Reduce agricultural sources of nonpoint source pollution

Point sources of contamination in the waters of the St. Lawrence, such as municipal and industrial effluents, are fairly well characterized and localized. On the other hand, nutrients and various contaminants from the agricultural areas cause nonpoint source pollution, which is at the origin of eutrophication and contamination problems in the waters of the St. Lawrence. Research of new solutions to reduce the sources and impacts of nonpont pollution is necessary.

Learn more about our projects that stem from this orientation.

Richelieu's "Corridor Vert et Bleu"

The Richelieu River is a jewel of biodiversity. It is home to a number of species in precarious situations, among them the copper redhorse. However, urban development and agricultural practices pose major challenges in terms of improving the river’s water quality and habitats. Moreover, the sediment and pollutants observed in the Richelieu flow into Lake Saint-Pierre. One-time restoration measures along the shorelines in this watershed are not sufficient for maintaining adequate water quality, and the participants and collaborators in the St. Lawrence Action Plan seek to implement a comprehensive conservation and restoration project. This initiative will make it possible to conserve a riparian strip to reduce water pollution and create an ecological corridor, install sedimentation systems in ditches and preserve, restore and connect natural spaces throughout the watershed area.

Read the explanatory brochure for the project.

Read the backgrounder for this project.

Develop agricultural water courses on the coastline in the lake Saint-Pierre flood plain

A significant portion of the Lake Saint-Pierre shoreline is used for agricultural purposes, with large blocks of land being gradually converted for large-scale farming, which reduces the substrate of plant material available in the spring for fish habitats. Several participants and collaborators have partnered to develop an approach for restoring these fish habitats. Seven watercourses have been restored since 2003, and this initiative will remain ongoing at a rate of one watercourse per year through 2016 to continue raising the profile of the Lake Saint-Pierre region in terms of sustainable agriculture.

Read the backgrounder for this project.

Continue the activities of the Agriculture Coordination Committee

The objective of this project is to foster increased collaboration among the leading stakeholders in the agriculture sector to establish a common vision of the environmental issues relating to the water quality of the St. Lawrence and its tributaries and to define solutions for protecting these aquatic ecosystems from an integrated management perspective.

Document riverine inputs of organic carbon and nutrients into the marine estuary in relation to hypoxia and acidification

An increase in riverine inputs of organic carbon and nutrients associated with human activities could lead to a eutrophication phenomenon in estuaries and coastal areas. This eutrophication can cause the proliferation of toxic or otherwise harmful algae and the development of hypoxic or acidified zones potentially threatening the health of the St. Lawrence. Documenting the sources and historical evolution of inputs of nutrients and organic matter and the effects of an increase in these inputs, along with the development of numerical prediction tools, will help add to knowledge in this area and support better prediction of these phenomena frequently linked to nonpoint agricultural pollution sources. 

Read the backgrounder for this project.

Improve knowledge about pathogenic organisms from agricultural sources found in tributaries of Lake Saint-Pierre

Livestock manure, cultivated fields and storage areas (manure piles and exercise yards) can contain pathogenic organisms that, on reaching waterways through runoff or agricultural drains, pose a risk to animals and people. In light of the fact that the fecal coliform concentrations measured in tributaries of Lake Saint-Pierre point to the potential presence of pathogenic bacteria, the partners and collaborators seek to gain a better understanding of the risk of water contamination caused by these pathogenic organisms by examining their links to agriculture and providing new information that may assist in decreasing this type of contamination at the source.

Read the backgrounder for this project.

Use the effects of harmful and toxic algae as indicators for monitoring the quality and eutrophication of the water

The proliferation of harmful and toxic algae in the St. Lawrence ecosystem constitutes a growing problem, the effects of which are not yet fully understood. The development of expertise will help provide a clearer understanding of the influence of these algae on the ecosystems in which they proliferate, whether in terms of identifying toxic algae, documenting the factors associated with their bloom and the production and spread of toxins or developing biomarkers and bioindicators. Adding to knowledge about these phenomena will enable the development of prediction tools for sectors at risk and the ecosystem components known to be sensitive to harmful and toxic algae.

Read the backgrounder for this project.

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