Îles de la Paix National Wildlife Area
The Îles de la Paix National Wildlife Area (NWA) is a chain of islands stretching over several kilometres (km) in the middle of Lake Saint-Louis, a natural widening of the St. Lawrence River, in a highly urbanized and industrialized region southwest of Montréal. The islands lie along one of North America's major waterways, the St. Lawrence Seaway. Established in 1977 by Environment and Climate Change Canada, its purpose is to protect important habitats for waterfowl breeding, as well as staging areas for migratory birds.
Extending over 129 hectare (ha), the wildlife area is made up of low-lying islands with fairly sparse stands of Silver Maple surrounded by beaches and wetlands. Despite its limited size, the area hosts a diversity of habitats that regularly attract close to 130 species of birds. The islands provide nesting sites for several dozen pairs of ducks, and food and shelter to nearly 5000 ducks in the spring and close to 30 000 during the fall migration. The area is also home to more than 150 species of animals and 50 plant species, including a number of species at risk.
Birds congregate on the Îles de la Paix during the nesting period. American Black Duck, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal and Northern Pintail nest along the edges of the islands and, occasionally during periods of high water, in the crotches of trees. The dead trees on the islands provide plenty of roosting space for Tree Swallows. Black Terns is also observed. Muskrats frequent the island shores and cattail stands. Beavers, American Minks and, occasionally in the winter, Coyotes and Red Foxes also visit the islands.
The wildlife area is exposed to substantial threats and management challenges due to its location near a large city, as well as to current and past human activities. The primary issues are erosion that is attributable to the regulation of water levels in the Seaway, the impact of human activity on wildlife species and habitats, and the presence of invasive alien species. Hunting and poaching, gaps in scientific knowledge, contaminated sediment, and accidental marine spills pose additional threats to conservation in the wildlife area.
More information on Îles de la Paix NWA is provided in the summary table below.
NWAs are protected and managed according to the Wildlife Area Regulations under the Canada Wildlife Act. The primary purpose of NWAs is the protection and conservation of wildlife and their habitat. For this purpose, and according to the legislation, Environment and Climate Change Canada can prohibit all activities in a NWA that could interfere with the conservation of wildlife. Consequently, most NWAs are not accessible to the public and all activities are prohibited. Nonetheless, Environment and Climate Change Canada has the ability to authorize some activities, whether through public notice or the issuance of permits, as long as these are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA. For more information, consult the NWAs Management and Activities section.
Due to the fragility of the wildlife species and island environments, access to the Îles de la Paix NWA is generally prohibited except under the authority of a permit issued by the Minister. Although hunting or the harvesting of natural resources is never allowed inside the boundaries of the wildlife area, waterfowl hunting is authorized in the waters of the Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) (500 meters (m) around the islands) with an Environment and Climate Change Canada permit.
In addition, permits may be issued for research activities in keeping with the priorities set out in the management plan for the wildlife area. Permits may also be issued for other conservation activities such as surveys, or the enhancement or restoration of habitat.
Priority will be given to collaborative activities with local agencies and organizations to promote the protection and the conservation of wildlife species and their habitat in the NWA. For example, initiatives could be launched or continued with the following entities: universities or research centers to address gaps in scientific knowledge; the province to implement recovery measures for species at risk (particularly those falling under provincial jurisdiction); or non-governmental organizations or municipal authorities to build public awareness of the wildlife area's objectives.
More information on access and permitting for Îles de la Paix NWA can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.
Notice from Environment and Climate Change Canada
Environment and Climate Change Canada would like to inform the public that the Îles de la Paix NWA--an archipelago in the municipalities of Beauharnois and Léry--is a protected area closed to the public. Since its creation in 1977, the NWA has been protecting wildlife and habitats, particularly those of migratory birds and species at risk. This area also includes a MBS, where it is specifically prohibited to hunt, take, injure, destroy or disturb migratory birds, their nests or their eggs.
