Wetland BMP Knowledge Exchange

CONCURRENT BMP SESSIONS

SESSIONS 1 & 2

 

Providing Solutions Using Innovative Tools
Kimberly Dhun, Michael Head, and Terri Beaupre, Vieworx Geophoto Inc., #112 8716 108 Street Grande Prairie, AB   T8V 4C7, Bus: (780) 532-3353, Email: kimberly.dhun@vieworx.ca 

Innovative technologies allow us to improve current workflows by increasing productivity while minimizing risks.  This presentation centered on the innovative tools and technologies utilized by Vieworx for planning and wetland management. For example, we demonstrated how LiDAR safely and effectively measures the necessary information for wetland management such wetland delineation and inundation.  We showed by using machine control one can successfully complete jobs correctly the first time and eliminates the guess work in grading a site. We demonstrated several sustainable practices for access and reducing footprint. Finally, we showed oil and gas examples of monitoring and asset management for increasing productivity by allowing individuals to manage and manipulate information about their right of ways from their desktop.

 

The SEEDS Organic Puck: An Innovative System for Establishing Native Plants on Disturbed Sites

Richard Krygier*, Research Project Leader, Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, 5320 122 St. Edmonton, AB T6H 3S5, Bus: (780) 435-7286, Email: richard.krygier@canada.ca

Dave Larsen, CEO, Global Restoration Corp; Tim Vinge, Landscape Restoration Specialist, Alberta Environment and Parks

 

The objective of the SEEDS (Seed Enhanced Ecological Delivery System) project is to develop and test a seed delivery technology that improves the emergence and early establishment of native plants (trees, shrubs and herbaceous) for the reclamation of disturbed boreal forest sites. The concept is to create a microsite product that can be used to transport seed and to successfully establish plants on sites where no suitable microsites exist. We have sourced and combined multiple organic and inorganic ingredients in various ratios (over 100 recipes) and identified combinations that result in a pressed puck with physical (e.g., mechanical stability for transportation, moisture holding) and chemical attributes that create a superior microsite for seed germination and early seedling growth. In greenhouse trials there was a significant difference in germination success of dogwood and black spruce between the controls and the puck treatments on loam and sandy soils. We are also testing multiple puck coatings in greenhouse and field trials to improve moisture retention. In a small field trial in a disturbed treed muskeg, 75% of pucks placed on various microsites in the spring had one or more black spruce seedlings at the end of 2015, a very dry year. This innovative seed delivery system may offer a new cost-effective strategy to establish diverse native plant species on the landscape, thereby contributing to increasing biodiversity and restoration of ecosystems.

 

Richard Krygier is a researcher project leader with the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre located in Edmonton. He began working with the Canadian Forest Service in 2001 in reforestation research. In 2005 he transitioned into intensive fibre management research, specifically in the areas of intensive silviculture and short rotation woody crop production. He has been investigating the application of wastewater and biosolids to fast growing woody crops like willows and poplars as a means to increase yields and for waste treatment. Richard has recently expanded his work on the use woody plants for phytoremediation to forest ecosystems disturbed by industrial activity like oil sands development.

 

Richard completed his Bachelor of Science in Forestry and his Master of Science in Forestry at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay Ontario. He worked in the forest industry in Ontario, BC and Alberta over 14 years in silviculture and forest management.

Minimal Disturbance Pipeline Construction Procedures in Peatland Areas 

Jennifer Barker, Environmental Advisor and Darwin McNeely, Environmental Coordinator, TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., 450 1 St. SW Calgary, AB T2P 5H1, Bus: (403) 920-2000, Email: jennifer_barker@transcanada.com; darwin_mcneely@transcanada.com 

 

TransCanada presents an account of pipeline construction methods implemented in the boreal regions of Alberta. These minimal disturbance construction techniques reduce the impacts of pipeline construction on boreal peatlands and watercourses, resulting in temporary and short-term impacts to wetlands. These construction methods are demonstrating improvements in the recovery of native vegetation, preservation of riparian areas, maintenance of natural drainage patterns and minimizing the spread of weeds.

 

Jennifer Barker is an Environmental Advisor for TransCanada, with a background in plant ecology and reclamation. She is the Chair for the Society for Ecological Restoration – Western Canada Chapter and is a member of the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists. Her focus at TransCanada is environmental planning and permitting for both provincially and federally regulated pipeline projects in Alberta. She also supports her team as a subject matter expert on vegetation and wetlands.

