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Estuary Islands National Wildlife Area Management Plan [Proposed]

5. Management approaches

This section summarizes the approaches and actions presented in Table 6 and that are likely to be used in managing Estuary Islands National Wildlife Area. Management actions will be indicated in more detail during the annual planning process and will be implemented depending on available financial and human resources and according to the approaches described below.

5.1 Habitat management

Habitat management will be aimed first at protecting plant communities. In some cases, restoring disturbed habitats (e.g. by the Double-crested Cormorant, the Snowshoe Hare and insects) or rehabilitating contaminated lands can be carried out to preserve natural environments, to mitigate the impacts of disturbances on plant biomass and plant succession in terrestrial environments, or to re-establish seabird populations (e.g. reforestation on Île Bicquette for the Common Eider population) and species at risk.

Integrating federal lands without National Wildlife Area status as well as other islands of conservation significance into the current National Wildlife Area could also help preserve wildlife habitats.

5.2 Wildlife management

Wildlife management will be based on the knowledge gained during surveys that have been completed to date. This knowledge will help in taking stock of many components of the National Wildlife Area’s biodiversity and in making informed decisions.

Direct predator control could continue on some islands to protect seabird colonies, while taking into consideration the guidelines in Environment Canada’s “Predator Management Policy”. If needed, specific management measures will be taken (e.g. installing nest boxes, protecting nesting areas) in order to protect seabird populations (including the Common Eider) whose numbers have been reduced due to wildlife diseases, predation, accidental spills and other factors.

To protect species at risk, the presence and abundance of the Peregrine Falcon and the Red Knot will need to be better documented. The recovery strategies for these species at risk will guide conservation activities in the National Wildlife Area. Collaboration with other specialists, departments and universities will also be favoured in order to promote learning and the protection of these species.

5.3 Monitoring

An ecological monitoring plan for the National Wildlife Area will be developed in the next five years to evaluate the National Wildlife Area’s health and to gather information that will help in making management decisions. This plan will be based on biological monitoring carried out by Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service and could include collaboration with regional and provincial partners. Ecological monitoring efforts will deal mostly with habitats (e.g. forests stressed by cormorant droppings, habitat dynamics), species at risk, species representative of the National Wildlife Area, and ecological and human stresses affecting the area. Efforts may also be made to standardize certain methods used to survey nesting seabirds in the National Wildlife Area. In addition, some specific monitoring programs conducted by the Canadian Wildlife Service or external organizations could continue in the coming years, such as the Canadian Wildlife Service’ seabird inventory program and the emergency plan in the event of mass bird mortality.

5.4 Research

Knowledge acquisition and research needs have been established for several groups of species and various management issues in the Conservation Plan of the Îles de l’estuaire National Wildlife Area (Canadian Wildlife Service, 2003). Since then, various surveys have been performed in the National Wildlife Area and have helped to address certain gaps. These priorities include better documenting the presence of rare or at- risk plant species, certain management problems (e.g. diseases affecting the Common Eider, the progressive reduction of its population over the past 25 years and the status of the forest on Île Bicquette) as well as ecological stresses and the impacts of human activities (e.g. waterfowl hunting, the extent of marine organism harvesting around the National Wildlife Area and the presence of invasive species). In addition, it would be helpful to improve knowledge about certain elements of the National Wildlife Area’s biological diversity (e.g. insects, algae, aquatic plants, amphibians, reptiles, plant life, habitats, shorebirds as well as the nesting and breeding of waterfowl).

Permits can be issued for research activities that are aligned with the priorities identified in the management plan and for scientific activities such as surveys, habitat restoration and enhancement works.

For permission to conduct research in Estuary Islands National Wildlife Area and for instructions on the guidelines for a research proposal, please contact:

National Wildlife Area – Research Request
Environment Canada
Canadian Wildlife Service
Québec Region
801-1550 d’Estimauville Avenue
Québec QC G1J 0C3
Email: permisSCFQuebec@ec.gc.ca

5.5 Public information and outreach

Estuary Islands National Wildlife Area is not open to the public, except Le Pot du Phare, where Environment Canada allows public outreach activities about conserving natural environments. These activities are currently carried out by Société Duvetnor Ltée, a local conservation organization, under a commercial permit issued by the Canadian Wildlife Service. Various public education and outreach measures are planned to prevent boaters and kayakers from landing in the National Wildlife Area and to limit disturbances to wildlife. These measures include improving signage on the National Wildlife Area’s boundaries as well as distributing pamphlets, installing posters and signs, or publishing notices that present general information about the National Wildlife Area and its applicable regulations.

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