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«Pipeline Associated Watercourse Crossings 3rd Edition October 2005 The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) is the voice of the ...»

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However, the most appropriate technique for a specific project should be determined on a case-by-case basis. Depending on circumstances, regulatory agencies may have different requirements in regard to their preferred method of crossing. For example, DFO may consider such factors as site location, geographic particularities, type of fish communities affected, regional fisheries management priorities, etc., which may lead to regional differences in preferred crossing methods. There is no automatic selection process.

It should be recognized that no one technique is a panacea for environmental protection and both regulatory and industry representatives must be familiar with the advantages and disadvantages as well as the risk(s) associated with each technique. These are discussed in Section 4.4.

In many situations, regulatory agencies are asked to approve crossing methods with insufficient data and, consequently, take a conservative approach. In these situations, the agencies have responded with an assumption that aquatic resources may be adversely affected unless the proponent indicates otherwise. The onus falls on the proponent to undertake a suitable assessment to assist in the selection of the crossing technique and to communicate the probability of success of the method selected to all parties included in the review of the project. Detailed information, extensive site-specific planning and communication of procedures between the proponent and contractors are required to ensure high probability of success. Where insufficient information is submitted, the proponent can expect that the project may not be reviewed in a timely manner or may be approved only with the most restrictive conditions.

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1. Environmental sensitivity levels of watercourses are dependent on factors that vary regionally across Canada. The proponent, in consultation with provincial, territorial and federal fisheries authorities and other aquatic specialists, should determine the environmental sensitivity of a particular watercourse crossing location. Parameters such as species present, habitat use, season, downstream use by water users, flow, thermal regime and the findings of an aquatic assessment may be included in a determination of sensitivity (see Table 4.2 for detailed assessment parameters).

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$- the method is environmentally acceptable, however, may not be practical due to the high construction cost x- this method is generally not environmentally suitable, but may be permitted if habitat compensation is implemented n/a - not usually practical from an engineering or construction standpoint Adapted from Alberta Environment 1988a

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Table 4.9 summarizes considerations that can be used in selecting a vehicle crossing technique.

The table is based on a generic crossing where several techniques are suggested. The decision as to which will be selected will depend on detailed evaluation of specific concerns and pipeline construction techniques.

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1. Environmental sensitivity levels of watercourses are dependent on factors that vary regionally across Canada. The proponent, in consultation with provincial, territorial and federal fisheries authorities and other aquatic specialists, should determine the environmental sensitivity of a particular watercourse crossing location. Parameters such as species present, habitat use, season, downstream use by water users, flow, thermal regime and the findings of an aquatic assessment may be included in a determination of sensitivity (see Table 4.2 for detailed assessment parameters).

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$ - the method is environmentally acceptable, however, may not be practical due to the high construction cost relative to the sensitivity.

x - this method is generally not environmentally suitable, but may be permitted with habitat compensation.

n/a - not usually practical from an engineering or construction standpoint.

Adapted from Alberta Environment 1988a

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5.1 Planning and Design The level of planning and design undertaken for a watercourse crossing will depend upon watercourse sensitivity and project magnitude as well as the jurisdictional requirements. Prior to application, the applicant should ensure that the information requirements are clarified with the regulatory agencies and that required information is submitted as part of the documentation. Failure to do so may result in unnecessary delays in review.

Consultation with the appropriate regulatory agencies is advisable in all jurisdictions since it generally simplifies the planning process and facilitates approval of the application. Environmental non-government organizations with an interest in fish, fish habitat or aquatic environments (e.g., Trout Unlimited Canada), other environmental groups, landowners, users (e.g., outfitters and guides), Licensed water users and other interested parties (e.g., Aboriginal groups) should also be consulted when construction is planned in sensitive environments. As with the regulators, failure to undertake appropriate stakeholder consultation may result in unnecessary delays and added costs.

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5.2.1 General Mitigation Procedures The following measures are general in nature and should be considered regardless of construction activities. Such measures should be considered for implementation into the environmental protection plan whenever practical.

• Schedule construction to occur during periods of lowest sensitivity.

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Other instream sediment controls are designed to reduce water velocities and allow for settling of suspended materials in closer proximity to a trench excavation than would naturally occur. These controls are generally limited to controlling the transport of heavier suspended sediments that are temporarily within the water column. Such techniques are normally used in close proximity to the crossing since most of the coarser particles settle out naturally within a few hundred metres of the excavation.

