Bisbille between ADM and ecologists on the monarch butterfly

Bisbille between ADM and ecologists on the monarch butterfly

Despite Montreal’s status as the Friendly City of Monarch Butterflies, according to this environmental group, ADM has committed an unprovoked act of environmental destruction.

The Green Coalition says mowing operations on the 19-hectare monarch field have destroyed the monarchs’ breeding and foraging habitat, as well as their larvae.

The groves and shrubs at Monarch Field are all gone. Only the trees were spared from mowing by the Aéroports de Montréal. The spurge plants that stood there were mowed down just weeks before the iconic butterfly arrived in full bloom. It usually really happens towards the end of August, beginning of September, when all the monarchs arrive there during the migration, explains Benoît Gravel, who campaigns for Techoparc Oiseaux, the organization behind the discovery.

“So what’s going to happen this year is that there won’t be milkweed, so at least on that soil they won’t be able to breed, feed and rest. »

— A quote from Benoît Gravel, member of TechoparcOiseaux

This is an area north of Dorval Golf Course that has been derelict for 10 years.

An aerial view of the area

Photo: Courtesy of TechnoparcOiseaux

This area is part of a much larger whole, a green lung of around 200 hectares whose ecological value is increasingly being recognized. New Democratic Rep. Alexandre Boulerice is among those who would welcome the site’s conversion to a federal park. According to him, it would be necessary either to terminate the lease in order to turn it into a park, or to give advice and instructions to Aéroports de Montréal to be able to protect it.

ADM defends itself

Aéroports de Montréal denies doing anything wrong. Although the institution confirms that it has made a cut, as is appropriate as part of the normal maintenance work on the airport site, a cut intended to combat ragweed, it states that there is no monarch field in that exact spot.

Launch of the widget. Skip the widget?

end of the widget. Back to the top of the widget?

No monarch reports were made at this site on the Mission Monarque site in 2022, ADM spokesman Éric Forest said in a press release.

Aéroports de Montréal, on the other hand, claims to be the only airport authority in Canada to have created an ecological park.

This is the Sources Ecological Park, an area 2 million square feet north of the airport property that would be an area of ​​high environmental value that ADM is committed to protecting and enhancing for the benefit of the community, the organization said.

These arguments do not convince Technoparc Oiseaux. The organization points out that 126 monarchs have been counted on the site since 2019 and that if none were counted in 2022, it is because the monarchs migrating to Mexico had not yet arrived in Montreal. The place in Montreal with the highest documented number of milkweed is the Champ des Monarques, claims the organization, which indicates other species of interest reside on the site.

The 150 hectares of green space leased by Transport Canada to ADM, the Champ des Monarques, Golf Dorval and important wetland and land areas, and the Sources Ecological Park are expected to be developed by industry pending federal status change, concludes Technoparc Oiseaux.

Earlier this year, a company that makes medical masks recently abandoned plans to build a factory on the Champ des Monarques.

With information from Jérôme Labbé