Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 92.73
Liaison Emmanuelle Jodoin
Submission Date Oct. 24, 2022

STARS v2.2

Université de Sherbrooke
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Patrice Cordeau
Assistant Vice-President, Sustainable Development
Office of the Vice-President, Administration and Sustainable Development
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution own or manage land that includes or is adjacent to legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, or regions of conservation importance?:
Yes

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:

MONT-BELLEVUE PARK

Since 2018, the Université de Sherbrooke and the Ville de Sherbrooke have been collaborating on a project to create a natural reserve in Mont-Bellevue Park, recognized under the Loi sur la conservation du patrimoine naturel [EN: Natural Heritage Conservation Act]. The project proposal is currently being studied by the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC) [EN: Québec Ministry of Environment and Fight against Climate Change].

Adjacent to the main campus, Mont-Bellevue Park, with its 202 hectares of land including Mount Bellevue and Mount John-S. Bourque, is considered the largest urban park in the Sherbrooke region. It is located near the Main Campus of Université de Sherbrooke, which manages and owns the park jointly with the Ville de Sherbrooke.

The park is well used and appreciated by the university community as well as by the citizens of Sherbrooke. It currently includes protected areas to ensure the conservation of its multiple ecosystems and remarkable biodiversity.

Two zones have been designated for the proposed natural reserve. These will make it possible to separate usage and use intensity within the natural reserve. A protected area will be developed where activities will be less intensive and more focused on observation of the natural environment. The main activities that will be practised within that zone will be hiking, cross-country skiing, teaching, and scientific research. A transition zone will also be created to allow for recreational activities such as mountain biking. In this last zone, activities will be well supervised.

The Ville de Sherbrooke is also located in the Réserve internationale de ciel étoilé du Mont-Mégantic (RICEMM) [EN: Mont-Mégantic International Dark Sky Reserve]. The conservation of Mont-Bellevue Park allows the city to reach its objectives of preserving its nocturnal integrity.

JOHNVILLE BOG & FOREST PARK

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classification of legally protected areas, Johnville Bog & Forest Park is a Category III Natural Monument or Feature. Since 2011, the Johnville Bog & Forest Park, with its 184 hectares, is recognized by the Loi sur la conservation du patrimoine naturel [EN: Natural Heritage Conservation Act] and the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC) [EN: Québec Ministry of the Environment and Fight against Climate Change]. It has been permanently protected to ensure the sustainability of its natural environments. In addition, Johnville Park is considered part of the Territoire d’intérêt écologique des lacs Jinks [EN : Jinks Lakes Ecological Interest Area], making it a fully conserved site.

The Université de Sherbrooke and Bishop's University, who have jointly owned the land since December 2010, have agreed, along with their partner Nature Eastern Townships (NET), that the land be subject to a real and permanent conservation easement. The easement, which binds not only on the current owners but also on any successor owners, prohibits activities that could negatively impact the wetlands and forests, such as drainage, road construction, or motorized public access. All recreational and educational activities intended for the general public and groups are maintained and even developed to meet everyone’s expectations of a managed and preserved natural environments.


Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify endangered and vulnerable species (including migratory species) with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution?:
Yes

A list of endangered and vulnerable species with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution, by level of extinction risk:

MONT-BELLEVUE PARK

As part of the ecological integrity monitoring program, fauna and flora inventories have been conducted since 2020 in the park's protected area. Through these first inventories, special-status species have been identified, as presented in the list below. As the monitoring program is ongoing, other inventories are planned for the future and will potentially identify other species with status.

Floristic species:
• Five-fingered fern (Adiantum pedatum): endangered
• Wild garlic (Allium tricoccum): vulnerable
• Twoleaf toothwort (Cardamine diphylla): vulnerable
• Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris): vulnerable
• Butternut (Juglans cinerea): near threatened
• Smooth arrowwood (Viburnum recognitum): near threatened

Amphibians:
• Northern dusky salamander (Desmognathus fuscus): near threatened

JOHNVILLE BOG & FOREST PARK

Within the framework of the conservation plan, inventories are carried out in the area known as the " Conservation Agreement", which is considered to be a point of ecological importance. Thanks to these inventories, several species of particular status have been identified, whether they are floristic species, amphibians, reptiles, birds, or mammals.

