Biodiversity Management Plan

Table of Contents


Executive Summary


Background Information

Research Question







Research Team





























































































Golden Eagle
In order to ensure the survival of the Golden Eagle, human activity would need to be limited, as the species is extremely “shy” and has been known to desert nests during incubation periods because of human disturbance. It is also an easy target for hunters, so enforcement of the hunting ban on the property needs to be established. The pasture would need to be maintained in order for hunting to take place. Power lines and other utility equipment would need to be excluded, since the species has a history of high electrocution rates and will use them as perches. Generally, habitat protection would need to be ensured for the survival of the Golden Eagle population.

Rufous-sided Towhee
If the site was to be maintained for the Rufous-sided Towhee, some form of secondary succession would need to be maintained and small predators (cats, raccoons) would need to be excluded. The species benefits from regular burning, but this is not currently being considered at the site. Again, since the property is not within the natural range, it simply may not be possible to support a population of the Rufous-sided Towhee.

Sedge Wren
The timing and method of mowing, haying, or grazing determine whether or not Sedge Wrens will continue to be benefited by a pasture (Delisle and Savidge, 1997). Mowing and haying operations should not be allowed during the breeding season or directly before (i.e. time is needed to allow for structural complexity). Winter grazing may substantially reduce availability of cover and nesting substrate for spring arrivals (Delisle and Savidge, 1997) and should therefore be limited. Grazing in the lower pasture must be reduced if it is to be used by this species. Chemical spraying for weeds, such as the Purple Loosestrife, should only be allowed on a spot-by-spot basis during non-nesting seasons (Delisle and Savidge, 1997). Access by people to the pasture should be limited during the breeding season. Hydro-Québec towers and the like should not be allowed on the property. The site should be added to the listed sites for the Breeding Bird Site Inventory Program for endangered species in Québec for monitoring purposes.

Wild Turkey
More protected forest must be ensured to protect this species on the site. Further forest purchases should be adjacent to existing forests, or not more than one mile away (as this is the flight distance limit of this species).

Red-headed Woopecker
Dead and dying trees along with snags should be left intact to provide suitable habitat for the Red-headed Woodpecker. If the Red-headed Woodpecker is going to fend well against populations of the European starling, European starling populations (which are doing well) need to be controlled. Car collisions are a major concern for the Red-headed Woodpecker (they often swoop close to roads for prey). Reduced speed limits are necessary to help decrease incidents of road mortality. Since this is a nature preserve, logging, fire-wood cutting and snag harvesting is not really a concern as such activities will likely not be tolerated. Fire will likely be suppressed for the most part in a nature preserve and reforestation is a natural process that will likely occur - it is essential, however, to maintain open habitat for the Red-headed Woodpecker. This may include such activities as pruning shrubbery or thinning out particular sections of the forest. These types of activities may or may not be necessary, however, as the Red-headed Woodpecker could be making use of other natural open spaces such as the pasture because of its generalist behavior. The introduction of new creosote telephone poles into the nature preserve should obviously not be permitted.
The occurrence of the Red-headed Woodpecker on the nature preserve needs to be determined.

Grasshopper Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrows tend to select sites 1 to 2 years after they have been burned (grasses are patchy and begin to reach intermediate heights). During years of drought, burnings should be avoided because there may not be enough healthy vegetation to support the Grasshopper Sparrow. Mowing hayfields and other agricultural lands less often and preferably many weeks prior to breeding season will likely be beneficial to the Grasshopper Sparrow (this has proven to be successful along many airport runways). Moderate grazing is a good idea because it provides a patchy habitat with a diversity of grass heights. In larger areas (i.e. greater than 80 hectares), a mixture of burnings, mowing and moderate grazing can be beneficial creating a mosaic habitat of different successional stages over different time periods - this would be an efficient management strategy of grasslands for the Grasshopper Sparrow. The reduction of edge effects through the creation of a buffer zone would also be advisable. Any other activities that damage the ground habitat of Grasshopper Sparrows such as the use of ATVs would clearly be detrimental as these are crucial nesting sites.

Short-eared Owl
Domestic animals such as cats and dog should not be permitted on the property. Mowing or grazing of the existing pastures should be undertaken and supervised to ensure that the length of the vegetation remains close to the ideal 50 cm. Hunting should be prohibited on the property and chemical spraying should be limited as much as possible. The purchase and protection of surrounding property that contain grassland should be considered.

Western Chorus Frog
The wetlands of the area must be protected so that they do not decrease in area and remain free of contaminants. Pesticide use must be very limited or eliminated as it could threaten the Western Chorus Frog’s food source. Herbicides and pesticides should be limited as to prevent the contamination of the wetlands. Any ditches on the property should be cleaned in such a way that the frog would not be disturbed.

Cooper’s Hawk
Cooper’s Hawks feed on European Starlings. This could benefit the Red-Headed Woodpecker on the site since the starling is a strong competitor.
The use of organochlorine pesticides should be restricted to an on-the-spot use, if used at all, because it decreases the hawk’s reproductive success.



Target flora species were prioritized according to the seriousness of the threats to each present on the site. The two species of highest concern are Rock Elm and Wild Leek. Rock Elm is threatened by Dutch elm disease, whereas wild leak faces risk of extirpation in Quebec due to intensive harvesting.
Steps to be taken:

Rock Elm
Young trees of Rock Elm do not often grow past twenty centimeters in trunk diameter before they are killed by the disease. Isolated individuals on the site tend to survive longer. Further details on the extent of the problem are currently unknown. Assessment of extent of the disease and implementation of a program to deal with this threat requires immediate attention in order to prevent the Rock Elm populations from declining.

Wild Leek
Wild Leek is found on the forested slope on shingly sandy loam. The major threat to this species is harvesting by humans, which is suspected to occur on the site. Harvesting should be prohibited because computer models of this species show that even harvesting rates of 5-15% caused population decline (Nault et Gagnon, 1993). The population of Wild Leek should be assessed because the minimal viable population of this species is estimated to be 300 to 1000 individuals.


© 2002 McGill Shool of Environment
McGill University
3534 University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2A7