 

Darwin McNeely is a contract Environmental Coordinator for TransCanada, specializing in pipeline routing, minimal

disturbance and other environmental mitigation measures for pipeline construction projects.  He supports the environmental planners and advisors and environmental inspectors during all stages of a project; from the assessment stage to post-construction monitoring. He ensures that the construction contractors are adhering to TransCanada’s environmental protection plans and procedures.

Providing Management Focus for Landscape Planning in the Lower Athabasca Region  

Tim Vinge, Land Management Planner, Alberta Environment and Parks, 9915 108 St. Edmonton, AB T5K 2G8, Bus: (780) 638-3214, Email: tim.vinge@gov.ab.ca  

The presentation will discuss the process currently being used to provide a management focus for landscape planning in the Lower Athabasca region. The presentation will discuss how planners prioritize their decisions (Landscape and site level) on the landscape, based on scale. Managers must ensure that areas selected for restoration will contribute to improving biodiversity across the landscape and reestablish endangered species like caribou. Linear features create a range of problems for animals and birds by fragmenting the landscape into small pieces. Once fragmented these habitats become unusable by many species. Seismic lines also allow wolves to travel more quickly and kill caribou. These linear features need to be restored in order to improve landscapes for a number of species.  Management focus occurs at two distinct levels. First, at the landscape level and then at the site level.  A program called Marxan is used to evaluate priority locations on the landscape for management. Marxan is a spatial optimization program that was developed in Queensland Australia for defining priority conservation areas in marine environments. The program has been adapted for use in terrestrial management. Marxan uses a number of biodiversity (plants, animals and bird species) indicators, developed by the Alberta Bio Monitoring Institute to help prioritize management. Management priorities are first established at the landscape level. Once established there is a further prioritization within each area. This represents a site level focus. Site level focus is mainly on linear features (seismic lines, pipelines, utility corridors). Research conducted at the University of Alberta under the DART (Disturbance and Recovery Trajectories) program provide information that helps to prioritize restoration of linear features. The DART program focuses on two main components, restorability of linear features and habitat importance that surrounds these linear features.

 

Tim Vinge is a Professional Forester with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from the University of Alberta and a Technical Diploma in Renewable Resources from Lethbridge Community College. Tim worked for 25 years as a silviculture and planning forester for Canadian Forest Products Limited in the North Western Alberta. During this time Tim worked on the development of an ecosystem based approach for forest management planning for Canfor and Daishowa Marubeni. Tim was one of the initiators of the Ecological Management Emulating Natural Disturbance (EMEND) study in North Western Alberta. The study examined the importance of retaining forest structure for maintaining ecological processes in harvested areas. Tim currently works for the Government of Alberta as a Landscape Ecologist. In this capacity he provides guidance on the reclamation of linear features and the use of wood applications for restoration and access management. For the last two years Tim has been working on the Landscape Management Plan for the Lower Athabasca Region. Most of the work for the LMP has been on using the Marxan Optimization program to provide management focus for a range of values in the Lower Athabasca Region. Tim is the co-chair of the Lands Working Group of CEMA (Cumulative Environmental Management Association). CEMA is a multi-stakeholder organization that provides input into projects that will inform the Government of Alberta on air, water, land and indigenous issues. Tim represented the Government of Alberta on the Oil Sands Leadership Initiative for 3 years. Tim is also working on a number of research projects with industry and academic partners at several Universities. The research will facilitate the development of new and innovative methods for revegetating disturbed sites in the boreal forest.

Resource Roads and Wetlands: Practical Applications to Maintain Hydrologic Connectivity   

Clayton Gillies, R.P.F., R.P.Bio., Senior Researcher, FPInnovations, 2665 East Mall Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Bus: (604) 224-3221, Email: clayton.gillies@fpinnovations.ca   

Various natural resource industries develop access roads in Canada’s remote landscapes. Often these resource roads pass through wetlands, such as fens, bogs, and swamps, and thus present environmental and operational challenges for road managers. In addition, the effects of these resource roads on the many ecological functions of wetlands are of increasing concern to Canada’s forest industry, other resource-based industries, governments, and conservation organizations. When a resource road is built through a wetland, the wetland’s hydrologic functions may be compromised; without the knowledge of a wetlands flow characteristics and relevant planning, resource roads can alter the hydrology of a wetland by interfering or blocking flows. Understanding and promoting adequate water management techniques for resource roads in wetlands may conceivably address many environmental and operational challenges. With careful planning, knowledge of wetlands and their flow characteristics, and the development and use of best management practices (BMPs) for water management, it is anticipated that resource roads crossing wetlands can function as anticipated without negatively impacting the wetland. When developing and implementing industry BMP’s the intent is to minimize negative impacts caused by operations. Operator training is critical for the successful implementation of BMP’s in the field. This presentation will highlight practical and operational applications of water management techniques for resource roads crossing wetlands.