Floristic species:
• Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis): vulnerable
• Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris): vulnerable
• Butternut (Juglans cinerea): near threatened

Amphibians and reptiles:
• Wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta): vulnerable
• Ringed-Neck Snake (Diadophis punctatus): near threatened
• Northern dusky salamander (Desmognathus fuscus fuscus): near threatened

Birds:
• Olive-sided flycatcher (Contopus cooperi): near threatened
• Canada Warbler (Wilsonia canadensis): near threatened
• Chimney swift (Chaetura pelagica): near threatened
• Common nighthawk (Chordeiles minor): near threatened

Mammals:
• Southern bog lemming (Synaptomys cooperi): near threatened
• Rock vole (Microtus chrotorrhinus): near threatened
• Hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus): near threatened
• Silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans): near threatened


Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution?:
Yes

A brief description of areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution:

MONT-BELLEVUE PARK

Animal, plant, and ecosystem inventory projects carried out over the past several years have helped to better identify areas of significant biodiversity in Mont-Bellevue Park. Thus, strict conservation, general conservation and shoreline protection zones have been identified. In addition, according to the Ville de Sherbrooke's urban plan, the park is located in an area of ecological interest. Furthermore, according to the monitoring program, the area considered as a "natural reserve" would be 157 hectares out of the park's 202 hectares, or 78% of its total area.

Taking into account the urbanized context of the park, the ecological value is considered high. The presence of several special-status species, the large area occupied by forest, the diversity of forest communities, and the presence of wetlands contribute to this ecological value. Current and future human disturbances contribute to the park’s sensitivity, particularly in the streams and wetlands and in the riparian strips within the park boundaries. The park is divided into several zones, including a protected area where many species of status and ecosystem interest are found.

JOHNVILLE BOG & FOREST PARK

In order to obtain the status of a site of ecological importance, impact studies were carried out as part of the revised development plan of the Haut-Saint-François RCM (regional county municipality) to ensure that the entire park is managed in such a way as to conserve biodiversity and ecological functions of the natural environments concerned (particularly the habitats of species at risk). In addition, 75% of Johnville Park is made up of land under a conservation servitude where rare natural elements for the region are preserved, such as the peat bog and ombrotrophic ponds that are currently in good condition.

The Johnville Bog & Forest Park site includes, among other things, a variety of forest stands as well as wetlands, such as ponds and an ombrotrophic bog, which is quite rare in the Appalachians. The richness of these many habitats gives this park a unique characteristic. In fact, some of the species inventoried are usually found further north in the province, which makes the biodiversity of the site exceptional. In addition, the ecological functions of this site are important for the fauna, flora, and human communities that live alongside them, despite the fact that they are sensitive to the anthropic pressures and disturbances that surround them.


The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or areas of biodiversity importance and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

MONT-BELLEVUE PARK

A conservation plan for Mont-Bellevue Park was prepared in 2007 by Corridor appalachien, a non-profit conservation organization whose mission is to protect the natural environments of the Appalachian region of southern Québec. In 2013, Destination Sherbrooke (Ville de Sherbrooke's tourism office) produced a report that included a summary characterization of the environments and species in Mont-Bellevue Park. In 2019, the working committee of the Université de Sherbrooke, in collaboration with students from the Bachelor of Environmental Studies program, developed an Ecological Integrity Monitoring Program (EIMP) to support the application for recognition of the Mont-Bellevue Park as a wildlife reserve with the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC) [EN: Québec Ministry of the Environment and Fight against Climate Change].

The methodology used in this program has made it possible to monitor the evolution of the park using previously selected indicators. These indicators were chosen according to two main components: ecosystems and humans. For the ecosystem component, inventories were carried out on the park's fauna and flora species using different inventory methods: listening stations for birds, observation stations for certain fauna species, and transects for other inventories. Thus, within the framework of this program, an inventory has already been carried out at the end of 2021 based on various indicators: monitoring of shrub species in relation to the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) depredation, presence and abundance of exotic invasive species, status of plant species, status of fauna species (temporary ponds amphibians, stream salamanders, discrete winter species, chiropterans, nesting birds). The identification of threatened or vulnerable species was carried out by the Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec [EN: Québec Natural Heritage Data Centre] of the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC) [EN: Québec Ministry of the Environment and Fight against Climate Change] in conjunction with the adoption of the Act respecting threatened or vulnerable species and the Species at Risk Act. As for the human component, inventories of punctual anthropic disturbances have been carried out, where structures such as wood cabins and fire areas have been identified. Other actions were also carried out in order to determine the impact of anthropic pressure on the park's natural environments: analysis of the trails used, analysis of the fragmentation of the territory caused by human disturbances, and inventory of wetlands.

