Canada’s national nuclear laboratory awarded Gold Certification by Wildlife Habitat Council for commitment to environmental stewardship and wildlife protection

Chalk River, April 22, 2019 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded Gold Certification by the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) for its Chalk River Laboratories campus, a designation that recognizes the company’s commitment to environmental stewardship in the management of the property. A Silver Certified site since 2016, the Chalk River campus has now reached the highest tier of environmental certification with the WHC, giving CNL independent verification that it maintains an exceptional wildlife conservation program that positions the company at the forefront of environmental stewardship.

“Canadian Nuclear Laboratories has successfully met the strict requirements of WHC Conservation Certification,” commented Margaret O’Gorman, WHC President. “Companies achieving WHC Conservation Certification, like CNL, are environmental leaders, voluntarily managing land to support sustainable ecosystems and the communities that surround them.”

WHC’s certification program was established to provide objective, third-party evaluation of an organization’s long-term commitment to the management of quality habitat for wildlife, conservation education and community outreach initiatives. A Gold certification signifies leadership among the over 700 WHC Conservation Certification programs, and is only awarded to programs that demonstrate exceptional understanding and effective implementation of environmental protection best practices.

“CNL is proud to receive this endorsement from the Wildlife Habitat Council, which confirms what we’ve long believed – that CNL is an industry leader in environmental conservation and wildlife protection,” commented Mark Lesinski, CNL President and CEO. “At CNL, we’ve a made a formal commitment to not only understand the impacts of our operations on the plants, animals, insects and aquatic life that reside here on the Chalk River site, but to help this wildlife grow and thrive. This certification recognizes the hard work of our Environmental Protection team and entire staff in pursuit of that goal, and tells us that we are on the right track.”

Environmental Protection employees at CNL have spent the last decade identifying wildlife on the Chalk River Laboratories campus in order to build a thorough database of plant and animal populations, with a particular focus on species at risk. Over the years, the presence of a number of these vulnerable species have been confirmed on the site, including endangered turtle, bat and bird species. CNL has taken a number of mitigation measures to help protect and accommodate these animals, including:

  • With the University of Ottawa, CNL examined the behaviours of Blanding’s turtles, and will install tunnels under major roads to encourage safe turtle travel during mating season.
  • In a study with Trent University, CNL examined the roosting behaviours of Chimney Swifts, another species at risk. The study determined that ventilation stacks have become essential roosting locations for the birds, so CNL is working to preserve these structures.
  • CNL has installed four artificial nesting structures for Barn Swallows.
  • CNL has installed 16 bat boxes to serve as maternity roosts for endangered bat species, including the Little Brown Myotis bat, the Northern Myotis bat, the Tri-colored bat and the Eastern Small-footed Myotis bat. CNL has also initiated a research project with Trent University to find other maternity roosting sites for these bats to protect their habitat.
  • CNL is also planning to identify and protect Monarch Butterfly habitats, which are essential to the lifecycle of these endangered insects.

“Although this work is led by CNL’s Environmental Protection team, I think it’s important to acknowledge the contributions of all CNL staff,” added Annie Morin, an environmental specialist in CNL’s Environmental Protection group. “Whether it’s their involvement in reporting species sightings and observations, or voluntarily implementing mitigation measures in their own work, CNL employees really care about protecting the unique species of plants and animals that reside on the Chalk River Laboratories site.”

For more information on CNL and its Environmental Protection activities, please visit

About CNL

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is a world leader in nuclear science and technology offering unique capabilities and solutions across a wide range of industries. Actively involved with industry-driven research and development in nuclear, transportation, clean technology, energy, defence, security and life sciences, we provide solutions to keep these sectors competitive internationally. With ongoing investments in new facilities and a focused mandate, CNL is well positioned for the future. A new performance standard reinforced with a strong safety culture underscores every activity.

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Patrick Quinn
Director, Corporate Communications
CNL, 1-866-886-2325