 

Clayton Gillies has been with FPInnovations (formerly FERIC) for 20 years and is currently a Senior Researcher in the Resource Roads Group. He is a registered professional forester and a professional biologist in British Columbia as well as a member of the International Erosion Control Association. Clayton has research experience and has published reports on a variety of projects including: culvert and arch stream crossing studies; watershed restoration and road deactivation; partial cutting and wind firmness of stand edges. Clayton has written an Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook for the forest and resource industries in Canada and has given workshops and field days across Canada to present the handbook to practitioners. Applicable to this workshop has been Clayton’s recent research work on the interaction of resource roads and wetlands with a focus on both bearing requirements for road use and water management requirements to allow for continued hydrologic function of the wetland.

Planning for Minimizing Impacts to Peatlands   

Dean MacKenzie, General Manager Natural Resource Assessment, Monitoring & Reclamation, Vertex Resources Group Ltd., 8525 Davies Road NW Edmonton, AB T6E 4N3, Bus: (780) 464-3295, Email: dmackenzie@vertex.ca   

Minimizing impacts to peatlands from in-situ oil sands development and operations requires planning at all stages of development. Peatlands are resilient to various types of disturbances; however, many factors such as site type, hydrology, disturbance intensity and disturbance frequency will impact how well peatlands recover from disturbance. There are many different types of disturbances created in an in-situ oil sands development, some disturbances are more intense, permanent and larger than others. The larger, intense, permanent disturbances such as pads and access roads are more difficult to reclaim and restore.  Disturbances that are less intense and more temporary, such as seismic lines or drilled and abandoned wellsites, can be put on a path of fast trajectory towards self-sustaining peatlands if site construction and reclamation is properly planned and executed. Various best practices and new techniques that can be implemented in the planning, construction and reclamation stages of in-situ oil sands operations are discussed. 

 

Dean MacKenzie is the General Manager of Natural Resource Assessment, Monitoring and Reclamation at Vertex Resources Group Ltd. Dean MacKenzie manages projects across western Canada for various industries including oil sands mining, thermal/heavy oil, conventional oil and gas, coal mining, pipelines aggregate mining and peat harvesting operations. He is involved in developing new and improved reclamation practices for disturbed land, including peatlands. Dean MacKenzie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental and Conservation Sciences and a Master’s and Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Remediation and Reclamation from the University of Alberta. Dean MacKenzie prepared the Best Management Practices for Conservation of Reclamation Materials in the Mineable Oil Sands Region of Alberta (Alberta Environment and Water, 2012). Dean Mackenzie continues to apply science based solutions, practically at various scales from small wellsites to mines on various ecosystems ranging from grasslands to peatlands.

Balancing Wetland Conservation and Development in a Regulated Utility   

Erin Donovan*, Environmental Manager, and Shanon Leggo, Environmental Supervisor, ATCO Electric Ltd., 10035 105 St. Edmonton, AB T5J 2V6, Bus: (780) 292-6712, Email: erin.donovan@atcoelectric.com; shanon.leggo@atcoelectric.com    

In 2014, ATCO Electric initiated a year long intensive project to update our Environmental Management System for transmission projects.  Some of our most frequent and significant impacts to the environment involve working in and around wetlands. We recognized the need for change in part due to, several legally reportable incidents related to wetlands. The challenge for a regulated utility was balancing the needs and wants of multiple stakeholders and aligning those desires with the environmental goals for ATCO Electric. 

 

Erin Donovan is the Manger, Environment for ATCO Electric. She has worked at ATCO for nearly 2 years in the Environment department.  Erin has previously worked in Construction Materials, Wood Products Manufacturing and Oil and Gas consulting assisting those industries with balancing their production needs with the environment.   She’s served on several industry-environment and industry-government working groups to further knowledge and interaction of both sides of the issues.

Shanon Leggo is a Professional Biologist with a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology from the University of Alberta.  She has worked as an Environmental Supervisor with ATCO Electric for 3 years where she has aided in the understanding, developing and implementing of best management practices for many environmental aspects including wetlands.  Prior to ATCO Electric, Shanon worked as a Wildlife Biologist/Project Manager with a large consulting company for 8 years. 

