Pointed Mountain Abandonment Project field surveys
Principal Investigator: Carnochan, Stacey (1)
Licence Number: 16873
Organization: Jacobs Consulting
Licensed Year(s): 2021
Issued: Aug 03, 2021
Project Team: Stacey Carnochan, Troy Whidden, Neil Webster, Grace Mitchell

Objective(s): To aid in the development of feasible mitigation measures that will reduce potential effects that the Environmental Site Assessment may have on wetlands, wildlife, and vegetation; and to collect information on pre-Project diversity, relative abundance, and distribution of vegetation communities.

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.4987.

The proposed Fieldwork will inform the baseline setting of the environmental site assessment (ESA), while also aiding in the development of feasible mitigation measures that will reduce potential effects that the Project may have on wetlands, wildlife, and vegetation. As well, the fieldwork reconnaissance will provide: Information on pre-Project diversity, relative abundance, and distribution of vegetation communities; Pre-Project information on wildlife, wildlife habitat, and wetlands encountered by the Project; Confirm the presence or potential for presence of federally listed rare species in accordance with the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC); and, Assessment of areas of potential environmental concern through completion of a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment.

The proposed fieldwork will consist of a combination of helicopter flyover and landings to survey the current condition of wetlands, wildlife habitat, and vegetation features within the Study Area and specifically at the Project locations with above-ground infrastructure. In addition, the Phase II Environmental Site Assessment will be completed at the Project locations with above-ground infrastructure. A desktop review will be conducted prior to fieldwork surveys to focus and inform field data collection. Ground level surveys and fieldwork will occur at the four above-ground infrastructure locations and select locations within the Study Area where equipment access will be required. Fieldwork will involve field data collection on the footprint and within 1 km of the footprint.

Fieldwork will consist of the following activities:
•A vegetation survey targeting areas with potential to support rare plant species and rare ecological communities that were identified during the desktop review. Areas with previous disturbance and high traffic corridors (i.e., existing right-of-way and access roads) will be targeted via flyover methods. During vegetation surveys, some rare plant species may be collected for the purposes of properly identifying the species. Following completion of the fieldwork reporting, these samples may potentially be submitted to regional academic institutions.
•A helicopter assisted ground-based wetland assessment to delineate approximate boundaries of wetlands potentially affected by Project activities.
•A wildlife study using aerial and ground-based surveys within the Study Area consisting of a wildlife habitat assessment and feature search. The purpose of the wildlife fieldwork is to assess and describe the existing conditions for wildlife by identifying wildlife and wildlife habitat based on visual sightings and signs (e.g., tracks, scat, markings) and identifying wildlife features (e.g., dens, mineral licks, stick nests) that could potentially be affected by the Project. Observed wildlife and wildlife sign will be recorded, including location, description, and photos where possible. No wildlife samples or specimens will be collected during fieldwork.
•A Phase II Environmental Site Assessment will take place at each location where aboveground infrastructure is being removed. The sampling program will be completed with a field crew of two via helicopter access. Soil sample collection will be completed using hand tools including augers and Pionjar to recover representative soil samples up to depths of approximately 3 m. The final number and location of samples will be determined based on field observations.

Westcoast has developed a Community and Indigenous Engagement Plan (the Plan) for the Pointed Mountain Pipeline Abandonment Project. The Plan proposes using a multi-faceted approach to engage and communicate about the Project with potentially affected stakeholders and Indigenous groups in the Project area via phone calls, virtual meetings, emails and providing a project factsheet and mapping shapefiles.

Engagement and communication is ongoing and will focus on identifying and addressing any interests or concerns and inclusion in assessments. Current outreach is focused on upcoming field opportunities in relation to Archaeological surveys, biophysical surveys, Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment and gathering of traditional land use information. The Plan also proposes seeking input from Indigenous groups on how they would like to be engaged and includes opportunity for Indigenous communities to conduct traditional land use studies in proximity to areas where abandonment activities will be undertaken.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from August 4, 2021 to August 31, 2021.