Kenauk, Quebec (Photo by Kenauk Nature)

Kenauk, Quebec (Photo by Kenauk Nature)

Top 10 secrets of Kenauk (Seigneurie Papineau) unveiled!

Butternut (Photo by NCC)

Butternut (Photo by NCC)

The conservation of the vast Kenauk property, populated by huge forests, several dozen lakes and a great variety of species, has been made possible thanks to a partnership between the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and Kenauk Nature. The Kenauk property, located halfway between Ottawa and Montreal, spreads over 260 square kilometres. Deeply rooted in Canadian history, it once belonged to the famous Louis-Joseph Papineau.

To uncover the property’s secrets, NCC staff conducted detailed inventories in collaboration with botanists, zoologists and ecologists. After five years of research, Kenauk’s greatest secrets are coming to light. To date, more than 50 rare species have been reported here!  

The collaboration between NCC, Kenauk Nature and the Kenauk Institute is proving to be very worthwhile. Work could not have been achieved on this scale without the involvement of these partners, not to mention the participation of countless volunteers who support NCC’s mission.

Top 10 secrets of Kenauk

1. Precambrian marble and its unique flora
We now have confirmation that the Kinonge (Salmon) River valley shelters unique flora. Showy orchis and walking fern were among the many rare plants identified by botanists.

2. Cerulean warblers, which may dwell in the valley’s tallest tree
Ten volunteer birdwatchers managed to identify 129 bird species. The cerulean warbler was heard once in 2016; several species worthy of mention have also been spotted, including eastern whip-poor-will and bald eagle.

3. Old-growth forests, possibly predating colonial times
Several deciduous trees measuring 30 metres and taller have been observed by biologists. The most common species are basswood, white ash and eastern white pine. Given the size of these trees, it can be assumed that these forests are more than 200 years old. 

4. Lake Papineau and the flora on its rocky shorelines
Our botanists have identified several rare plants on the shores of Lake Papineau. Interestingly, some of them had no known occurrence in this area until now. Their presence is, among other things, an indicator of the well-preserved integrity of the water bodies and shores of the Kenauk property.

5. Sustainable recreational fishing in Kenauk
The aim of this project is to understand the spatial ecology , population and fishing dynamics of lake trout, rainbow trout and bass in Lac Papineau. The project will provide the data and tools necessary to identify sustainable conservation strategies that will help ensure high-quality fishing on Lac Papineau while protecting its natural assets for future generations.

6. Oak forests, possibly hosting rare squawroot
Several hundred squawroot plants have been recorded among the property’s southwestern oak forests. Such a high occurrence of the plant, which has no chlorophyll, suggests that this is one of the greatest populations of this species in Quebec.

7. The pearl mussel, an indicator of an undisturbed environment
The pearl mussel, a rare species indicative of an undisturbed environment, has recently been observed in the Kinonge River. This is the most westerly observation in Canada. This new information makes it possible to revise the species’ range.

8. Bats
The presence in Kenauk of eight species of bats listed in Quebec has been confirmed by a team of researchers from McGill and Concordia Universities.

9. Wetlands, possibly home to four-toed salamander
Since 2014, a few sightings of four-toed salamander, a species likely to be designated threatened or vulnerable in Quebec, have been recorded on the property.

10. Large mammals (wolves, moose, bears, etc.) and their wildlife corridors
NCC, in collaboration with Éco-corridors laurentiens, conducted connectivity analyses to map ecological corridors that large mammals could use to move between Kenauk and the protected territories in the Northern Laurentians. Projects to track moose and wolf populations are also being planned.

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Atlantic puffins (Photo by Bill Caulfield-Browne)