Coastal GasLink wildlife study provides vital data for habitat protection.
Rapid-fire cameras, tucked away in remote wilderness areas along the conceptual route of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project, are helping TransCanada discover critical information about the habitat and movement of area wildlife.
The cameras, part of a broad environmental assessment, process data that will help determine the final pipeline route and minimize impacts during and following construction.
Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd., a TransCanada subsidiary, is proposing a 650-kilometre (404-mile) pipeline to deliver natural gas from the Dawson Creek, B.C., area, to the LNG Canada gas liquefaction facility, proposed to be developed by Shell Canada Ltd. and its partners, near Kitimat, B.C., proposed to be developed by Shell Canada Ltd. and its partners.
“The conceptual pipeline route is based on a preliminary assessment of terrain, environment, social aspects and constructability,” says Heather Bishop, Senior Environmental Advisor. “Now we are taking a more thorough look to learn about wildlife and habitat in the conceptual corridor and to identify issues and potentially sensitive areas.”
The final route will be determined after technical and environmental reviews and feedback from landowners, Aboriginal groups and communities across northern B.C.
In the wilderness
The cameras, which are triggered by motion, were installed last fall — some in inaccessible areas that had to be accessed by helicopter. Environmental crews check the cameras bi-monthly to replace batteries if necessary, make adjustment for snow depth and retrieve the photos.
“We installed the cameras primarily in wildlife movement corridors such as game trails and the wetlands near rivers and streams,” says Heather. “We also placed them in caribou and mountain goat ranges where species may be particularly susceptible to the effects of the project.”
The cameras will be retrieved in late summer/early fall after nine or 10 months of snapping shots 24 hours a day, seven days a week — like the ones posted with this article — providing a close-up look at the hoofed animals, carnivores and other fur-bearing animals in the area.
As well as the remote cameras’ data, the wildlife study will include aerial surveys, identifying the spring staging areas of migratory waterfowl and the nesting areas of raptors, trumpeter swans and great blue herons.
The study includes ground-based surveys for a variety of birds including yellow rail, American bittern, sharp-tailed grouse, and short-eared owl and breeding songbirds, as well as surveys for pond-dwelling amphibians and other incidental species.
To learn more about TransCanada’s commitment to environmental responsibility environmental, visit TransCanada.com’s Environment page.
Lynne Palmer is a writer with TransCanada’s internal communications group.