Thomas-Chapais Park: A haven for bioidiversity at the heart of Mercier-Est

© WWF-Canada

This summer, the Biopolis team met on site with the bioneers from the Protection, restoration and highlighting of Thomas-Chapais Park project. These field visits are conducted by our team to highlight projects involved in urban nature conservation. We met with Roxanne Mailhot, Biodiversity project coordinator at Éco-quartier Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, as well as two members of the Thomas-Chapais Park Citizen Committee, Daniel Chartier and Michel Ferrara. Our bioneers guided us through this jewel of urban nature in the heart of the Mercier-Est neighbourhood.

Bioneer Daniel Chartier shows us an American Hornbeam tree. 

This visit allowed our team to observe the remarkable richness of the urban park’s wooded area. Our bioneers showed us many interesting tree species found in the park such as American Hornbeam, Alternate-leaved Dogwood, Black Cherry and Bitternut Hickory. The latter species’ distribution range reaches its northernmost limit at our latitude, and gives its name to our region’s bioclimatic domain : the Sugar Maple – Bitternut Hickory Domain. Various at-risk and rare species of plants find refuge at Thomas-Chapais Park, such as Black Maple and Canada Wild Ginger, two vulnerable species in Quebec. Many species of birds were also detected on our walk through the park, such as Hairy Woodpecker, Red-eyed Vireo, Cedar Waxwing and Northern Cardinal.

Asaret du Canada

Canada Wild Ginger at Thomas-Chapais Park, a vulnerable species. 

2017 marks a turning point for Thomas-Chapais Park; many activities focusing on protecting and restoring the park’s natural features have been or will be taking place before the fall. These activities are conducted by the Éco-quartier Mercier – Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (Y’a quelqu’un l’aut’bord du mur) team, in collaboration with the above mentioned citizen committee, and are funded by the Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l’environnement. These activities include, among others, a series of operations aimed at the eradication of European Buckthorn, an invasive alien species widespread in the Montreal area. One of these eradication activities took place on August 26th.

The project also features an education and awareness component aimed at informing the public about the parc and its attributes. In fact, eight interpretive signs will be installed along the park’s paths in September by the éco-quartier team. These signs will showcase information about the park’s biodiversity and will promote and encourage responsible behaviours to adopt in order to protect the woods and their richness.

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