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Bay projects head into final stages


The Kahnawake Environment Protection Office (KEPO) is continuing construction on the completion of the beach, pond and marsh, and the long-awaited turtle nesting ground.

Patrick Ragaz, the general manager of Field Science at KEPO, discussed new updates on the projects and possible completion date for the beach.

“From last month our contractor started work again and we finally have the gears rolling on these projects,” he said.

“This is year two of the project, with the continuation of the natural portion of the island, the beach, the turtles, and for planting, which we expect to come next week.”

Ragaz said his team plans to plant over 10 species of trees and brush on the island to create a more diverse sanctuary for the wildlife in the community.

“All of the areas we’ve been working on will have a series of trees and shrubs which will be planted. These plants and trees are native trees to Kahnawake,” he added.

“We have 20,000 trees and shrubs for the project as we based our analysis on the rough conditions in the bay area. We wanted to dress aquatic concerns first, which then led to the idea of reintroducing native species to the area.”

The projects were approved in February 2020, right before the pandemic hit worldwide, which has caused major delays on construction.

“COVID-19 challenged everything last year. We also have to adjust to the ongoing protocols, which changed rapidly, as cases have either risen or declined,” he added.

Ragaz also elaborated on the Turtle sanctuary, which will see two species- the snapping turtle and the painted turtle, along with the possible return of a St. Lawrence River species as well.

“Dredging will be done at the beginning of August and end mid-September with the process of hydraulic dredging, which is one of the most efficient forms of removal and transport of sediment and debris,” he stated.

With summer 2021 just around the corner, community members are eager to check out the Kahnawake beach and see how environmentally friendly it is. It is also a great opportunity to be able to swim in the Bay Area after the dredging is complete.

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