Environmental Regulatory Approvals for the Valley Ridge Feedermain:
Phase I (2003-2004)
Highwood is currently completing a fish habitat assessment, fish inventory
and spawning study for a directional drill of the Bow River. The study
requires field assessments during different seasons to document baseline
fisheries conditions and potential impacts from the water pipeline.
The project also includes preparation of an emergency response plan
and all regulatory notifications, including Department of Fisheries
and Oceans, Canadian Coastguard and Alberta Environment.
Biophysical Impact Assessment for a Reservoir and Feedermain at
Broadcast Hill (2003)
Highwood is currently conducting a biophysical impact assessment for
the City of Calgary's construction of a feedermain, reservoir and pump
station to service residential needs in SW Calgary. Field surveys were
carried out to document the presence and extent of rare plants, native
vegetation communities, nesting habitat and breeding birds. Appropriate
mitigation measures and contingency plans were developed for all construction
activities and potential emergencies or accidents to minimize environmental
impacts. A Restoration Plan is also being developed to ensure successful
habitat restoration for native plants and animals.
CEAA Screening for the Village of Field Water Reservoir (2003)
Highwood completed a Screening under the Canadian Environmental
Assessment Act of major upgrades to the Village of Field's water
supply and treatment infrastructure. The Responsible Authority is Parks
Canada, and the screening complies with all requirements specified in
the Terms of Reference issued by Parks. The project includes assessment
of impacts to water quality, vegetation and wildlife, to name a few.
Initial Environmental Overview for Highway 2A (2003)
Highwood completed an initial environmental overview of key environmental
issues and concerns regarding vegetation and wildlife ecosystem components
for future road improvements of Highway 2A. The approach includes mapping
vegetation communities and wildlife habitat, proposing mitigations to
minimize impacts, and developing recommendations for further investigation,
Horizon Project Summary Report (2003)
Highwood summarized the environmental impact assessment for the Horizon Project into a comprehensive document to meet CEAA requirements. This document focused on those aspects that have the greatest potential impacts, developed an approach for assigning levels of significance to all project components and included major stakeholder comments.
Environmental Assessment of Beaver Creek, B.C. (2003)
Highwood participated in an environmental assessment of Beaver Creek, BC, a small tributary of the Columbia River that is impacted by agriculture, municipal runoff and sewage effluent. Water quality and benthic invertebrates data were analysed and the effects of point and non-point source inputs on the health and status of Beaver Creek were assessed. Recommendations for watershed management planning and future monitoring studies were included.
Glacier National Park Aggregate Study: Environmental and Economic
Highwood is contributing environmental assessment expertise to the potential re-opening of aggregate operations at specific sites in Glacier National Park. The assessment involves using a comparative matrix to evaluate the feasibility of several project options. The preferred project option will undergo an assessment of environmental impacts, as well as mitigations to reduce the project's environmental effects.
Issuance of Municipal Lease and Licenses to the Town of Banff by
the Federal Crown (2003)
Highwood is conducting an environmental assessment for sites within 30 m of waterbodies, within critical wildlife areas (including movement corridors) and adjacent to contaminated sites for which the Town of Banff requires new leases and licenses. The assessment evaluates the impacts of and provides mitigations for routine maintenance and operation activities associated with the sites before leases and licenses can be granted.
Identification of the Biophysical and Research Gaps Associated with
Hydrocarbon Exploration, Development and Transmission in the Mackenzie
Highwood completed a gap analysis of land use and traditional knowledge
associated with biophysical information in the Mackenzie Valley. The
scope of the project was to review and assess existing information.
This entailed intense literature review and contacting regional boards
in the Northwest Territories Gwich'in, Sahtu and Deh Cho settlement
regions, as well as the territorial and federal government. The resulting
table and summary report will be used to determine what further research
is required to properly assess the impacts of the proposed Mackenzie
Terrestrial Baseline Resource Surveys (2003)
Highwood was involved in gathering data for wildlife surveys including: winter snow tracking, pellet surveys, accipiter surveys and owl surveys.