Recent construction experience with sediment mats (e.g., Sedimat) has indicated that placement of these woven mats downstream of the crossing, especially in sensitive habitats, traps large amounts of bedload and suspended sediment. These mats are removed after construction and, if biodegradable, can be used during bank restoration.

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All instream controls should be installed prior to construction and maintained throughout their installation period. Where possible and practical, accumulated sediment should be regularly removed to prevent accidental transport of collected

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There are many factors to consider in deciding whether a section of pipeline crossing a water body should be abandoned in place or removed. More specifically, the risks associated with abandoning the pipeline in place, including the potential for contamination and pipe exposure, have to be weighed against the cost and environmental impact of removal (PASC 1996).

These trade-offs should be assessed on a site-specific basis, taking into account the size and dynamics of the water body, the design of the pipeline crossing, soil characteristics, slope stability, and environmental sensitivities. While these issues must be evaluated, in most cases it can be expected that abandonment-in-place will be the preferred option (PASC 1996).

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DFO’s Policy for the Management of Fish Habitat (1986) provides a comprehensive framework for the conservation, restoration and development of fish habitats that contribute directly or indirectly to a fishery or potential fishery.

Its long-term objective is to achieve an overall net gain in the productive capacity of fish habitats by conserving the current productive capacity of habitats ("no net loss"), restoring damaged fish habitats and improving and creating fish habitats.

Other federal, provincial and territorial legislation, strategies, policies and guidelines also provide guidance to proponents.

Proponents are frequently confused about the distinction between mitigation and compensation. Habitat ‘mitigation’ is undertaken as a normal part of water crossing construction to prevent impacts on fish habitats and biota. In all cases, the first preference is to avoid potential effects on aquatic and riparian habitat, generally by modifying the route or crossing method. Where this is not possible, the next priority is to reduce potential negative effects through appropriate mitigation measures. These mitigation measures may include changes to project design and timing, environmental protection measures applied during construction, and restoration of riparian, bank and instream habitat disturbed by construction activities.

Habitat ‘compensation’ is undertaken by proponents to achieve "no net loss" where crossing activities could cause a HADD. The need for compensation is determined as part of the Fisheries Act authorization process. Compensation is described more fully in Section 6.1 below.

Riparian, bank and instream habitat restoration and enhancement techniques are summarized in Section 6.2 below. Restoration’ is undertaken to restore ecological function lost as a result of disturbance. ‘Enhancement’ is undertaken to improve the productive capacity or function use of habitat. Restoration and compensation techniques may be applied for both mitigation and compensation purposes.

6.1 Compensation

According to the Policy for the Management of Fish Habitat (DFO 1986), compensation is "the replacement of natural habitat, increase in the productivity of existing habitat, or maintenance of fish production by artificial means in circumstances dictated by social and economic conditions, where mitigation techniques and other measures are not adequate to maintain habitats for Canada’s fisheries resources". Cash in lieu of compensation is not acceptable.

Compensation is the least preferred option for addressing effects on fish habitat and is only considered when adequate mitigation is impossible or impractical. In these cases, where HADD is likely to occur (typically 10% of crossings reviewed by DFO), a proponent should request a Subsection 35(2) Authorization from DFO. The proponent is within its legal rights to proceed without getting this

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The Subsection 35(2) Authorization allows a proponent to proceed under prescribed conditions, including the need to achieve "no net loss" by compensating for adverse effects on fish habitat. However, even though a proponent may be willing to undertake compensation, issuance of a Subsection 35(2) Authorization with compensation specified is the least preferred option and may not be acceptable for particularly valuable fish habitat. Authorizations will not normally be issued until adequate compensation measures are specified.

Compensation measures may be set out directly in the Subsection 35(2) Authorization via reference in the Authorization or through legal agreement between the proponent and DFO. All costs associated with compensation are the responsibility of the proponent.

Proponents should consult with DFO and as necessary, provincial or territorial representatives, before developing compensation measures to confirm that mitigation is not possible and that compensation is an acceptable option.

Proponents will also need to demonstrate that proposed compensation measures are technically and economically feasible and appropriate for each crossing requiring an Authorization.

6.1.1 Compensation Plans Any instruction, action, intervention, construction or undertaking to offset an unmitigated impact to fish habitat is considered an effort towards compensation.

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