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

Context and project description

This project aims to improve the fish habitat in the flood plains of Lake Saint-Pierre, or rather to continue to improve it because, since 2003,  eight hectares of habitat have already been restored in an approach conscious of the cohabitation of agriculture and wildlife. 

A fresh water basin located furthest downstream in the St. Lawrence, Lake Saint-Pierre includes the largest flood plain in Quebec. At least half of the 78 species of fish in the lake reproduce or eat in the calm waters of the spring freshet. However, a significant portion of this coastline, used for agricultural purposes, was converted into field crops that leave little plant substrate to be used as a habitat for fish during the freshet, all while increasing erosion. Therefore, we want to continue the project that was started in 2003 by restoring the areas with a high potential as a habitat and with the lowest agricultural potential. To do so, we must first define these areas through modeling. Particular continued attention must be given to reproduction areas for perch, the emblematic species of Lake Saint-Pierre, whose situation has deteriorated in the last 20 years, to the point where there was a moratorium on their exploitation.


As part of this project, 13 watercourses around Lake Saint-Pierre have been enhanced since 2003 in order to improve fish habitat. Given the precarious situation of the yellow perch population in Lake Saint-Pierre, the habitat needs of this indicator species were used to identify priority areas for restoration. Conservation agreements have been signed with 89 agricultural landowners to reduce the pressure exerted on habitats by farming activities. A scientific article [1] published recently in Le Naturaliste canadien describes the situation of the yellow perch population in Lake Saint-Pierre. It states that yellow perch need a healthy environment with accessible, high-quality habitats for their recovery. Habitat restoration is therefore required in this part of the St. Lawrence.

[1] For more information, see the article, “Restauration des habitats du lac Saint-Pierre : un prérequis au rétablissement de la perchaude” (Le Naturaliste canadien, 2014, No. 138, pp. 50–61).

Participating departments

Government of Canada

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada

Government of Quebec

  • Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques
  • Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation
  • Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs