Dry wood and mud are what’s mostly exposed at the Heron Pond wetlands in the Technoparc area of the Saint-Laurent borough.
The green space is normally knee-high in water with thriving wildlife, but this summer the area is almost completely dry.
“This is a catastrophic scene for us,” Katherine Collin, a conservationist at Technoparc Oiseaux, told Global News.
Collin fears some vibrant wildlife is under threat by the draining of the pond.
“Our green heron population has survived here but has obviously dwindled and is much lower right now than what we would expect it to be,” she said.
Some are placing blame for the drying wetland squarely on officials at the Réseau express métropolitain (REM). Environmentalists say recent drilling to build a tunnel 15 metres below the surface for an underground rail link to the Trudeau airport destabilized the soil above, causing a sinkhole to form and water to drain.
“They should have been more on the ball when it came to the environmental questions, particularly in a city like Montreal which now has a dearth of green space,” David Fletcher, V.P. of the Green Coalition told Global News.
REM officials argue it’s too early to draw conclusions on the exact cause of the water drainage.
“To be determined. And if it’s the case, we will be transparent about it and say this is what provoked it,” Harout Chitilian, vice-president of strategy at CDPQ INFRA, which operates the REM, told Global News.
Liquid hydrogen is being pumped into the area to solidify the soil. Environmentalists hope it will be enough to eventually revive the wetlands and return it to an eco sanctuary for wildlife.