Guest post: Margaret Mears, Environmental Lead

Trans Mountain understands it is critical we protect farm and ranch land during construction and throughout the life of the expansion Project. This includes management of soil and vegetation including weeds, drainage, irrigation, water supply and compensation to farmers when we cannot mitigate potential issues.

Close to 500 kilometres of Trans Mountain runs through agricultural land in British Columbia and Alberta, which represents almost 50 per cent of the Expansion Project construction. So, it is essential we properly manage our impact.

In more than 60 years of operations, we have established and maintained relationships with landowners along the existing pipeline route, and our primary goal is to treat all landowners fairly and equitably. We understand the potential impact building a pipeline can have, and our team has been working directly with affected landowners to identify and address their concerns.

As part of the Expansion Project, we have developed an Agricultural Management Plan and Agricultural Assessment Technical Report, which is based on extensive research about potential agricultural-related issues and informs our team about local priorities.

In response to the feedback from stakeholders, we have made a number of changes to address agricultural interests. For example, in the Fraser Valley, a commitment to additional pipeline depth in areas that require deep tillage.

Farmers in the Fraser Valley have also told us they are concerned about soil disturbance. Soil surveys have been conducted along the entire pipeline route to develop plans to preserve soil productivity and ensure there is no mixing between the topsoil and subsoil. We’ve also committed to having an agrologist with extensive experience in soil handling and agricultural issues in the Fraser Valley on-site when soil is being handled.

The pipeline route traverses a number of poultry farms in the Fraser Valley, which have very precise biosecurity protocols to ensure avian flu is not introduced onto any farm. Understanding and working with the procedures for each individual farm, and ensuring workers and equipment do not enter their critical biosecurity zone is our commitment.

We will also be working with the organic certification bodies to ensure our work abides by the very specific and stringent protocols for organic farms along the route.

Extensive research and planning has gone into the development of our Agriculture Management Plan to meet the needs of the unique farming activities in the Fraser Valley. We remain committed to minimizing impacts and fully-restoring farmland after construction is complete.

More information on our Agricultural Management Plan available here.