variety of ecosystems, a wide biodiversity of vegetation and a unique flora. White-tailed deer travelling from neighbouring islands arrived in the late 1980s and multiplied, significantly affecting the island’s vegetation and rare plants.
As a result, activities to manage these ecosystems and at-risk vegetation are planned: installation of exclosures to protect rare plants from deer, monitoring of the effect of deer on vegetation, inventory of white-tailed deer on the island, etc.
Grosse Île has been the site of different human occupations for more than 160 years. Each of these affected the environment in its own way. A rehabilitation plan of decaying sites was developed in the late 1990s. Since then, about 20 of these sites were restored.
Clean-up work is planned for a last site where old bricks, scrap metal and other waste is stored. This unsightly area will be restored to avoid environmental risks and to be more visually pleasing to visitors.