Trans Mountain Expansion Project 2016
Views of the Board
The Board acknowledges the concerns raised by participants in regards to fish and fish habitat and
more specifically, Pacific salmon. The Board is of the view that proposed watercourse crossings
designs, mitigation measures, reclamation activities, and post construction environmental
monitoring, as proposed by Trans Mountain, are appropriate and would effectively reduce the extent
of effects on fish and fish habitat. The Board is also of the view that the baseline data, including
collection methods, used by Trans Mountain to support their environmental assessment was
appropriate for the scope of the Application. The Board finds that the assessment methods used by
Trans Mountain are based on proven industry standards and are commonly applied approaches used
in pipeline assessments. The Board is of the view that watercourse crossings are fairly standardized
with ample guidance from industry as well as federal and provincial regulators, and when completed
according to such guidance, are generally considered low risk.
The Board concurs with Trans Mountain’s self-assessment of the potential for serious harm, in that
the majority of proposed watercourse crossings are not going to constitute serious harm under the
Fisheries Act. The Board acknowledges that some proposed watercourse crossings, because of timing
or environmental conditions, are considered higher risk and have a higher potential for serious harm.
The Board agrees with participants that finalized, site-specific information is needed to make an
accurate serious harm determination for higher risk crossings. In order to fulfill the responsibilities
of the National Energy Board under the Memorandum of Understanding with DFO, the Board would
impose Condition 43 requiring Trans Mountain to file site-specific information with the Board, prior
to construction. The Board will use this information to conduct a site-specific review of each of the
proposed watercourse crossings where Trans Mountain cannot meet all of Fisheries and Oceans
Canada’s Measures to Avoid Causing Harm to Fish and Fish Habitat, and to verify the results of
Trans Mountain’s self-assessment of the potential for serious harm. The Board would refer to DFO
any watercourse crossing activities that may likely require authorization under the Fisheries Act.
DFO would then be responsible for issuing any authorizations. The Board would impose Condition
110 that requires Trans Mountain, in the event it requires a Fisheries Act authorization(s), to file any
finalized authorizations with the Board prior to construction. The Board notes that if any Fisheries Act
authorization(s) are required for the Project, DFO has acknowledged it will undertake consultation
with potentially affected Aboriginal groups. Trans Mountain also committed to developing any
Fish and Fish Offset Plans in consultation with regulators, fisheries managers, Aboriginal groups
and other stakeholders.
The Board understands participants’ concerns regarding the consideration of riparian habitat as part
of serious harm determination. The Board generally agrees with Trans Mountain’s assertion that
removal of riparian vegetation may require a Fisheries Act authorization if it has a limiting effect on
the productive capacity of the watercourse, and if its removal or disturbance represents a potential
influence on fish communities. The Board would impose Condition 43 requiring Trans Mountain
to provide site-specific riparian habitat information prior to construction. The Board will then
consider the riparian habitat information as part of its site-specific review. The Board would also
impose conditions requiring Trans Mountain to develop a Riparian Habitat Management Plan and
Riparian Habitat Reclamation Evaluation Report and Offset Plan aimed at reducing the impacts of
construction on riparian habitat (Conditions 71 and 154). A detailed discussion on these conditions is
provided in the surface water quality and quantity section (section 10.2.3).
The Board recognizes the concerns of participants related to cumulative effects on fish and
fish habitat in watersheds crossed by the proposed pipeline corridor. The Board acknowledges
Trans Mountain’s voluntary commitment to develop an Environment Stewardship Program as part
of the Community Benefit Program, where Trans Mountain would seek opportunities, alone or
in partnership, to restore, secure, or enhance elements of aquatic ecosystems above and beyond
regulatory requirements. The Board recognizes the local knowledge held by Aboriginal groups
and the local community, including species experts and expects Trans Mountain to consult with
these groups as it develops the Environmental Stewardship Program. The Board is of the view that
voluntary programs, such as the Environmental Stewardship Program, are essential in addressing
total cumulative effects and in promoting recovery of impacted species and habitats.