Protecting the environment: The Lac du Bois Grasslands

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Guest post: Margaret Mears, Lead, Environment, Trans Mountain Expansion Project

At Trans Mountain, we take our commitment to environmental protection seriously. As part of the Expansion Project, substantial work has gone into determining environmental impacts and mitigation methods to reduce the impact to the environment. Our goal is to protect the environment, have as little impact as possible and, where possible, ensure we are returning the land to its original function.

In consultation with Kamloops stakeholders about the Project, we have heard a desire for special attention to be given to mitigation, reclamation and monitoring of the Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area. This is one of the reasons why the expanded pipeline will be constructed parallel to the existing TELUS Fiber Optic Transmission System that runs through the grasslands in order to minimize impact. We have also made efforts to narrow the pipeline corridor in order to reduce the potential for impacts and are committed to restoring the right-of way to native grassland vegetation following construction.

Since 2012, our environmental team has been out in the field studying a wide range of environmental features, including plants, soils, wildlife, species at risk and traditional land use. Following the field studies, extensive analysis was conducted to predict the effects associated with the Project, including those that could be caused by construction, operations, decommissioning or abandonment, as well as potential accidents and malfunctions.

These studies are being used to inform the more than 35 environmental plans Trans Mountain is developing in order to fulfill the 157 Conditions for the Project from the National Energy Board. Two of these Conditions directly relate to the Lac du Bois Grasslands: Condition 42 requires a Grasslands Survey and Mitigation Plan prior to construction and Condition 157 requires a Grasslands Reclamation Evaluation Report and Offset Plan to evaluate reclamation success after 10 years.

Site-specific mitigation and reclamation measures include revegetation of native grassland disturbed by the Project, reducing the extent along the corridor of invasive species already found in the grasslands, preventing introduction of new invasive species during construction and achieving a grassland function the same as, or better than, the baseline grassland function.

Learn more about our environmental plans here.

Trans Mountain has proven success building through environmentally sensitive areas and in conducting detailed restoration work. We won the Emerald Award for Environmental Stewardship for the restoration work performed in Jasper National Park following our Anchor Loop Project in 2008.