A comprehensive Environmental Assessment of the Anchor Loop project was undertaken; the results were incorporated into the construction program and schedule, and used to prepare project-related Environmental Protection Plans (EPPs). The EPPs outlined specific protection measures for sensitive habitats, rare plants and communities, wildlife and critical wildlife areas, heritage resources, water wells and springs, timber salvage, fire prevention, forest pathogens, weeds, spill prevention, noise reduction, waste management, erosion and soils, traffic management, use of explosives, and watercourse crossings.
Setting the Context
The environmental and socio-economic effects associated with the construction and operation of the Anchor Loop project were similar to those typically found during pipeline and pipeline facility-related construction in a forest setting and included:
- physical elements, such as physical environment, soil capability, water quality and quantity, greenhouse gas (GHG) and air quality, and acoustic environment;
- biological elements, such as fish and fish habitat, wetlands, vegetation, wildlife and wildlife habitat, and species at risk;
- socio-economic elements, such as human occupancy and resource use, heritage resources, traditional land and resource use, social and cultural well-being, human health, infrastructure and services, and employment and economy; and,
- accidents and malfunctions.
Project considerations included:
- the location of the project within a national and a provincial park;
- the high ecological, recreational and symbolic values associated with land preservation represented by Jasper National Park and Mount Robson Provincial Park;
- the socio-economic impacts associated with locating a workforce within a national and provincial park; and,
- Aboriginal interests in the Jasper and Mount Robson areas.
As a result, the research and fieldwork conducted in support of the EA report exceeded normal industry practice for any similar project. Examples of the additional rigour taken included:
- completed detailed field surveys on two routes;
- an invertebrate survey;
- an intensive amphibian survey;
- a grizzly bear and black bear assessment;
- a wetland function assessment;
- a comprehensive nonvascular plant survey;
- a Forest Health Assessment;
- a Viewshed Modelling Analysis;
- a Palaeontological Overview; and,
- application of the ALCES model for cumulative effects assessment.
Numerous mitigation strategies were proposed to avoid or minimize the project’s impacts, including:
- avoidance through route selection;
- scheduling activities to avoid sensitive periods;
- development of detailed, practical and effective mitigative measures to address numerous site-specific and general issues;
- development of compensation programs to address those issues that could not be technically mitigated;
- inspection during construction to ensure that planned mitigation was implemented and effective;
- continuing maintenance and operation of the pipeline system to a high standard of environmental excellence; and,
- development of a Restoration Plan to ensure the project would result in a net ecological and cultural gain for both Jasper National Park and Mount Robson Provincial Park.