Acquisition of the Mitan archipelago

Mitan archipelago is located downstream of the Prairie River (on the eastern part near Jesus island), just before its confluence with the Saint-Lawrence River. This 68 hectare archipelago was created by the clustering of five Islands: Moulin Island, Migneron Island, Bois Debout Island, Mitan Island and Charpentier Island. It is located on the Atlantic migration trajectory which explains why the densely vegetated flooded channels separating the islands are such a prized wildlife habitat for waterfowls and fish. The inland portions of these islands are dominated by dry prairies, floodplains and herbaceous wetlands. The importance of this site for wildlife was discovered in 1980 through studies conducted by ‘’Service Archipel’’, which recommended the full protection of this archipelago.



From the acquisition to the acknowledgment of the archipelago

During the 90s, urban development was pushed and encouraged on islands and shores. It became critical to find a way to perpetually protect these rich wildlife habitats in order to maintain their natural resources.



In 2002, CRE de Laval initiated acquisition processes with the Ministry of the Environment of Quebec through the national program for a network of protected areas on private land (Programme national pour le développement d’un réseau privé d’aires protégées). We then collaborated with the City of Laval and the Ministry of the Environment of Quebec and finally made an offer to acquire this archipelago. In the summer of 2004, we launched an observation campaign to describe the main ecological characteristics of the site. This successful initiative brought out the presence of vulnerable and threatened plant species, including the green dragon (Arisaema dracontium), a threatened species in Quebec. We were then truly convinced the Mitan archipelago had to be recognized as a protected area. 


In October 2004, our organization finally announced that the Mitan archipelago had been acquired with the financial contribution of the City of Laval and the Ministry of the Environment of Quebec. We then initiated recognition processes to ensure the archipelago would be considered a protected area. In 2007, this exceptional ecosystem became one of the 24 natural reserves on private land in the province of Quebec. The ownership titles were transferred to the City of Laval on February 26, 2008.


And today?

Mitan archipelago is now a municipal natural reserve and finds permanent protection through the Quebec government. Only a few facilities are allowed onsite and must maintain an extremely low impact on the environment. For example, hiking trails, wooden footbridges, observation docks and welcoming areas are among the few potential options. 


You may consult the repository (French-written) produced by the Réseau de milieux naturels protégés to visualize the protected area.



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