Construction at Westridge Marine Terminal began in 2017. Work includes the installation of permanent piles and expansion of the existing foreshore – works are authorized by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in a Fisheries Act Authorization (FAA) 19-HPAC-00753 for the expansion of Westridge Marine Terminal. The FAA requires exploration of available measures to avoid or limit residual effects on fish and fish habitat.

Trans Mountain has implemented a significant number of environmental mitigation measures for the construction of the new three berth dock complex for the Expansion Project. 

These measures include procedures and measures aimed at minimizing underwater and atmospheric noise impacts, such as prioritization of vibratory pile driving over impact piling, use of bubble curtains, use of a noise shroud during impact pile driving and underwater noise monitoring with mobile hydrophones. To help protect fish and marine mammals near construction activities, screens are installed on all water pump intakes, fish salvage activities are undertaken in foreshore infill areas and a comprehensive marine mammal observation program ensures construction activities are stopped if marine mammals are in the immediate area. As well, there is a robust fish collection program for the protection and rescue of fish impacted during construction.

In addition to the established environmental mitigation measures described above, Trans Mountain has introduced an innovative approach to fish and fish habitat protection at Westridge Marine Terminal to reduce disruption to fish during construction of the Expansion Project.

In April 2020, we implemented an additional fish deterrent method known as Acoustic Fish Deflection (AFD) in the offshore work area of Westridge Marine Terminal. This system is working alongside the other mitigation measures that have been in place throughout construction as described above and in Trans Mountain’s compliance with Canadian Energy Regulator Condition 81: Environmental Protection Plan for Westridge Marine Terminal.

The AFD system uses sound projectors to create a sound field that prevents fish from entering areas where active construction activities are taking place. The frequency levels of the AFD system are gentle on all marine life, including fragile fish.

The AFD systems technology was developed and produced in the United Kingdom. It was originally designed and procured to minimize harm to fish from water intakes at an electricity plant in Germany. This is the first time such a system has been be deployed in the Port of Vancouver or used on a project like this.

Bubble curtains have been implemented for impact pile driving to ensure air bubbles form a type of noise barrier along the wetted length of the pile. Mobile hydrophones are also deployed to monitor throughout pile driving to ensure underwater noise limits are maintained.

Learn more about work taking place at our Westridge Marine Terminal here.

The FAA from DFO also requires Trans Mountain to compensate for any loss in fish habitat through the provision of fisheries offset. To meet this requirement, Trans Mountain will construct rockfish habitat enhancements in the form of reefs for juvenile, intermediate and adult rockfish. The reefs will be constructed in a designated area of the facility’s water lot near the end of Project completion.