Protect wildlife

Several special-status species are found on Port of Montreal territory. Here are our actions to protect them.

The Copper Redhorse is the only species of fish that is unique to Quebec. It lives in the shallow grass beds around the archipelagos of the St. Lawrence River and in freshwater lakes such as Lake Saint-Pierre and Lake Saint-Louis. These grassbeds are rich in gastropods, a class of molluscs, which make up 90% of the Copper Redhorse's diet. Once hatched, Copper Redhorse fry find refuge and food in the grass beds along the river. Studies conducted since the early 1990s show that the Copper Redhorse has difficulty reproducing in the wild and that the population is aging. To offset the impact of the container terminal project in Contrecœur on its habitat, the MPA is considering, in particular, the implementation of a project to improve water quality in the Richelieu River watershed, the establishment of grass beds in the Contrecœur sector, participation in a research program on assisted reproduction and participation in an educational program on the Copper Redhorse for river users.

The Bank Swallow is the smallest swallow in North America. Its nesting sites are protected. The MPA is involved in several projects to protect its habitat. In 2019, together with the Grand Council of the Waban-Aki Nation, it built three artificial nesting boxes in concrete and sand in Contrecœur, and plans to build three more in 2020. In the long term, these nesting boxes could lead to making 1,200 burrows available for nesting. The biologists on the project were very impressed by how quickly the swallows took possession of the ‘condos’ offered to them in 2019.

A nesting box for Bank Swallows was also installed at Section 110 in Montreal's east end in collaboration with the NPO priority intervention zone, known by its French acronym ZIP (for Zone d’Intervention Priorité), the Jacques-Cartier ZIP Committee under the St. Lawrence Action Fund (SLAF), to which the MPA makes a financial contribution. Also through the SLASF and with the participation of the Jacques-Cartier ZIP Committee, four nesting boxes for Purple Martins will be installed in 2020 on the Great Tailhandier Flats that are part of the Boucherville Islands Archipelago.

The Western Chorus Frog is one of the smallest anuran species in Quebec. The species is rare and numbers are currently low. Studies conducted by government agencies since the 1990s have confirmed that it has lost nearly 90% of its historical range in the Montérégie region, where it was present in abundance in the 1950s. In developing its container terminal project in Contrecœur, the MPA took into account the Western Chorus Frog so as to ensure that activities would not encroach on its habitat. Though the developments will be located well away from its habitat, the MPA has planned to put in place several mitigation measures for preventive purposes.

 

A bird of prey known for its fast flight, the peregrine falcon seeks high sites for nesting. Several nesting sites have been observed on structures in the Port of Montreal. To help protect the species, the MPA regularly monitors nesting and adapts its work schedules to minimize impacts.

The Least Bittern, the smallest heron in the Western Hemisphere, has a natural habitat in densely vegetated marshes. Nesting sites can be found on the Boucherville Islands, which are administered by the MPA. It is noteworthy that in April 2019, the MPA committed to work with Environment and Climate Change Canada to have these islands designated a National Wildlife Area.

Preserve green spaces

The MPA pledged to plant 2,000 trees by 2024 to strengthen the canopy on Montreal territory as part of an initiative of the Greening Leaders Committee of Montreal. The MPA has been a member since 2018, and has already planted more than 700 trees in recent years.

After a massive makeover, the Grand Quay of the Port of Montreal was inaugurated on June 3, 2018. Formerly known as Alexandra Pier, the site has been renovated and upgraded, with significant changes to its mission and its place at the heart of downtown Montreal. Developing the green roof and the park area made it possible to replace previously concrete and unvegetated surfaces with vegetated surfaces. It is noteworthy that the project to upgrade the MPA’s Grand Quay won the prestigious Corps Public award at the Gala Montréal durable. It was singled out for its positive impact in terms of sustainable development through its landscape planning, its shore power system and its approach to connecting with the community.

Formerly owned by the Port of Montreal, Promenade-Bellerive Park was ceded to the city in 1964. Today, it is a vast 2.2-kilometre green space bordering the St. Lawrence River, featuring a bicycle path, a trail and views of the river and the Boucherville Islands.

Every year since 2011, MPA employees have taken part in the park’s shoreline cleanup, organized by Fednav as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

Few people know that the MPA administers Île Verte and eight islands in the Boucherville Islands. Five of these islands - Dufault, Lafontaine, Montbrun, Tourte Blanche and the Tailhandier tidal flats - have been the subject of an intensive fish habitat rehabilitation program. In all, more than 28 hectares of quality fish habitat have been developed to facilitate their spawning, movement and living conditions. In April 2019, the MPA committed to working with Environment and Climate Change Canada to designate these islands as a National Wildlife Area.

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Water quality

Hydrodynamic separators

To reduce the discharge of suspended solids and hydrocarbons into the river, 19 hydrodynamic separators acting as storm water treatment systems have been installed to date on MPA territory.

The Port financially supports the St. Lawrence Action Fund.-Laurent

This registered charity is dedicated to providing financial support for projects that promote the conservation of the ecosystems and biodiversity of the St. Lawrence River and its Gulf. The MPA selected four projects, to: preserve Purple Martin colonies; produce a wetland restoration and conservation plan; control common water reeds at the Lavaltrie marsh; develop the Important Bird Area (IBA) in the Îles de Contrecoeur National Wildlife Area.

