LCC- EIA1

Defining EIA & primary purpose of EIA
 

A process for predicting, evaluating, mitigating, monitoring and managing environmental effects of a proposed Project (PEMMM)

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Helps guide the decision-making process

 

Primary Purpose:

 

    Include the environment in planning and decision-making to ensure environmental sustainability.

    Biophysical environment

   Human environment

 

To ensure that development decisions are made with full knowledge of environmental consequences

 

Origins of EIA
 

First system established in USA in 1970

-National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

-Proponents required to include and EI Statement (EIS) in their proposail

 

Development

-Initially, EIA criticized as a tool to justify decisions already made

-Potential wider projects effects outside of local area often ignored

-By 1980s, more information was collected but reports were often very lengthy and simply a large compilation of biophysical data

 

-In the 1980s and 90s EIA evolved to include broader regional and social impacts, due in part to major global initiatives

 

The Brundtland Report
 

The UN set up a commission to looks at environmental issues in 1983

-the Brundtland commission produced a final report entitled ‘Our Common Future’ in 1987

 

World Recognition of EIA: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compomising the ability of furture generations to meet their own needs.”

 

Dimensions of EA
 

Multi-Dimensional Approach

 

-Dimensions are biophysical, Human, Social, Economic, Cultural, Health

 

-On local, regional, and national scales

-temporal scale of past present and future

 

Brundtland to Rio
 

The Bruntland Report recommended further international meetings to reduce the effects of human activities on the environment for future generations

 

This led to the first Earth Summit, held in Rio Brazil in 1992

 

Canadian Fed. Gov. Assessment
 

Taks force delivered a report to the federal government in 1972

-During the 1970s EA was a review process based on guidelines only

 

Established teh Federal Environmental Assessment Review Office (FEARO) in April 1974.

 

The Berger Inquiry
 

One of the first and most important environmental assessments was the 1977 inquiry into the Mackenzie Valley pipeline proposal

-proposed to construct two pipelines to deliver natural gas from the Arctic Ocean to southern markets

 

-The inquiry recommended that the pipeline not proceed and this recommendation was adopted by the Federal Government

 

Problems With the Guidelines

-Court challenges raised questions and recognized problems with the Guidelines Order

-These problems with the Order affected its application, administration and enforcement

-As a result the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) was developed in 1992

 

CEAA
 

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency created in 1994 to oversee the Act

 

-Although it had royal assent in June of 1992, political issues, a federal election and further legislative hearings and amendments prevented the Act becoming law until Jan 19 1995

-Five Year Review

-2001

-Amended in 2003

 

THE ACT
-many questions arise when planning a project and carrying out an EA

-Is an EA necessary?

-What legal requirements must be addressed?

-Should the public and stakeholders be involved?

-The Act provides answers and guidance on these issues and others

 

ABOUT THE ACT

-Applies to fed gov depts and agenceis

-sets out roles an dresponsibilities related to the EA process

-recommends the types of EA and the EA process to be followed

 

PURPOSe

-Ensure projects are considered in a precautionary manner to ensure they do not cause significant adverse environmental effects

 

Sustainable Development
 

EA is an integral part of sustainable development

-Good EA ensures that environmental costs and benefits and any related socio-cultural and economic issues are considered in the decision making process…before projects are allowed to proceed

 

Climate Change and EA
 

-EAs have the potential to reduce effects of climate change

-Project contribution to GHG

-effects of climate change may have on the project (sometimes EA can contribute to Sust. Dev)

-Reducing, Reusing, Recycling

-Deconstruction/Decommissioning vs demolishing

-Plannign for future expansions or needs

-Incorporating green technologies

 

CEAA- 4 key Regulations
 

Inclusion List- Physical Activities

Exclusion List- Minor/Smaller or routine projects

Law List- ie Fisheries Act, Navigable Waters Act

Comprehensive Study List- Large projects expected to have complex potential environmental effects

 

Does the act apply? (CEAA)
 

1)Is there a Project? (No = Does not apply)

Yes = 2

2)Is the Project Excluded? (Yes= does not apply)

No=3

3)Is there  federal authority? (no = act does no apply), yes= 4

4)Is there a trigger? (no= not apply)

Yes=Act applies

 

CEAA- What is a “project”
 

A project is …in relation to a physical work, any proposed construction, operation modification, decommissioning, abandonment or other undertakings in relation to that physical work

 

OR

 

Any prposed physical activity not related to a physical work that is prescribed pursuant to the Inclusion List Regulations

 

 

Inclusion List Regulations (CEAA)

Examples of Physical Activites

 

 

-Dredging

-Abandonment or disposal of prescribed substances

-military training

-importation of animals for agricultural purposes

-operation of a garbage dump on an Indian Reserve

 

 

Is the project Excluded?

