• John Jantak

Senneville awaits signatures to protect endangered Northern Map Turtle


Senneville is awaiting the signing of a partnership between the village, the Ecomuseum Zoo, Broccolini Construction and Hydro-Québec to protect the Northern Map Turtle on Girwood Island it was announced at the Monday evening council meeting, February 23.

Senneville aims to take care of its population of endangered Northern Map Turtle’s on Girwood Island just west of the village as part of a partnership with the Ecomuseum Zoo, Broccolini Construction and Hydro-Québec, it was announced at the Monday evening council meeting, February 23.

Specific details weren’t revealed because the partnership arrangement still has to be signed, but village Director General and Treasurer Vanessa Roach said council adopted a resolution in 2012 that designated Girwood Island as a conservation area.

“There’s a project now that has been put into place where there will be a specific five-year period, in which an area will be protected so that the turtles can lay their eggs,” said Roach in response to a resident’s question about the project.

Mayor Jane Guest said the initiative was spearheaded by the Ecomuseum Zoo in Ste. Anne de Bellevue which aims to use special cages to snare predatory animals, such as raccoons, and relocate them in order to protect the turtle’s breeding grounds and eggs.

“The project is to study their habitat and safeguard them from extinction,” Guest told Your Local Journal after the meeting. “It’s an interesting project because the Map Turtle is an endangered species and that particular location is one of their biggest breeding grounds. It’s very significant because it’s around the yacht club and under the bridge area.”

An official from the Ecomuseum Zoo was also unable to comment on the project, but its website states that it has been working with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) since 2013 to draft a plan which would protect the Northern Map Turtle in the Lake of Two Mountains region.

“The goal of this plan is to identify management and protective measures for key habitats used by the species, as well as to provide recommendations to mitigate the impact of threats to the population,” states the Ecomuseum Zoo website. Nathalie Zinger, NCC Regional Vice President in Quebec stated on its website that, “The conservation plan for the Map Turtle population of the Montreal Archipelago aims to identify concrete recommendations to protect and improve the map turtle’s habitat as well as to decrease population loss and to reduce disturbance.”

The NCC website also states that the Northern Map Turtle which is, “… named for the yellow concentric patterns on its shell similar to the contour lines used on geographical maps, lives in the most populated and industrialized areas of Quebec and Ontario, where it can be found in large bodies of water such as the Saint Lawrence River.

It is mainly threatened by the loss and modification of its habitat and by fatalities and wounds associated with boating activities.”

Highway 40 runs across Girwood Island as part of the Île aux Tourtes Bridge which connects one portion of the western part of the Island of Montreal to the off-island municipality of Vaudreuil-Dorion. There is no public access to the island which is administered by the provincial Ministry of Transport.

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