Kahnawà:ke Ecosystems

Kahnawà:ke is unique because of our high concentration and large tracts of natural ecosystems, providing an important role in maintaining the biodiversity of the region.

Intensive agriculture, urbanization and industrial activities are occurring on the edges of our territory, and throughout the years our community has been dissected by railroads, highways, hydro transmission lines, a bridge to the island of Montreal, and most strikingly, the St. Lawrence Seaway which cut our community off from our river.

The considerable pressure on Kahnawà:ke ecosystems cannot be ignored and the Kahnawà:ke Environment Protection Office (KEPO) is working hard to raise awareness and work with the community to preserve the integrity of our territory’s ecosystems.

Natural History of Kahnawà:ke

15,000 years ago, Kahnawà:ke was covered by a two-kilometre-thick glacier. That geological event had a significant impact on the distribution and types of ecosystems present in Kahnawà:ke today. 13,400 years ago, when the ice was progressively melting, enormous rivers flowed over Kahnawà:ke, eroding everything along their path. The Champlain Sea then formed, covering what is known today as the St. Lawrence Valley with water.

In some locations, the receding sea left behind several metres of nutrient-rich sediments and created very productive agricultural land in the process. These nutrient-rich sediments are still present in some locations in Kahnawà:ke. The sea progressively receded and made way for what is now the St. Lawrence and Chateauguay Rivers.

Here is a map that gives an overview of the ecosystems in Kahnawà:ke.

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