SESSIONS 3 & 4

 

Ducks Unlimited Canada Enhanced Wetland Classification and Mapping   

Al Richard, Head Boreal Conservation Partnerships and Services, Ducks Unlimited Canada, 17504 111 Ave, Edmonton, AB T5S 0A2, Bus: (780) 930-1254, Email: a_richard@ducks.ca 

Wetlands throughout Canada’s boreal forest are diverse, extensive, and highly interconnected.  These wetlands provide important habitat for wildlife including waterfowl and the 2.6 million km2 of Canada’s boreal forest is second only to the Prairie Pothole Region in terms of waterfowl use.  Millions of ducks, geese and other waterbirds, nest in the boreal, comprising approximately 40% of the North American waterfowl breeding population. In addition to waterfowl habitat, wetlands provide a variety of goods and services that benefit our society, economy and the environment. Because it is a challenge to manage what we don’t know, having a standardized and comprehensive inventory is key to understanding and managing Canada’s boreal wetlands and the goods and service they provide.

 

The Enhanced Wetland Classification (EWC) that Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) has developed is an ecologically based hierarchical wetland classification and inventory that profiles the type, location and distribution of wetlands for Canada’s boreal plains ecozone. Up to 19 detailed wetland classes are mapped, which conform to the Canadian Wetland Classification System (national wetland classification standard) at the major class level, and to the Alberta Wetland Classification System at the class and form levels. DUC, in partnership with various governments and industries, has mapped the vast majority of the boreal and taiga plain ecozones of the western Canadian provinces (approximately 350,000 km2). Because the EWC is ecologically based, additional spatially referenced information (e.g., hydrology, pH) can be inferred based on the various habitat classes mapped. The EWC can also inform ecological models that require an understanding of habitat type, such as biodiversity potential values, wildlife models (e.g., caribou / waterfowl), and carbon subsurface storage values.

The EWC serves as a regional baseline of wetland type, location, and ecology that is being used for a variety of conservation planning and operational purposes. The EWC and associated tools can be used to help protect key wetlands where opportunities exist, and to advance sustainable land use practices for working in and around boreal wetlands, including informing the development of BMP’s to avoid or minimize impacts to boreal wetlands.  

 

Al Richard is a graduate of the University of Lethbridge (Biology) and has a diploma in Renewable Resource Management from Lethbridge Community College. Working with Ducks Unlimited for 28 years out of Edmonton, Al’s capacity over the years has included delivering habitat programs, managing remote sensing and GIS programs, and more recently leading the Conservation Partnerships and Services with the Boreal Program. Living with his wife and three sons northwest of Edmonton, Al enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, construction, and spending time at the lake with family and friends.

Cenovus LiDea Forest Restoration Project    

Michael Cody, Senior Advisor - Land and Biodiversity, Cenovus Energy Inc., 500 Centre St. SE, P.O. Box 766 Calgary, AB   T2P 0M5, Bus: (403) 766-3295, Email: michael.cody@cenovus.com  

Caribou declines are related to anthropogenic disturbance in boreal forest, particularly in treed bog and fen habitat.  Arrested succession, evidenced by slow and unpredictable return to forest cover following disturbance of wet site types, is apparent both in our legacy disturbances as well as references in the forest science and ecology literature.  With the requirement to restore herd ranges to condition such that herds may be self-sustaining (Federal Caribou Recovery Strategy under SARA), time and space limits make slow and/or unpredictable return to forest cover a major management challenge.  In the Cenovus LiDea project, we test the idea that active restoration using silviculture (site preparation, planting, and stand modification) may resolve arrested succession and address the basic mechanisms that lead to caribou decline.  Early results suggest that conifer growth and survival, and volunteer woody ingress, are dramatically improved with this technique.  Additionally, once linear features are treated for restoration, they are no longer used preferentially by large mammals.  Cenovus Energy Inc. proposes to employ linear restoration techniques across a major proportion of the Cold Lake caribou herd range.  

 

Michael Cody has a background is in forestry, soil science and rural development with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry (1992) and a Master of Science in Agroforestry (1999) from the University of Alberta.  Michael has been a Registered Professional Forester since 1996 and has worked in the forest and energy industries as well as in applied research and international development. Michael began working in NE Alberta in 2004 and over the years has focused on development of improved forest disturbance and reclamation/restoration practices for the energy sector.  Michael established a series of experimental restoration trials starting in 2008 and ultimately the Cenovus LiDea II project that will be the topic of presentation.