(CEAA)

 

 

YES,

– if it is listed on the exclusion list regulations

– if in response to a national emergency

OR

– in response to an emergency to prevent damage to property, environment or health and safety

 

Exclusion List Examples

-construction of small buildings with a footprint less than 100square meters and less than 5m height

-repair and maintenance of an existing physical work

-proposed construction of sidewalk, boardwalk, or parking lot with capacity of 10 automobiles or fewer

 

What is a Federal Authority? (CEAA)
 

Any federal body (department or agency) that may have expertise or a mandate relative to the proposed project

-The Responsible Authority (RA) is teh lead federal agency responsible for EA and decision. FAs provide advice.

 

Specifically, the Act applies to…

1)federal minister of the crown

2)a department or corporation

3)an agency or other body accountable to through a minister

 

CEAA, 4 triggers
 

The Act applies when a federal department or agency exercises power duty or function as described in section 5 of CEAA

 

-Feds are proponent

-feds provide money

-feds transfer/sell land to enable a project to proceed

-law list regulation (regulatory duty)

 

Four Types of Federal EA (CEAA)
 

-screening

-comprehensive study

-assessment by Review panel

-mediation

 

Guiding Principles

-screenings and comprehensive studies are considered a self-assessment (or self-directed EA)

-because the RA is responsible for ensuring the EA is conducted in accordance with the Act

 

Independent Assessments are those conducted by a mediator or Review Panel appointed by the federal Minister of the Environment

 

What is a screening? (CEAA)
 

    “A systematic approach for identifying and documenting the environmental effects of a proposed project and determining the need to avoid or minimize (mitigate) the adverse effects, to modify the project plan or to recommend further assessment through mediation or an assessment by a review panel” (CEAA 2003).

Screenings assess a wide range of Projects

     Depending on the circumstances of the Proposed Project, existing environment and likely environmental effects, screenings will……

  Vary in time required to prepare

 length and depth of analysis

 

Comprehensive Study (CS) (CEAA)
 

-CS are a more in-depth analysis than screenings

-includes all factors considered in screening as well as alternative to project and mandatory public participation

 

Review Panel Assessments
 

EA conducted by panel of people who are:

-unbiased

-free from conflict of interest (relative to the project)

-knowledge or experience (relevant to the anticipated effects of the project)

 

Key Principles for CEAA
 

-early application

-self-directed assessment

-open and participatory

-efficiency and effectiveness

 

Scoping and CEAA
 

The scope of project and scope of the assessment establishes the boundaries for the environmental analysis and defines which issues need to be addressed in accordance with the Act

THIS IS A CRUCIAL STEP

 

What is scoping?

It’s deciding what’s IN and OUT

-necessary step in order to:

-delineate boundaries of assessment

-focus the EA on right issues

-identify specifically what is being assessed

-ensure timely and efficient process

 

SCOPING

-Need a detailed project description to adequately scope the project

-the act specifies the elements that ned to be considered:

RA determines scope

Defines whether two projects can be assessed as one (related projects)

-all phases of the project need to be assessed (construction, operation, decommissioning etc)

 

RA must also ensure scoping determines:

-potential environmental effects

-all relevant issues

-public comments

-ie. scope the assessment

 

*RA should do this before proponent moves forward (rarely works this way in real life)

 

Five Scoping Steps
 

1)gather relevant information

2)Scoping the Project

3)Identify Environmental Components

4)Scopnig the Assessment

5)Verifying and documenting scope

 

Scoping Step 1
 

Gathering INformation

 

      Desktop study

    Maps/air photos

    Previous studies

    Species inventories

      Site Visit

      Discussions with stakeholders

    First Nations (Traditional Ecological Knowledge) –TEK

    Federal agencies

    Other jurisdictions

    Consultants

    public

 

 

Scoping Step 2
 

Scope the Project

 

      Refers to the components of the proposed activity that should be considered as part of the project.

