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Natural Sciences

Natural sciences staff are involved in all stages of a project from pre-planning to closure. They help identify and mitigate biological impacts or issues and act as a liaison with regulatory agencies. This strategy not only limits liability for our clients, but in many cases limits costs as well.

SynergyAspen is pleased to offer the following biological services:

 

Vegetation Assessment

SynergyAspen conducts vegetation assessments either as a pre-disturbance baseline or as a portion of post-construction reclamation work to identify and document the following:

  • Species and plant communities present

  • Presence or absence of noxious weeds and invasive plants

  • Rare plants in the project area

With proper planning, damage to species and plant communities can be averted, and the biodiversity of the area can be protected and properly managed as required by applicable regulations.


Wildlife Assessment

Many areas in northeastern BC that are planned for resource development have high wildlife habitat value. As such, the Environmental Protection and Management Regulation requires companies to implement mitigative measures to protect wildlife and their habitats.

Wildlife assessments begin with a desktop review of wildlife habitat areas (WHA), ungulate winter ranges (UWR), and species of concern. This information helps determine which species require assessment, whether a wildlife mitigation plan is required, and if the project schedule or location needs to be amended to reduce impacts.

In some circumstances, for construction work to proceed during species-specific critical timing windows, regulators may require an on-site environmental monitor be present at all times to monitor and mitigate impacts to wildlife.


Stream and Wetland Classification and Assessment

Streams, wetlands, and associated riparian areas are important to water values, fish, and aquatic and wildlife habitat. These areas may require additional management measures for protection. Stream and wetland assessments document riparian and substrate conditions, vegetation types, and determine fish bearing status and species present.

Stream and wetland classification is used for planning and application purposes and is a requirement to obtain regulatory approval to work in or near a creek (e.g. pipeline stream crossings).

SynergyAspen is proficient in wetland classification and assessment, including the Poulin Stream Classification Method that is specific to the Peace Forest District unique ecosystems. Our Natural Sciences team is Electrofisher Crew Supervisor certified.


Environmental Monitoring

An environmental monitor is required for projects within or adjacent to sensitive habitats, or projects that occur during sensitive timing windows for species.

An environmental monitor is independent from the development contractor and proponent. An environmental monitor is typically present on-site for the duration of the disturbance activities. SynergyAspen has acted as environmental monitor on numerous project types including pipeline construction and boring activities, and industry road construction and deactivation.

Staff members are cross-trained in reclamation and natural sciences. This allows reclamation and environmental monitoring work to be completed concurrently, saving you time and money.


Erosion and Sediment Control Planning

Erosion is a natural process that is exacerbated by human activity. Eroded soil can be transported off site by wind or surface water to a natural water body. Increased sediment in water bodies can affect aquatic flora and fauna. Erosion prevention and control is essential to the protection of these water bodies. It is also critical to minimize soil erosion during reclamation work to maintain topsoil productivity.

In Canada, the Fisheries Act prohibits the deposit or release of a deleterious substance to fish-bearing waters. Sediment can be a deleterious substance. BC legislation makes it an offence to pollute a stream. When undertaking a construction project that could cause erosion, an erosion prevention plan must be in place before project commencement.

SynergyAspen completes sediment and erosion control planning prior to disturbance work and can assist with managing the plan through environmental monitoring activities.