Conservation and Reclamation Plans and Environmental Protection
Plans for the Fontas and Hawk Hills Gas Gathering System (2002-2003)
Highwood prepared two separate Conservation and Reclamation Plans and
Environmental Protection Plans related to gas gathering systems in northwest
Alberta. Helicopter surveys were used to evaluate the environmental
impacts on soils and terrain, vegetation, wildlife and aquatic resources
(including stream crossings).
Five-Year Review of CEAA Class Screening for Routine Activities
in the Town of Banff (2002-2003)
Highwood has completed the first Five-year Review of the Town of Banff Class Screening. Highwood staff worked with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to complete the original class screening under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). The project involved the preparation of class assessments for routine construction, maintenance and operation activities within the town and its immediate surroundings. The Five-year Review will update the assessment for another five years.
CEAA Class Screening for AltaLink Transmission Activities in Banff
National Park (2002-2003)
Highwood has completed a class screening for routine operation and maintenance activities on all of AltaLink's electrical transmission lines and substations within Banff National Park. AltaLink activities are routine, repetitive operations with highly predictable and mitigable impacts. The class screening simplifies the assessment process and ensures standardized, quality screenings. Constraint mapping is used to focus on potential site-specific variations, in both environmental conditions and in mitigation measures. The class screening has now been declared by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. To access the document online, click here for the English version or click here for the French version. The news release from CEAA is available here.
CEAA Class Screening for Aquila Electrical Distribution Facilities
in Banff National Park (2002-2003)
Highwood is preparing a class screening under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act for routine operation and maintenance activities on all of Aquila's electrical power distribution facilities within Banff National Park. The project identifies environmental impacts associated with these activities in the Park, and develops best management practices to negate or reduce those impacts. Implementation of the class screening will ensure that the lands are being managed in a sustainable manner.
CEAA Screening for Modifications to Five Mile Creek Alluvial Fan in Banff National Park (2002)
Highwood completed a screening for modifications to the Five Mile Creek channel and alluvial fan west of the town of Banff. Parks Canada proposed to modify the Five Mile Creek drainage patterns, to improve public safety and to partially re-establish natural channel and debris flow processes. The project's purpose was to partially restore natural alluvial fan processes, while protecting safety on the TransCanada Highway and the Canadian Pacific Railway. A scoping process assessed five engineering options from environmental and engineering perspectives. The components of the impact assessment included vegetation, wildlife, terrain and soils, hydrology, aquatic resources and human use.
Mackenzie Valley Granular Resource Study (2002)
Highwood was the crew leader for Phase II assessments of potential aggregate borrow sites for sections of the proposed Mackenzie pipeline. The project involved identifying appropriate plot locations, completing Ecological Land Classification for 26 potential borrow sites and noting any potential for rare plants. Highwood was also responsible for conducting safety meetings and ensuring safety protocols were followed by all field biologists.
Ecological Land Classification for Husky Kearl Oil Sands Lease (2002)
Highwood assisted in completing Ecological Land Classification for the Husky Kearl Oil Sands lease north of Fort McMurray. Fieldwork supported the vegetation component of an environmental assessment and involved conducting vegetation surveys, including percent cover of trees, shrubs, forbs, grasses and non-vascular plants within 20x20 metre plots. Rare plant surveys were also completed in areas with high potential for rare plants.
CEAA Screening for the Village of Field Wastewater Treatment Plant (2002)
Highwood is conducting a screening under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act for major upgrades to the Village of Field's wastewater treatment plant. The project includes assessment of impacts to hydrology, water quality, algae, benthic invertebrates and fish habitat related to the Kicking Horse River. The project will also be assessed for consistency with the Yoho National Park Management Plan and Field Community Plan.
CEAA Comprehensive Studies for Decommissioning of Airstrips (2001-2002)
Highwood completed two comprehensive studies for the decommissioning of airstrips in Banff and Jasper National Parks. The studies evaluated the potential effects from decommissioning, pursuant to the requirements of CEAA as well as legal directions from the courts. The assessment evaluated the potential impacts that may occur as a result of the airstrips being decommissioned consistent with Canadian Aviation Regulations. Issues included public safety, wildlife and reclamation.