      Important to consider

   PRINCIPAL Project

   Main physical work or activity

   ACCESSORY Project

   Activities or physical works required to in order to complete PRINCIPAL Project (i.e., linked and interdependent)

 

Scoping- Case Study Sunpine Forest Products LTD.
 

      In 1995, SFP was granted authorization by the Alberta Government to build a new mainline road to access forest resources and transport logs to their mill in Strachan, Alberta.

      Applications for two bridges required along the road were also filed under the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA).

      This triggered CEAA (Law List Regulation)

      AT ISSUE: Is the scope of the Project the two bridges or the two bridges and the road?

Result

      CCG/DFO approved the screening based solely on the two bridges

      Landed in court

      Failed to comply with specific section  of CEAA “consider all related undertakings”  and …. “cumulative effects” of CEAA.

      As well as access to information (i.e. public registry)

      Court ruled in favour of Env. Groups

      Feds appealed and ultimately won (i.e., the Project was scoped to include the two bridges only)

What did we learn from this?

      The Federal Government Agency as the RA has the discretion to scope the project as they see it.

      The EA must include an analysis of cumulative effects

      Need to make information more accessible to public.

 

Scoping Step 3
 

Identifying Environmental Components

 

      Important because it will form the basis for the detailed assessment.

      Need to describe:

    Project Setting

    Physical Environment

    Biological Environment

    Socio-Cultural Environment

Biophysical Environment

n Major Rivers/Creeks/Lakes

n Fish Species

n Soils

n Vegetation Communities

n Wildlife Habitats

n Rare Species

n Air

 

Socio-economic/cultural environment

n  Socio-economic conditions

n Economy, jobs

n Land uses

n Traditional land use

 

Cultural Conditions

n Historical sites

n Archaeology

n Paleontological

 

n  Human Health

n Toxicity

n Noise

n Stress

 

 

VEC
 

Valued Ecosystem Component

defined as…

 

“any part of the environment that is considered important by the proponent, members of the public, scientists, and government involved in the assessment process

-Imoprtance may be determined on the basis of cultural values or scientific concerns

 

Criteria for selecting VECs
 

-Legal requirements (fish habitats/migratory birds)

-Public visibility/appeal

-Economic Importance

-Conservation Status (species at risk)

-sensitivity to Disturbance

-Importance to First Nations

 

EXAMPLES

-Fish/fish habitat

-vegetation resources

-water resources

-air quality

-marine environment

-wildlife and wildlife habitat

 

NEED TO SELECT VEC CAREFULLY!

-Under CEAA need to asses the environmental effects and significance on the VEC

-If our VECs are too specific, often criticisms regarding why you didn’t include others (species)

-Try to keep broad but reasonable

-Too broad- bceome meaningless for EA (ie. species diversity)

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Scoping Step 4
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Scoping the Assessment

-potential env effects

-spatial and temporal boundaries

-effects of malfunctions and accidents

-cumulative env effects

-significance of effects

-comments received from public

-mitigation measures

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Careful when selecting boundaries!

-Use scientific robust criteria as much as possible (ie. ZONE OF INFLUENCE ZOI) may extend beyong Project Footprint certain VECs

**Need to consider when and how each VEC will interact with or be influenced by Project and activities

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-Spatial Boundaries may be physical (watersheds), biological (habitats), or political

-Temporal boundaries set by the “life of the project”

-Construction, operation, decommissioning

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Verifying and Documenting the Scope

-Documenting scope should provide:

1)temporal and spatial boundaries with rationale of delineation

2)Rationale for scoping both project components as well as environment components in or out

3)Should provide criteria for selection of environmental components

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*A description of the scope of the project must be posted on the Registry’s Internet Site

 

The Project and Assessment has been scoped… What NExt?
 

examine the potential interactions b/w a project and environment

 

predict environmental effects

 

Describe those effects

 

IDENTIFYING EFFECTS

-specific identification of interactions between project and VEC

-analysis of those interactions to predict potential environmental effects

-to accurately identify a potential effect watch under and over estimation (lose credibility)

 

 

 

Analysis Principles
 

   Relate assessment to scoping factors

   Focus on what matters (comes with experience)

   Level of Effort = potential for adverse effects

   Use existing information where possible

   Consult experts and public where appropriate

   Identify gaps and collect new data

   Document data limitations and assumptions.

