Fort Chambly National Historic Site
Natural Heritage: Along the Richelieu River
A view of the fort from the park
© Parks Canada
Fort Chambly National Historic Site is part of the Montérégie touristic
region. The fort overlooks the left bank of the Richelieu River. Drawing its
source from Lake Champlain, the river flows to the north for over 100 km
as far as the St. Lawrence River, downstream from Montreal. It is one of the
largest navigable waterways in North America.
Featuring a tumultuous river, a huge basin and a wooded area, the fort's site
is home to an incredible array of birds. It is also one of the rare places where
you can stroll along the Richelieu.
Several species of birds inhabit the maple, ash, poplar and coniferous trees while ducks come and go in rhythm with the seasons. The Chambly Basin shelters about sixty species of fish, including the Yellow Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, Yellow Perch, Northern Pike, Sea Trout, and Rainbow Trout. It also plays host to the Copper Redhorse, a unique species of fish found only in Québec.
The Copper Redhorse
The Copper Redhorse is named after its large copper-coloured scales that look
like the chain mail worn by the knights from the Middle Ages. It can live for
about thirty years and can reach some 75 cm in size and weigh more than
6 kg. Characterized by a tube-shaped mouth, it feeds almost exclusively on mollusks, sucking in and breaking them up with its strong pharyngeal teeth.
Fifty years ago, the Copper Redhorse frequented five rivers in Quebec. Today, it has become an endangered species. It is only found in the Richelieu. Two breeding grounds are known, the largest is located in the Chambly Rapids and the other is downstream from the Saint-Ours Dam.
For millenniums, the Copper Redhorse has reproduced in the Chambly's eddies
in the first two weeks of June, unaware of the tumultuous history of the men
who inhabited the banks of the Richelieu.