At Trans Mountain, we take our commitment to environmental protection seriously and we’ve developed policies and procedures for the protection of migratory birds and their habitat.

Mitigation measures are in place to ensure birds and their nests are protected during construction of the Expansion Project, including non-intrusive nest sweeps and establishing species-specific buffer zones around active nests to ensure our construction activities have the least impact possible on nesting birds.

In March 2022, a Wildlife Resource Specialist (WRS) working on the Project noted Great Blue Heron activity in proximity to a previously established nest colony near Bridal Falls, BC. Great Blue Herons are the largest heron species in North America and are found throughout BC, near lakes and coastal areas. They may nest individually or in heronries (colonies) with dozens or sometimes hundreds of birds and typically return to the same nesting areas year after year.

As soon as the herons were spotted, work was immediately suspended within a 260-metre “quiet buffer” to allow the herons to occupy their nests without construction disturbance.

Per the BC Provincial Management Plan for Great Blue Herons, certain activities may not occur between January 15 to September 15 (or until the herons have fledged). These activities include drilling, jackhammering and blasting activities, which are to be avoided within one kilometre of a colony as they cause very high noise or vibratory disturbance to the herons. As this is the case, Trans Mountain suspended blasting plans in the area until the heron nesting period is over in fall 2022 or until a WRS advises work may recommence.

Initial baseline monitoring was conducted by the WRS and ongoing monitoring is in place. Project construction activity is planned to extend up to the “quiet buffer,” with the potential for a phased approach to construction thereafter, once the herons have re-established their nests and the WRS has authorized the works to occur. All works within the 60 to 260-metre buffer (i.e., quiet buffer) would require part-time monitoring with a minimum of three hours for the first three days of each new construction activity. This phased approach allows the herons to habituate to construction activity. If, at any point, advancement of construction activities causes any observable negative impact to the herons, work will be stopped or reduced. No work is anticipated inside the 60-metre "no disturbance buffer."

Trans Mountain has developed more than 60 environmental protection and management plans relating to specific aspects of construction. These plans have been approved by the Canada Energy Regulator and must be implemented before, during and after construction along the pipeline right-of-way, at facilities and related access areas. Trans Mountain’s plans are in addition to regulations, codes and standards set out by federal and provincial regulators. To learn more, click here.

To support our environmental protection goals and to further our culture of environmental awareness, 10 Environmental Protection Rules (EPRs) have been established for all Trans Mountain employees and contractors to follow at every Expansion Project worksite. The program and rules are the first of their kind to address and promote environmental protection in the industry and the protection of migratory birds is the focus of one of these EPRs.