   Relate assessment to scoping factors

   Focus on what matters (comes with experience)

   Level of Effort = potential for adverse effects

   Use existing information where possible

   Consult experts and public where appropriate

   Identify gaps and collect new data

   Document data limitations and assumptions.

Focus on relevant issues!

USE GOOD SOURCES OF INFORMATION!

n A literature review or a reconnaissance site visit may indicate that a particular effect is not of concern

Sources of Environmental Information

n  Previously completed EAs!

n  Regional studies

n  Technical Reports

n  Land Use Planning Documents!

n  Scientific Literature

n  Databases

n   BUT….. BEWARE OF THE QUALITY OF EXISTING INFORMATION (i.e. use it critically)

 

 

 

5 Key Analysis Steps
 

1.  Describe Project Activities

2.  Describe Environmental Attributes

3.  Identify Project-Environment Interactions

4.  Predict Environmental Effects

5.  Describe Environmental Effects

 

Analysis Step 1
 

Describing Project Activities

 

n Obtain boundaries from scoping exercise

n Identify all project components and activities

n Describe activities in space and time

 

Example – Power Generating Station

n Construction of access road

n Construction of facility

n Installation of water intake system

n Construction of parking lot

n Construction of municipal infrastructure

 

Analysis Step 2
 

Describing Environmental Attributes

 

n Obtain boundaries from scoping exercise

n Describe VEC – Existing Conditions

n This is your “Baseline”

n VERY IMPORTANT – because this is what you will be comparing the effects of the Project to

 

Step 3 Analysis
 

Identify Project-Envirnoment Interactions

 

-checklists

-matrix tables

-network diagrams

-Overlay maps/GIS

-expert systems

 

GUIDING PRINCIPLE-

-use a systematic logical approach

-more efficient

-minimizes the chance yo might overlook a potential environmental effect

 

Methods for identifying project-environment interactions
 

Checklists

n Simple

n Most useful for smaller projects

n Do not address higher order effects or interrelationships between effects

Matrix

n  Provide more detail regarding potential interactions

n Can be broad

n Or VEC specific

Network Analysis

n  Diagrams linking project activities to potential effects.

Overlay Maps/GIS

n  Interaction of proposed pipeline route with grizzly bear habitat (summer feeding areas).

Computer Models

n Scenario Modeling

 

Other Tools

n Bayesian Belief Systems

n Environmental Risk Assessment

n Professional Experience

****No method is overall best, but matrices are used widespread

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING:

n Type and size of project

n Types and number of alternatives being assessed

n Nature of likely effects

n Experience with Method

n Resources available (money, time, people)

 

Analysis Step 4
 

Predicting Effects

 

predicition: “an explicit statement about the condition of an environmental component in the future”

-how where and when interactions occur

 

WHAT to predict?

Project developments often trigger 4 broad areas that affect biophysical systems:

-Biological Change

-Chemical Change

-Physical Change

-Ecosystem Change

 

EIA as an experiment and ‘Environmental Effects’ defined
 

EIA as an Experiment

l Ideally, EIA should be viewed as an “experiment“  where hypotheses and predictions are verified through monitoring.

l Unfortunately, this has not been the case in most instances.

-Still have lots of knowledge gaps on “effects” of projects and untested assumptions.

 

 

Environmental Effects…..defined

l According to the CEAA (the Act) an environmental effect is….

l (a) any change that the project may cause in the environment, including any change it may cause to a listed wildlife species, its critical habitat or the residences of individuals of that species, as those terms are defined in subsection 2(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA).

 

Environmental Effects…..defined

l  (b) any effect of any change referred to in paragraph (a) on

      health and socio-economic conditions

      physical and cultural heritage

      the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by aboriginal persons, or

      any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance or

(c) Any change to the project that may be caused by the environment, whether any such change or effect occurs within or outside Canada.

