Since 2012, the environmental team for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project has been out in the field studying a wide range of environmental features, including plants, fish, wildlife and species at risk.

Field studies determined environmental impacts related to Project construction and mitigation measures to reduce those impacts. They informed more than 35 environmental plans Trans Mountain developed in order to fulfill National Energy Board (NEB) conditions.

Within its 15,000-page Application to the NEB, Trans Mountain addressed federally listed species at risk (Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act [SARA],) and included mitigation plans for specific species.

Trans Mountain developed a Pipeline Environmental Protection Plan and contingency plans such as the Wildlife Encounter Contingency Plan and the Wildlife Species of Concern Discovery Contingency Plan, as well as species-specific mitigation plans prepared for the Project per NEB Condition 44. These plans ensure potential effects of the Project on fish, vegetation and wildlife — including species at risk, are appropriately mitigated in accordance with relevant guidelines and requirements from regulators such as the NEB, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada and the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (BC EAO).

Mitigation measures are also presented in Volume 5A and Volume 5C of Trans Mountain’s Application. Most of the mitigation measures are applicable to multiple species and habitats including species at risk. These measures are expected to effectively reduce the Project’s residual effect on wildlife species at risk. Species-specific mitigation measures are included where relevant. Trans Mountain’s proposed mitigation measures were developed in accordance with established industry and regulatory guidelines.

Recommended timing/least risk windows and setback distances are in place to reduce disturbance to wildlife during sensitive periods (such as least-risk construction windows related to bird nesting or salmon spawning). Trans Mountain has considered various circumstances that may be encountered during Project construction or operations and has included them in recommended mitigation actions.

In the event there are conflicts between the timing/least risk windows and the construction schedule, Trans Mountain will consult with the appropriate regulatory authorities to develop appropriate site-specific and, if warranted, species-specific mitigation.

In addition to construction management personnel, Trans Mountain will have environmental inspectors in place during construction to ensure the Environmental Protection Plan measures are implemented as needed and as committed to. Trans Mountain will implement an environmental inspection and monitoring program that includes management oversight, on-site environmental inspection, an environmental training program for all on-site personnel and access to other environmental resources (e.g., wildlife biologists, water quality monitors) on an as-needed basis.

In addition, the Environmental Inspectors will be supported by appropriate Resource Specialists, as needed, who will have expertise in a particular resource feature associated with the Project. Trans Mountain will also engage Aboriginal Monitors who will work in conjunction with Environmental Inspectors to provide traditional knowledge to the construction program to ensure protection of the environment as well as monitor mitigation success in protecting the environment.

At least two months prior to commencing construction, Trans Mountain is required to file with the NEB a summary of relevant updates under the Species at Risk Act, including new Schedule 1 listings and new or amended Recovery Strategies, Action Plans and Management Plans for species that have the potential to be affected by the Project (NEB Condition 92).

Trans Mountain has already filed one such update and continues to review the ongoing changes being made to SARA listed species, or newly listed species. For example, information on the Western Painted Turtle was updated as recently as January of this year and will be summarized in a further update to the NEB under Condition 92. 

In addition, the BC EAO Condition 16 Wildlife Species at Risk Mitigation and Offset Plan is due six months prior to operations and deals with BC Red listed species.