Air quality

In 2017, the MPA implemented an electrical power system at its cruise terminal and shore power systems for wintering ships to provide cleaner energy during their stay. Installing a shore power system is not only a competitive advantage, but also significantly reduces environmental impact. It lets cruise ships and wintering vessels turn off their engines while docked, while maintaining air conditioning, refrigeration, security systems and services for the duration of their stay (an average of 10 hours for cruise ships). This new technology reduces noise, vibration, smoke and GHG emissions from diesel engine combustion gases by approximately five (5) tonnes of GHG emissions at each connection. By 2019, more than 1,350 tonnes of GHGs had been saved and it is estimated that 2,800 tonnes of GHGs per year can be avoided in the long term. Given that it is powered by Hydro-Québec, our system offers a clean, internationally peerless solution by using renewable energy.

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See the video

In May 2017, the Port of Montreal was the first port in Canada to provide dockside liquefied natural gas (LNG) refuelling by truck for commercial vessels. A total of five Groupe Desgagnés bi-fuel/LNG vessels refuelled at Port of Montreal facilities in 2019. The number of liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering operations increased from four in 2017 to 42 in 2019. The 74 LNG bunkering operations carried out in less than three years prevented 21,000 tonnes of GHG emissions. 

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An inventory of GHGs and air contaminants throughout Port territory (Montreal and Contrecoeur) was carried out in 2010 and 2017 using the tool developed by Transport Canada for ports and licensed to Green Marine for its members. About ten terminal operators participated in this inventory, the results of which can be consulted in the annual sustainable development report. The intensity of the MPA's GHG emissions per tonne of cargo handled has been steadily decreasing for the past seven years. Since the control year 2007, it has decreased by 45%, an average reduction of close to 4% per year.

Soil reclamation

In 2015, the Port of Montreal carried out a project to reclaim soils by means of a stabilization and solidification (S/S) treatment as part of the redevelopment of the Port of Montreal's Viau sector.

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Reduce the sources of pollution

GHG emissions

  • Hybrid vehicles

The MPA’s vehicle fleet consists almost exclusively of hybrid vehicles.

  • Next generation locomotives

The MPA’s locomotives have been replaced by Genset multi-generator locomotives that reduce GHG emissions by close to 30%.

  • Trucking PORTal

The MPA developed a web and mobile application to optimize truck routes to and from Port of Montreal terminals and ultimately reduce the Port's environmental footprint. This tool displays real-time truck processing times on Port territory so that drivers and dispatchers can make informed choices about their route through the Port, better plan their route to the terminals, avoid traffic congestion and save time, all while reducing trucking-related greenhouse gases (GHGs). Since 2019, this tool has been enhanced and now uses artificial intelligence to provide predictive 24-hour truck wait times. An initial assessment of this initiative’s beneficial impacts is a six-minute reduction in the total processing time for trucks (from the time they entered the Port to the time they left), a drop of more than 200 tonnes of GHGs annually compared to 2018, despite an 8% growth in the number of trucks coming to the Port compared to 2018.

Find out more about the Trucking PORTal: Trucking PORTal.

 

Noise and light

  • Installation of broadband (white noise) backup alarms

To reduce noise pollution caused by container handling activities, white noise alarms have replaced audible backup alarms for equipment on the terminals. The MPA has done the same with is service vehicles. Unlike traditional audible alarms, which emit a higher pitched noise level, white noise backup alarms use a broad frequency range. White noise backup alarms emit a softer sound to the ear that dissipates quickly. The sound is audible only in the safety zone, resulting in less noise while ensuring worker safety.

  • Ban on noisy work and lighting in certain areas of the Port after 7 p.m.

  • Noise level of handling equipment alarms set at the minimum safe level on terminals

  • Optimization of lighting and reduction of light pollution on container terminals by requiring precise electrical technical specifications on lighting fixture components to ensure targeted lighting while maintaining safety

  • Bio-based grease lubricants on the rail track in the Old Port to reduce the noise of rail convoys

 

Recycling and material recovery program

 

involvement in various committees and support of several environmental organizations

 logo allianceverte frIn 2007, the MPA joined members of the maritime community to found Green Marine, an industry initiative of the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes that aims to guide the maritime industry towards environmental excellence. Its mission is to make maritime transport greener and more sustainable.

 

The Port of Montreal is involved in various committees and support of several environmental organizations, such as:

  • ACPA ((Association of Canadian Port Authorities)
  • Green Marine
  • Good Neighbourhood Committee
  • Corporate social responsibility group of CPEQ (Conseil Patronal de l’Environnement du Québec)
  • NCC (Navigation Coordinating Committee)
  • Stratégies Saint-Laurent Committee https://www.strategiessl.qc.ca/english
  • Committee on the Integrated Management of Dredging and Sediments
  • Îles-de-Contrecoeur National Wildlife Area (NWA) Important Bird Area (IBA) standing coordination committee
  • Sustainable Development Committee of the MPA
  • Jacques-Cartier ZIP (priority intervention zone) Committee
  • Strategic Council of the Upper St. Lawrence/Greater Montreal Regional Round Table (RRT)
  • Initiatives for the Future of Great Rivers