Environmental Assessment for a Water Pipeline Crossing of West Nose Creek (2001-2002)
Highwood conducted an environmental assessment for the City of Calgary's water pipeline crossing at West Nose Creek. This report advised the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Environment Canada and Alberta Environment of the engineering plans, potential environmental impacts and appropriate mitigations associated with this project. Based on the environmental, engineering and cost considerations, an open cut method was chosen as the preferred option for both the land and stream crossing components. The project included the development of mitigations for an open cut stream crossing as well as approvals under the Fisheries Act and Water Act.
Traditional Land Use and Resource Use for Fort Hills Oil Sands Development (2000-2002)
Highwood prepared the Resource Use and Traditional Land Use components of the environmental assessment for the proposed Fort Hills Oil Sands Project, and was responsible for project related collection and integration of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) into EIA components. TEK collection involved detailed interviews and ground truthing with Aboriginal families on their traditional trap lines.
Environmental Assessment for a Water Pipeline Crossing of the Bow River (2001)
Highwood managed and conducted a screening for the directional drilling of a water distribution pipeline under the Bow River for the City of Calgary. The report advised the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Canadian Coast Guard and Alberta Environment of the engineering plans, potential environmental impacts and appropriate mitigations associated with the project. Appropriate mitigation measures and contingency plans were developed for all construction activities and potential emergencies or accidents.
Environmental Assessment for Sewage Pipeline Repairs in the South Saskatchewan River (2001)
Highwood managed an environmental assessment for pipeline protection of the City of Medicine Hat's sewage forcemains in the South Saskatchewan River. The project included hydrology and fish habitat assessment and development of a Compensation Plan for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
CEAA Screening for Upgrades to the Wastewater Treatment Plant in the Town of Banff (2001)
Highwood completed a CEAA screening for major upgrades and changes to the wastewater treatment plant that services the town of Banff. This project serves as a model for communities within National Parks as well as other municipalities. The project included the installation of a state-of-the-art tertiary treatment system for nutrient removal, as well as the decommissioning of an old lagoon system and upgrades to the outfall diffuser. Highwood was retained to provide background information, conduct monitoring programs and assess the impacts of the upgrades on the environment, particularly the water quality of the receiving waterbody, the Bow River.
Environmental Assessment of Critical Sour Gas Well in the Upper Mockingbird Creek Valley (2001)
Highwood assisted with identifying environmental issues associated with the development of a sour gas well in an area containing valued wildlife habitats and recreation potential. The assessment used Alberta Energy and Utilities Board's IL-93-9 Information Letter Oil and Gas Development Eastern Slopes (South Portion) as a guide for addressing environmental sensitivities and stakeholder concerns in the Eastern Slopes. The assessment included a regulatory review, baseline biophysical studies and a summary of best management practices.
CEAA Screening for Upgrades to the Sunshine Electrical Distribution Line (2001)
Highwood completed an environmental screening assessment for upgrades to the Sunshine Ski Hill electrical distribution line in support of a new gondola. The upgrades included blasting activities, new grounding installations, and distribution pole realignments.
Environmental Impact Study for Fernie Alpine Resort Biological Treatment Facility (2000-2001)
Highwood conducted an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) under B.C's Municipal Sewage Regulation (MSR) for the Fernie Alpine Resort wastewater treatment plant. The study focused on effluent discharges to the Elk River in light of the planned expansion of the Fernie Alpine Resort and included a monitoring program that was designed to meet provincial government requirements and detect environmental effects related to sewage discharge. Effluent modeling was conducted using the U.S. EPA's CORMIX model.
Environmental Assessment of Graphite Mine in British Columbia (2000 - 2001)
Highwood was a component author for an environmental assessment on the impacts of a proposed graphite mine in Slocan, BC Highwood prepared the aquatics component of the assessment and discussed the potential impacts of the mine on periphyton and benthic invertebrates. The project included fieldwork sampling, laboratory analysis and biometric assessment of the results.
A Series of CEAA Screenings for Oil and Gas Exploration Activities on the Stoney Indian Reserve
Screenings were completed under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act for oil and gas exploration activities on the Stoney Reserve. The screenings covered potential seismic, wellsite and pipeline developments, and included cumulative effects assessments and public consultation. A sensitivity map was also prepared for the Reserve.