Rehabilitation of Route 117
The rehabilitation of Route 117 was an innovative infrastructure project which spans across 24 kilometres of highway. This new project will allow Kouchibouguac National Park to make important resource conservation gains, especially as it relates to the restoration of aquatic habitats and fauna conservation.
The aquatic habitat is indispensable for the survival of the fish population. In order to restore this habitat, fifty-eight new cement culverts were installed underneath Route 117 in 2015, reconnecting five streams whose flow had been obstructed by the collapse of older infrastructure.
Nearly half of the new culverts installed last year are equipped with current deflectors which promote fish movement, helps them complete their migration (which happens against the current), and provides them with a refuge during the spring and autumn high tides. In fact, we estimate that more than ten species of frogs and salamanders will benefit from the aquatic habitat restoration because they depend on it to complete their reproductive cycle.
Reptile and amphibian tunnels
In addition to the installation of new culverts, four crossings (or tunnels) have been designed and installed in order to ensure safe passage under the road for the Wood turtle (a species at risk) and amphibians which include salamanders and frogs.
Studies have shown that there are four areas rich in amphibians in Kouchibouguac National Park along Route 117. As such, wood turtle and amphibian crossings were installed in these key areas underneath the highway.
The installation of fences was the last part of this rehabilitation project and was completed in the summer of 2016. These fences are approximately 50 centimetres in height and are connected to the fauna culverts, creating a network of 3.5 km along the highway.
These structures serve to funnel and guide amphibians, reptiles and other small animals that need to cross the road for their annual migration through underground tunnels. We hope that this will decrease the reptile and amphibian mortality rate at Kouchibouguac National Park. Long-term monitoring of the new Route 117 will allow us to measure the effectiveness of these innovative conservation measures.