Last year, a unique bioengineering plan was put in place along the pipeline right-of-way in Mount Robson Provincial Park, the result of a collaborative effort with engineering and environmental firms. Erosion and groundwater seepage concerns along a stretch of the right-of-way presented a unique opportunity to create a long-term solution that would not only mitigate these concerns, but also provide an offset to our operational carbon footprint.  


This plan was implemented in Fall 2019, when 18,000 balsam poplar cuttings were planted to absorb excess water and stabilize the slope. Balsam trees are an established species in Mount Robson Provincial Park; and when mature, they can absorb up to 200 gallons of groundwater daily.

Prior to installing the cuttings, work was done to prepare the slope for the cutting installation - repairing existing and installing new straw wattles on the slope surface to help slow water flow and reduce potential for additional erosion. The cuttings were harvested from an offsite location near Valemount and transported to the site. Crews then drilled auger holes for the cuttings, planting and backfilling the holes using a water truck and garden hose attachment.


Fast forward a year and the slope is showing excellent progress. On a recent visit, our environmental team conducted an assessment of two sample sites totalling about 700 trees each. Almost all of the trees within the sample plots have survived since the initial planting, and they have been effectively removing excess groundwater and preventing further erosion of the slope.

The trees, planted initially as two-metre cuttings, have developed small buds, leaves, and branches already. The slope will continue to be monitored and we expect the cuttings to grow another one to two meters by the end of the season, and they should continue to grow and fully mature within 10 to 15 years.