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2005

 

Green MSE Building

(Prof. Garry Peterson, formerly with McGill School of Environment)

 

Rooftop Gardens

(Prof. Garry Peterson, formerly with McGill School of Environment)

 

Residential Water Consumption Pricing - Montreal

(Mr. George McCourt, McGill School of Environment)

With water scarcity becoming an ever growing issue, water pollution, consumption and management threaten the accessible fresh water supply. The problem is further exacerbated due to the rapidly increasing water consumption and water leakage. The Groupe de Développement de la Gestion de l’Eau (GDGE) is part of the Service des Infrastructures, Transports et Environnement (SITE) of the City of Montreal. This group is responsible for developing and implementing a Water Management Plan for the city. This plan consists of restoring the deteriorating infrastructure and decreasing both the amount of water lost through leaks and the consumption of water as well as the amount spent by the city on this resource. The GDGE has been given a 20 year mandate with a ten billion dollar budget and aim to set up a plan which will guarantee long term water efficiency.

The purpose of the research undertaken for the GDGE was to gain a greater understanding of the water consumption patterns in Montreal. The GDGE therefore mandated this group to develop a questionnaire, which could be used across the island of Montreal to evaluate the consumption habits of residential neighborhoods. The factors investigated include real water usage, as determined by proxies and street averages, socio-economic background, education level and knowledge of water scarcity issues, conservation efforts, and rate structure.The questionnaire was then tested on a subpopulation that was comprised of single family houses in the borough of St. Laurent so that the work can be expanded to the island of Montreal in the future.

State of Eco-Villages in the Province of Quebec

(Mr. George McCourt, McGill School of Environment)

Over the last three decades, the ecovillage movement has grown considerably and has achieved international recognition as a United Nation's Best Practice. Across various cultures, nationalities, religions and languages, groups of people are banding together in the hope of leading a less environmentally destructive lifestyle. Some countries even have multiple communities with hundreds of members. However, a preliminary examination of ecovillage literature about Quebec led our research team to believe that the province was lagging behind other countries and the rest of Canada. Conversations with Carole Ricard, an Ecovillage Network of Canada representative, suggested that this might relate to Quebec's distinctive culture and laws; perhaps problems encountered in Quebec were not all the same as those experienced elsewhere. This project was then created with the purpose of identifying problems in Quebec ecovillages and in ecovillages abroad and comparing them to see if Quebec's situation was indeed different.

Wetlands of St.-Lazare 1

(Prof. Raja Sengupta, McGill School of Environment & Departmetn of Geography)

 

Wetlands of St.-Lazare 2

(Prof. Raja Sengupta, McGill School of Environment & Departmetn of Geography)

 

Cree Project in Wemindji

(Prof. Colin Scott, Department of Anthropology)

The overall goal of this project is to create a culturally-appropriate protected area in the Paakumshumwaau (Old Factory) watershed and the adjacent marine coast in partnership with the James Bay Cree community of Wemindji, Quebec. A culturally-appropriate protected area would provide the legal framework necessary to allow the community to successfully practice continued stewardship of iyiyuu ischii - roughly translated, the land and its diverse inhabitants - in the absence of threats from mining, forestry and hydro-electricity projects. As the Paakumshumwaastikw is the largest in Quebec's mid-latitude James Bay not extensively modified by hydro-electric development, protection of the Paakumshumwaau watershed may be the best option for preserving a major subarctic boreal riverine ecosystem in Quebec. The research presented here is from the third year of a multi-year research project. While the overall goal of the project has guided all three research teams, the specific research question in 2005 is: Based on the socio-ecological character of iyiyuu ischii, what are we seeking to protect, and how can institutional arrangements contribute to a culturally appropriate protected area for Paakumshumwaau?

To answer this question, the 2005 research team collected biological data along the Paakumshumwaastikw and on the adjacent coast of James Bay. Interviews were conducted with community members on the Old Factory Island and in Wemindji.

Virtual and Physical Activism at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

(Prof. Renée Sieber, McGill School of Environment & Department of Geography)

This research reports the way Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (ENGOs) use the tools of virtual and physical activism to influence climate change policies. ENGOs are well-positioned to influence these policies by developing expertise on global warming issues, representing the interests of impacted humans (and non-humans), and providing knowledge and information to decision-makers and the public.

ENGOs accomplish this through a variety of physical and virtual tools. Physical tools (or activities) include paper reports, face-to-face meetings, marches, and conference attendance. Virtual tools range from creating/updating websites to emailing to live webcasting. Virtual activism implies communication via the use of Internet tools; whereas physical activism suggests the tools of in-person communication that have little reliance on virtual means. Activism in this study comprises the advisory and advocacy tools used by ENGOs to transmit information.

Ecological Management of MacDonald Landscape

(Prof. Sylvie de Blois, McGill School of Environment & Department of Plant Science)

 

Risk Assessment of Invasive Species 1

(Prof. Brian Leung, McGill School of Environment & Department of Biology)

Given the harm that can arise from the introduction, establishment and spread of alien species, research into the risks posed by potentially harmful species is essential. Several studies have developed models of risk assessment for alien species based on biological characteristics, but few have looked at rates of introduction. Our study adds to this literature in an area where data is currently sparse: the estimation of propagule pressure. Investigation into numbers introduced is an essential component of risk assessment because alien fish species must enter their new environment in great enough numbers for that reproduction and spread to be possible. More specifically, we are interested in looking at the propagule pressure of freshwater aquarium fish species entering the St. Lawrence from the island of Montreal. Our study also attempts to reveal the factors that lead people to release aquarium fish.

Risk Assessment of Invasive Species 2

(Prof. Brian Leung, McGill School of Environment & Department of Biology)

Non-indigenous species pose a significant threat to the biodiversity of the Great Lakes and cost $5.7 billion per annum in damages. The goal of our client, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, is to assess the risks associated with possible vectors, or paths of entry, for non-indigenous species into the St. Lawrence Seaway. This study concerns the risks associated with exotic plants brought by the aquarium trade to Montreal. Given the location of the island in the St. Lawrence Seaway, these plants have the potential to reach the Great Lakes and become invasive. The purpose of this project was to design surveys to assess store owner and customer behaviour, create a comprehensive list of all the exotic plant species entering Montreal by way of the aquarium trade, and to generate a model to estimate the propagule pressures associated with each of these species. This study took a novel approach to generating propagule pressures by incorporating human behaviour into the analysis and using Bayesian statistics to extrapolate information for all aquarium and pet stores in Montreal. The research was accomplished by surveying a representative sample of Montreal aquarium store owners, their customers, and aquarium amateurs. Interviewees were asked questions pertaining to the type and number of plants purchased and the disposal of these plants. In addition, the researchers took an inventory of the species stocked in each store and assembled a list of all plant species being sold for aquaria in Montreal. Given this information we came up with a model that can be used to extrapolate propagule pressures for aquarium plants, even when limited data is available.