Industrial Project Implementation and Boreal Water Bodies - Cradle to Grave Best Management Practice Considerations     

Rick Shewchuck, President, Little Bear Environmental Consulting Ltd., Edmonton, AB, Bus: (780) 660-7063, Email: littlebearconsulting@gmail.com  

As defined within the Alberta Water Act, “water body” means any location where water flows or is present, whether or not the flow or the presence of water is continuous, intermittent or occurs only during a flood, and includes but is not limited to wetlands and aquifers. Wetland distribution in the Boreal region including the Alberta oil sands region ranges between 25% to > 55%. Hydrological processes are driven by shallow ground water flow (unconfined aquifers) and to a lesser extent surficial flow.  Primary development within this area focusses upon extraction of oil resources and it’s supporting infrastructure needs. The presentation will review the physical and functional disturbance challenges, best management practices (BMP),  BMP enhancements and development opportunities centered on project planning/design, construction, operation and infrastructure decommissioning.

 

Rick Shewchuck is President of Little Bear Environmental Consulting Ltd. and has 39 years of experience in water body conservation, restoration and regulatory compliance implementation requirements throughout western Canada with a focus on practical BMP implementation strategies and tactics within Alberta.  He is recognized as an Environmental Professional in Canada (EP) with certification in Site Assessment, Reclamation, Fisheries and Wildlife and Natural Resource Management. He is also currently recognized as Qualified Wetland Science Practitioner (QWSP) and Qualified Aquatic Environmental Specialist (QAES) in Alberta.

Integrated Planning for Multiple Values (and Multiple Scales) Across Industrial Sectors      

Margaret Donnelly, Alberta Pacific Forest Industries Inc., Box 8000 Boyle, AB T0A 0M0, Bus: (780) 213-4544, Email: margaret.donnelly@alpac.ca  

Alberta is challenged to sustainably manage forest landscapes for multiple benefits, including economic opportunities related to utilization of natural resources, as well as the social, cultural and ecological values associated with forest ecosystems.  Development of energy and forest resources in northeastern Alberta has led to changes in the forest and associated cumulative effects of development in recent years.  The Alberta government has been developing new regulatory requirements and changes to resource policy since 2009 (Alberta Land Stewardship Act) to enable more effective planning, implementation and monitoring of resource development activities and provide a framework to address cumulative effects management. The Lower Athabasca Regional Plan (LARP) and associated Biodiversity Management Framework call for integrated land management (ILM) approaches to achieve regional objectives relating to biodiversity conservation and healthy functioning forests. Federal and Provincial policy relating to the conservation of caribou habitat and an emerging Alberta Wetland Policy have focused interest on the integration of development planning activities with terrestrial and aquatic systems.  These recent shifts in policy and regulatory requirements, in particular the use of ILM to reduce industrial footprint, present unique opportunities &/or incentives to look more closely at the benefits of collaborative ILM, as well as ways to bridge some of the potential challenges to planning across industrial sectors. 

 

Al-Pac has been developing ways to integrate ILM more fully into forest operations.  In particular, opportunities to develop ILM practices that move beyond road sharing to a more fully integrated planning process that considers both disturbance and restoration activities across time and space.  Several ILM projects Al-Pac is currently involved in were outlined and future opportunities for collaborative undertakings outlined.  The projects included; the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement – caribou action planning, the CEMA Stony 800 Restoration project, the Biodiversity using ranges of natural disturbance project (BURND), the Regional Industry Caribou Collaboration (RICC) and the Dillon Wildlands Caribou Habitat Restoration Project. 

 

Margaret Donnelly is a forest ecologist and integrated land management specialist with Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries in Boyle, Alberta.  For the past 3 years, Margaret has focused her many years of experience on the implementation of ecosystem-based and sustainable forestry practices within Al-Pac as well as developing approaches to integrate Al-Pac’s activities more closely with the energy sector.  She was involved in Al-Pac’s first caribou habitat restoration project (in Dillon Wildlands Park) over the last several years and participates in several collaborative projects with energy sector companies. 

A tale of two roads: consequences of peat conditions and construction practices on peatland effects, reclaimability, and best practice development.      