 

 

 

Direct and Indirect Effects
 

 

l Direct Effects

   An effect in which the cause-effect relationship has no intermediary effects (CEAA 2003).

l …..as one which is caused by the action and occurs at the same time and place (NEPA).

    more easily identified

 

Examples:

-clearing operations & loss of habitat

-siltation and reduced H2O quality

-blasting & increased noise levels

Indirect Effects

l Effects that are one or more steps removed from an interaction between project activity and VEC (CEAA 2003).

l those which are caused by the action and are later in time or farther removed in distance, but are still reasonably foreseeable (NEPA).

More difficult to identify

Examples:

 

  Decline in recreational fishing activity due to decline in fish populations

  Increased mortality to wildlife due to increased road access (legal, illegal hunting)

  Fewer predators that were dependent on small mammal and/or bird community that declined due to loss of habitat.

 

 

Prediction Methods (Analysis Step 4)
 

(extension of ‘methods used to identify potential environmental effects)

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l Professional Judgement

l Simulation Models

;; e.g., dispersion models used to predict effects on air quality

;; e.g., wildlife population model designed to predict the effects of the project on female reproductive success

l Make sure assumptions are appropriate for project and assessment area!

Prediction Methods

l Field or Lab Experiments

;; Conduct a study to predict the effectiveness of different mitigation techniques

;; ;conduct a lab experiment to predict the effect of pollutant exposure to a fish species

l Extrapolate from other EAs completed for similar projects and settings

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Level of Prediction

Prediction methods should account for variability in the system or VEC (space in time) as well as uncertainty.

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Analysis Step 5
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Evaluation of Environmental Effects

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EVALUATION CRITERIA:

l Direction

l Nature

l Magnitude

l Geographic Extent

l Duration

l Frequency

l Reversibility

l Ecological/Socio-economic Context

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Choosing the Right Words!

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Weak Vs. Strong Predictions of Effects
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l ;It is anticipated that the project will result in an insignificant effect on marten habitat;

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l The prediction is weak because it does not:

;;; Define the effect

;;; Quantify the effect

;;; Put the effect into a spatial/temporal population perspective

;;; Provide a rationale

Stronger Prediction

l ;It is anticipated that vegetation clearing during the Construction phase will result in the direct loss of less than 1% (~ 10 ha) of available marten habitat within the Assessment Area.

Other Examples

l A) ;Project will result in impaired water quality.;

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l B) ;The Project will result in trivial effects on the bears.;

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C) ;It is anticipated that there will be a 95% increase in suspended solids that will extend 1 km downstream and will occur twice per week and last 24 hours.

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What is CEA? and Legal basis
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CE are changes to the environment that are caused by an activity in combination with other past present and reasonably foreseeable human activities.

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-CE are caused by the accumulation and interaction of multiple stresses affecting the environment.

-CEA is done to ensure incremental effects resulting fromt he combined influences of various actions are assessed

-ie. single actions may be considered insignificant but incremental effects may be significant

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LEGAL BASIS

it is required by law “the environmental effects.. and any cumulative effects that are likely to result from the project in combination with other projects or activities that have been or will be carried out

 

Biological Basis for CE
 

-We know ecosystems often respond to stress in a non-linear manner

-therefore, apparently small incremental effects can result in abrupt and significant changes to ecosystems

 

Conditions for Potential CEA and what you are expected to do
 

Conditions for Potential CEA:

-if local effects on VEC occur as a result of the action under review

-if those VECs are afeted by other actions

 

EXPECTED TO:

-assess effects over a larger area (regional)

-define larger spatial boundary

-assess effects during a longer time period into the past and future

-define longer temporal boundary

-consider the effects on VECs due to interactions with other activities

-include past/present/future

-evaluate significance of CE

 

Examples of CE
 

AIR

-combined SO2 emissions within a regional airshed

-from 3 operating natural gas processing facilities within an airshed

 

WATER

-combined reductions in flow volumes within a particular river resulting from irrigation, mucicipal and industrial withdrawls

 

WILDLIFE

-combind black bear mortalities in a wildlife management unit from hunter harvest, road-kill and human-bear conflicts

 

 

 

CE pathways
 

 

*Network Diagrams or pathways are useful to identify potential CE*

 

Consider whether the CE are…

 

additive= combined effects are equal to sum of individual effects

synergistic= combined effecs greater than sum of individual effects

 

 

CE can occur in various ways….
 

