The Sarnia Products Pipeline is important infrastructure that provides products used by households and businesses across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The Waterdown to Finch Project involves the replacement of 63 km of this pipeline. GEI has supported the project through leading terrestrial ecology aspects of the applications.
GEI was retained by ERM to support the environmental assessment and permitting for the Waterdown to Finch Project, specifically relating to terrestrial ecological issues.
GEI completed a suite of surveys to support the baseline assessment of natural heritage features, including vegetation inventories, ecological land classification, breeding bird surveys, wildlife habitat assessment, and bat acoustic monitoring. Results of the surveys were incorporated into a description of the natural environment for the Environmental Report that was submitted to the Ontario Energy Board. GEI also assessed impacts on the terrestrial environment, recommended mitigation measures to avoid effects, documented net effects, and completed a cumulative effects assessment.
GEI also led the efforts to ensure the project was compliant with the Endangered Species Act. This included identifying mitigation measures to avoid impacts to habitats/ individuals of species at risk, and completing registrations under Ontario Regulation 242/08 for impacts to Butternut and Silver Shiner. GEI also worked to identify a partnership opportunity with the Royal Botanical Gardens for planting of Butternut trees as compensation for those removed through the registration.
In addition, GEI also completed a detailed tree inventory along the entirety of the project route and prepared arborist reports for the seven municipalities crossed by the project. As a component of this work, tree replanting plans were prepared to show where replacement tree planting would occur as compensation for removal trees.
Additional tasks included:
- Completion of a weed assessment within the agricultural lands to document occurrences of noxious and invasive species in advance of construction;
- Completion of vegetation salvage within a component of the corridor; and
- Completion of nesting bird sweeps and Jefferson Salamander monitoring in support of the geotechnical borehole investigations to ensure compliance with the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the Endangered Species Act.