To protect the area, access is strictly prohibited from May 1 to August 15. The Department is also informing the public of its obligation to follow certain rules, as dictated by the Canada Wildlife Act, the 1994 Migratory Birds Convention Act, and corresponding regulations. Anyone who neglects to follow these rules or obey the laws in effect may be subject to fines and prosecution.
Without a permit issued by the Minister, it is strictly prohibited for anyone in the area to:
- hunt or fish
- destroy or remove a plant
- allow any domestic animal to run at large
- swim, picnic, camp or carry on any other recreational activity or light a fire
- operate any mode of transportation
- dump or deposit any trash
For complete information on all applicable regulations, please consult the Canada Wildlife Act; Wildlife Area Regulations; Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994; and Species at Risk Act at Environment and Climate Change Canada website.
To file a complaint or report illegal activities, please contact Environment and Climate Change Canada by phone at 1-800-668-6767 or by email at email@example.com.
This notice shall not be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any Aboriginal, treaty or other rights of Aboriginal peoples.
Map of the area
This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries. Îles de la Paix NWA can also be viewed using Google Maps. Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information and does not represent the official map or site name.
Map showing the area around Beauharnois and Léry, Quebec. The boundaries of Îles de la Paix NWA and the Îles de la Paix MBS are indicated. The wildlife area covers the Îles de la Paix and small portions of the surrounding water. The bird sanctuary overlaps the wildlife area, however it extends further in all directions to cover a greater amount of the surrounding water. Both protected areas are located west of Léry and north-west of Beauharnois. The scale on the map is in km. Permanent water, intertidal water, roads and highways are all indicated on the map. A small inset national map situates the NWA in Canada.
|Protected Area designation||NWA|
|Latitude/longitude||45°20' North 73°54' West|
|Reason for Creation of protected area||
Conservation of species and critical habitats
Background: Protecting wetlands that serve as important breeding grounds for waterfowl (Mallard, American Black Duck, Northern Pintail, Canada Goose, Goldeneyes, Scaups) and a popular staging area for migratory birds
Current: Criterion 2a - The area supports an appreciable fauna assemblage of rare, vulnerable threatened or endangered species or subspecies of plants or animasl, or an appreciable number of individuals of any one or more of these species or subspecies (e.g. COSEWIC list). The area supports an appreciable quantity of individual Green Dragon plants, a species designated as threatened by the Government of Quebec; and Criterion 2b - The area has special value for maintaining the genetic and ecological diversity of a region because of the quality and uniqueness of its flora and fauna.
|Date created (Gazetted)||1977 - Legal description|
|International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category||Ia - Strict Nature Reserve: protected area managed mainly for scientific purpose or to protect wildlife resources|
|Keystone or flagship species||Mallard, Tree Swallows, Black Tern, green dragon.|
|Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act SARA||Eight species, including the Snapping Turtle and the Barn Swallow, under the Species At Risk Act. Eight other species classified as threatened or vulnerable, or likely to be designated as such under the Quebec Act respecting threatened or vulnerable species, with five additional species unconfirmed.|
|Main habitat type||Low-lying islands consisting of fairly sparse stands of Silver Maple surrounded by extensive marshes and seagrass beds.|
|Faunistic and floristic importance||Wetlands and island environments serving as important breeding grounds and a popular staging area for migratory birds.|
|Invasive species||Reed Canarygrass and Purple Loosestrife. Zebra and Quagga mussels live in the surrounding waters.|
|Additional links||Mammal: Muskrat, Beaver, American Mink, Coyote, and Red Fox.|
|Main threats and challenges||Erosion attributable to the regulation of water levels in the Seaway, the impact of human activity on wildlife species and habitats, and the presence of invasive alien species. Hunting and poaching, gaps in scientific knowledge, contaminated sediment and accidental marine spills pose additional threats to conservation in the wildlife area.|
|Management Agency||Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)|
|Public access and usage||Access prohibited and no activities authorized without a permit.|
Note: If there is a discrepancy between the information presented on this web page and any notice posted at the NWA site, the notice prevails as it is the legal instrument authorizing the activity.
Environment and Climate Change Canada - Quebec Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
801-1550, avenue d'Estimauville
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
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