Physical-chemical transpot

stressor transported away from project area

-interacts with another action

 

Nibbling Loss

-“death by a thousand cuts” = gradual disturbance

 

Spatial and Temporal Crowding

-too much going on in one place at one time

-overlapping effects

 

Growth-inducing potential

spin off actions

-ie. increased human disturbance due to new road access

 

CE challenges and solutions
 

CHALLENGES
-project-based CEA vs Regional CEA

-continued debate regarding who is responsible for conducting CE and extent of issues to be addressed

-ie. proponents argure that they are assessing too many things that are not relevant to their project

 

 

SOLUTIONS

-proper scoping

-strategc environmental assessment (SEA)

-regional land use planning

-Cumulative environmental management association (CEMA)

 

COURT CASES
-Sunpine Forest Products

-issue: 2 bridges vs 2 bridges and road

 

-Cheviot Coal Mine

-issue: failure by the Review Panel to include forestry operations in the cumulative effects assessment as well as other mining projects

-carnivore conservation (grizzly bear)

 

LESSONS LEARNDED
-need to clarify scoper determination early in the process to avoid:

-lengthy legal challenges

-costly project delays

-possible project cancellation

 

What is mitigation?
 

According to CEAA (the act), mitigation is “the elimination, redution or control of the adverse environental effects of the project and includes restitution for any damage to the environment caused by such effects through replacement, restoration, compensation, or any other means.”

 

 

Why mitigate?
 

To eliminate or reduce potential enviornmental effects before they occur and to:

-assist government decision-making

-address legislative requirements (ie. CEAA, Fisheries Act)

-assist project planning

 

When can mitigation be identified?
 

During Project Planning

-cost effective

 

EA Analysis

-need to identify mitigation measures as part of the environmental effects evaluation

-mitigation measures can then be applied during project construction, operation or decommissioning activities

 

May also be identified as part of follow-up monitoring (unforseen effects)

 

4 key steps to identifying mitigation measures
 

identify the specific effects where and when mitigation is required

identify technically and economically feasible measures to mitigate environmental effects

predict the residual effect after mitigation applied (assume successful)

moniter to confirm mitigation is working

 

Approaches and methods to mitigation
 

AVOID

-alternative location

-timing of construction

-project design features

 

MINIMIZE

-minimum footprint

-reduce/minimize construction phase

-minimize overlap with critical time periods

 

COMPENSATE

-compensate for unavoidable losses

-DFO policy- “no net loss of fish habitat)

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Implementing mitigation and mitigation measures
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IMPLEMENTING MITIGATION

-ensure proponent and regulatory authorities are in agreement

-detail mitigation strategies in Environmental Protection Plan (EPP) or Enviornmental Management Plan (EMP)

-remember mitigation mayhave to be applied during all phases of the project (construction, operation, decommissioning)

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MITIGATION MEASURES

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-many mitigation measures represent “best

management practices”

EXAMPLE: natural gas pipeline installation (requires 2 stream crossings- one major river, one tributary, as well as access road)

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PEE (potential env effects)

-alteration of in-stream habitat for steelhead trout

-loss/alteration of riparian habitat

-disturbance to local mountain goat population due to blasting activities

-loss of sensitive wetland habitat

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FISH

-minimize removal of vegetation within riparian management area

-revegetate /w native plants

-develop and implement a sediment control plan (EPP)

-use directional drilling for major river crossing

-use bottomless culvert on tributary

-conduct all in-stream activities b/w aug and sept

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WILDLIFE

-align pipeline ROW to avoid goat cliffs as much as possible

-schedule blasting activities to avoid critical winter/lambing periods (nov-june)

-reduce/restrict helicopter activity

-monitor goat response

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WETLAND

-if possible, relocate ROW to avoid wetland

-minimize disturbance (cross at narrowest point)

-avoid construction activities during wetter periods

-compensate for wetland loss

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EVERYTHING CAN BE MITIGATED!

IN THE END, WANT NO SIGNIFICANT RESIDUAL ADVERSE EFFECTS

REVIEW CRITICALLY!!!!

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