The fauna and flora inventories carried out also made it possible to delineate areas of the park's important biodiversity through different zones. The strict conservation zone includes natural environments such as permanent or temporary ponds, shoreline areas, habitat protection zones for special-status species, and any other natural environment essential to the resilience of the park ecosystem. General conservation zones include the remaining natural environments not mentioned in the strict zone, and where only scientific, educational, or status species recovery activities are permitted.

Mont-Bellevue Park is designated as a unique urban park with high ecological value, including sensitive environments with high ecological value. It has also been the subject of several research and monitoring projects, notably by students from the Université de Sherbrooke.

JOHNVILLE BOG & FOREST PARK

A conservation plan for Johnville Bog & Forest Park was created in 2012 by the organization Nature Eastern Townships (NET) and is still in action in 2022. A zone of ecological interest was determined through an easement act and includes rare natural sites for the region, namely a bog and ombrotrophic ponds. This zone constitutes the main territory of the park under conservation and where inventories, monitoring, and actions to protect the habitats of fauna and flora species are carried out. This land, known as the conservation easement, covers 75% of the Johnville Bog & Forest Park, or 172 hectares out of the park's total of 228 hectares.

As was done for Mont-Bellevue Park, the identification of threatened or vulnerable species was also undertaken through the Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec [EN: Québec Natural Heritage Data Centre] of the MELCC in conjunction with the adoption of the Act respecting threatened or vulnerable species and the Species at Risk Act. Since the creation of the conservation plan, these species are regularly monitored through various research projects carried out by members (professors, researchers, students, etc.) of the Université de Sherbrooke, Bishop's University, and even the Université de Montréal.

The Johnville Bog is one of the last open bogs in the Estrie region. For this reason, it has great conservation value. Restoration work on the site was initiated in 2014. Since then, Nature Eastern Townships has been monitoring water quality and the evolution of the fauna and flora.

Since the creation of the conservation plan, the actions presented in it and the objectives set are still relevant, with continuous monitoring of the state of the ecoforest park, the various habitats, ecosystems, and fauna and flora species.


A brief description of the scope of the assessment(s):

MONT-BELLEVUE PARK

Since 2019, the Université de Sherbrooke has set up a team to work on an ecological integrity monitoring program, in which the state of health of the park is evaluated based on ecosystem and human indicators. In order to carry out this project, inventories have already been carried out on certain species of fauna and flora, and others are also planned for the future, particularly with regard to mammal and bird species.

JOHNVILLE BOG & FOREST PARK

The conservation plan of the Johnville Bog Park, implemented in 2012, aims to monitor the state of the ecosystems present in the park, and more specifically in the land under conservation servitude. Numerous inventories have been carried out in the past to observe the presence of special-status species and to better define the fields of action related to the conservation and protection of these species. Currently the status of the park’s species and ecosystems is closely monitored, and the data is updated.


A brief description of the plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats, and/or ecosystems:

MONT-BELLEVUE PARK

First, the Regroupement du Mont Bellevue, the Ville de Sherbrooke, and the Université de Sherbrooke collaborate in the management and monitoring of the park's conservation and ecological integrity programs. Secondly, the practical work carried out as part of the two bachelor's degrees, the ecology one and the environment one, at the Université de Sherbrooke ensures that the environment is monitored. In addition to these actions, the conservation organization Nature Eastern Townships is responsible for managing data on environments and species. The Alliance pour la réserve naturelle du parc du Mont-Bellevue brings together several groups of users of Mont-Bellevue and aims to encourage citizen participation and to consolidate the various uses of the site while respecting the conservation aspects of the nature reserve project. Finally, the ecology integrity monitoring program set up in 2019 is still in underway and aims to assure a monitoring of both the ecosystems and the species in the park, where inventories are scheduled for the coming years.

JOHNVILLE BOG & FOREST PARK

The natural environment conservation organization Nature Eastern Townships manages and monitors the park's programs in close collaboration with the other partners, including the Université de Sherbrooke.

In 2012, the partners adopted a two-part conservation approach:
1. The development of a comprehensive conservation plan for the Johnville Bog and the Racey Creek watershed
2. The voluntary conservation approach for private landowners adjacent to the Johnville Bog & Forest Park

The main objective of this plan is to preserve a buffer zone at the bog, thus allowing for the continued conservation of this unique site. The Johnville Forest Park Conservation Plan is still in effect, wanting to pursue its goals since 2012.