Terry Osko, President, Circle T Consulting Inc., P.O. Box Vegreville, AB T9C 1R3, Bus: (780) 632-3387, Email: terryosko@circletconsulting.ca 

Peatlands vary with respect to peat depth, water content, and other physical characteristics. As such, construction of industrial infrastructure on peatlands poses varied risks and leads to varying consequences depending on the nature of the peat and on construction practices applied. Two peatland road reclamation projects are described. One road was constructed on deep peat with a large amount of peat-displacing fill, while the other was constructed on shallower peat with less fill that was properly “floated” on the peat surface. While both roads impeded natural drainage, they differed in how well they could be reclaimed and how completely their effects could be removed from the peatland. This talk explores these differences, focusing on how such information should inform future road construction decisions, including avoidance and mitigation of effects by evaluating where roads should be built and what practices should be used given the peat conditions encountered.

 

Terry Osko has been engaged in applied research projects with energy companies for the past dozen years, exploring alternative construction and reclamation practices for boreal well sites and roads. His company, Circle T Consulting, was selected as a finalist in the small business category for the 2015 Emerald Awards for his boreal work. Terry also collaborates with other consulting companies on various projects and operates a small farm with his family.

Removing In-Situ Footprint in Boreal Peatlands      

Bin Xu, NSERC Industrial Research Chair - Peatland Restoration, NAIT Boreal Institute, 8102 99 Ave Peace River, AB T8S 1R2, Bus: (780) 618-2603, Email: binx@nait.ca 

Restoring peatlands in the in situ oil sands region of northern Alberta presents a set of challenges that have yet to be properly addressed. The lack of proven, cost-effective methods for restoring peatlands, coupled with a tightening regulatory environment suggest that peatland restoration will likely result in substantial long-term liability, possibly even limiting further development for the oil sands resource. Expanding the array of restoration methods and technologies for peatland management and restoration is of utmost urgency given the importance of energy sector to Canada’s overall economic wellbeing.  Several peatland restoration trials on clay well pads as well as OSE pads will be presented. There are two contrasting approaches to restore clay pads. One approach is to completely remove clay cap and create a peat surface followed by donor moss transfer. The other approach is to remove most the clay cap to the surrounding peatland level, thus initiating early peatland development on rewetted mineral substrates. Both approaches have been applied on well pads with promising results. Adaptation of both methods had been used to address additional challenges such as a decommissioned airstrip and a winter road through a rich fen complex built with thick wood chips. Several OSE peatland reclamation trials will also be presented and discussed.

 

Dr. Bin Xu is a peatland ecologist with a PhD in Plant Biology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He received his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences in early 2000s from Wuhan University, China and his Master of Science in Biology from Villanova University, Pennsylvania. He worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Calgary from August 2011 to the end of 2012. His research focuses on the impact of human activities on the ecology, biogeochemistry, and ecosystem functions of boreal peatlands across northern Alberta, from Peace River, Slave Lake, Athabasca, to Fort McMurray. Since 2013, he has been working as the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Peatland Restoration at the NAIT Boreal Research Institute in Peace River, Alberta. He is working closely with university collaborators, industry partners and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop science-based, effective techniques and methods to reclaim disturbed peatlands by in-situ extraction in the Peace region.

Wetland Mitigation on Manitoba Hydro Transmission Rights of Way: From Planning to Operations      

James Matthewson, Senior Environmental Assessment Officer, Manitoba Hydro, 820 Taylor Avenue Winnipeg, MB R3C 2P4, Bus: (204) 360-3119, Email: jmatthewson@hydro.mb.ca  

Manitoba contains over 22 million hectares of wetlands, and Manitoba Hydro is growing its 12,000 km of transmission system to meet growing energy demands. In efforts to minimize its effects on wetlands and recognize the role they play in the environment, Manitoba Hydro has incorporated consideration for wetlands as a key criterion in its route selection process.  With over abundant wetlands, avoidance is not always possible, to address any potential effects when working in wetlands, Manitoba Hydro implements standard mitigation practices during construction and operations.  To better understand the effects of new transmission line development on wetlands, monitoring of ground disturbance, vegetation species abundance and composition, along with wildlife species that consider wetlands their home is ongoing.  Manitoba Hydro continues to take a multi-pronged approach to mitigate project effects on wetlands, but appreciates the need to advance the development of best management practices for a consistent scientifically based approach to effective wetland protection.

 

James Matthewson is a Senior Environmental Assessment Officer with Manitoba Hydro. He has conducted numerous environmental assessments for transmission facilities throughout Manitoba, and is responsible for the management of the Transmission Environmental Protection Program which implements mitigation and monitoring programs for hydroelectric projects in Manitoba.

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