Estimated percentage of areas of biodiversity importance that are also protected areas :
76.50

Website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

MONT-BELLEVUE PARK
https://www.parcmontbellevue.com/reservenaturelle
https://www.usherbrooke.ca/developpement-durable/campus/amenagements/parc-du-mont-bellevue

JOHNVILLE BOG & FOREST PARK
http://www.naturecantonsdelest.ca/index.html
https://www.usherbrooke.ca/developpement-durable/campus/amenagements/parc-ecoforestier-de-johnville

_____

References for the list of species that are vulnerable, threatened, or likely to be designated as such:

MONT-BELLEVUE PARK:

Floristic species:
• Five fingered fern (Adiantum pedatum): https://www.environnement.gouv.qc.ca/biodiversite/especes-designees-susceptibles/adiante/index.htm
• Wild garlic (Allium tricoccum): https://www.environnement.gouv.qc.ca/biodiversite/especes-designees-susceptibles/ail/index.htm
• Twoleaf toothwort (Cardamine diphylla): https://www.environnement.gouv.qc.ca/biodiversite/especes-designees-susceptibles/dentaire-deux-feuilles/index.htm
• Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris): https://www.environnement.gouv.qc.ca/biodiversite/especes-designees-susceptibles/matteuccie/index.htm
• Butternut (Juglans cinerea): https://www.canada.ca/fr/environnement-changement-climatique/services/registre-public-especes-peril/evaluations-rapports-situations-cosepac/noyer-cendre-2017.html
• Smooth arrowwood (Viburnum recognitum): https://www.legisquebec.gouv.qc.ca/fr/document/rc/E-12.01,%20r.%204%20/

Amphibians and reptiles:
• Northern dusky salamander (Desmognathus fuscus fuscus): https://www3.mffp.gouv.qc.ca/faune/especes/menacees/fiche.asp?noEsp=25

JOHNVILLE BOG & FOREST PARK:

Floristic species:
• Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis): https://www.environnement.gouv.qc.ca/biodiversite/especes-designees-susceptibles/sanguinaire/index.htm
• Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris): https://www.environnement.gouv.qc.ca/biodiversite/especes-designees-susceptibles/matteuccie/index.htm
• Butternut (Juglans cinerea): https://www.canada.ca/fr/environnement-changement-climatique/services/registre-public-especes-peril/evaluations-rapports-situations-cosepac/noyer-cendre-2017.html

Amphibians and reptiles:
• Wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta): https://www3.mffp.gouv.qc.ca/faune/especes/menacees/fiche.asp?noEsp=71
• Ringed-Neck Snake (Diadophis punctatus): https://www.quebec.ca/agriculture-environnement-et-ressources-naturelles/faune/gestion-faune-habitats-fauniques/especes-fauniques-menacees-vulnerables/liste
• Northern dusky salamander (Desmognathus fuscus fuscus): https://www3.mffp.gouv.qc.ca/faune/especes/menacees/fiche.asp?noEsp=25

Birds:
• Olive-sided flycatcher (Contopus cooperi): https://www.quebec.ca/agriculture-environnement-et-ressources-naturelles/faune/gestion-faune-habitats-fauniques/especes-fauniques-menacees-vulnerables/liste#c159756
• Canada Warbler (Wilsonia canadensis): https://wildlife-species.canada.ca/species-risk-registry/virtual_sara/files/cosewic/sr_Canada_Warbler_2020_e.pdf
• Chimney swift (Chaetura pelagica): https://www.quebec.ca/agriculture-environnement-et-ressources-naturelles/faune/gestion-faune-habitats-fauniques/especes-fauniques-menacees-vulnerables/liste#c159756
• Common nighthawk (Chordeiles minor): https://www.quebec.ca/agriculture-environnement-et-ressources-naturelles/faune/gestion-faune-habitats-fauniques/especes-fauniques-menacees-vulnerables/liste#c159756

Mammals:
• Southern bog lemming (Synaptomys cooperi): https://www3.mffp.gouv.qc.ca/faune/especes/menacees/fiche.asp?noEsp=51
• Rock vole (Microtus chrotorrhinus): https://www3.mffp.gouv.qc.ca/faune/especes/menacees/fiche.asp?noEsp=50
• Hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus): https://www3.mffp.gouv.qc.ca/faune/especes/menacees/fiche.asp?noEsp=55
• Silver haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans): https://www3.mffp.gouv.qc.ca/faune/especes/menacees/fiche.asp?noEsp=54

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.