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Low Impact Environmental Ltd. offers a full range of services to provide for all of your environmental compliance needs.
A list of the available services is displayed below.

You may also click on any listed service to display an expanded description.

Environmental Protection Plans (SK)

As the second basic level of the Saskatchewan environmental review process, EPP’s are required and conducted in areas where significant environmental impacts have been identified. The next level is the request for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) made when major concerns were noted in an EPP. EPP’s are submitted to ensure that potential environmental impacts of a proposed project are identified, documented and evaluated. Further, what measures can be taken to minimize or eliminate adverse effects of a project and potentially create positive effects. Careful and proactive planning at the outset can help avoid costly problems and delays and difficulties repairing environmental damage. EPP’s are typically required in the following areas:

·   Parkland and recreation sites

·   Wildlife Development Fund land

·   Environmentally sensitive areas

·   Lands designated under the Wildlife Habitat Protection Act

·   Sandhill areas

·   River valley and associated native prairie areas and ravine complexes

·   Projects that require significant use of provincial resources (ie: water)


Links:

http://www.agr.gov.sk.ca/Crown_Lands_Pastures/ Petroleum_and_Gas_Development_on_Crown_land.asp

http://www.se.gov.sk.ca/environment/assessment

http://www.biodiversity.sk.ca


Conservation and Reclamation Plans (AB)

Although not required for every day oil and gas operations in Alberta as part of the approval process, completed CRP’s are valuable tools used to document pre-development site conditions for use in future reclamation. In addition, CRP’s can aid in ensuring adherence to provincial and federal legislation such as The Water Act, The Species at Risk Act, The Wildlife Act, The Weed Control Act, etc. Provincial and federal legislation apply to both crown and private lands and completion of a CRP can ensure that potential environmental effects are minimized or avoided, especially on environmentally sensitive lands. A CRP can be tailored to meet the specific environmental concerns for a development whether it be fisheries, wildlife, soils or water resources.


Mitigation and Restoration Plans (SK)

The Saskatchewan environmental review process begins when the developer submits a project proposal to Saskatchewan Agriculture, Food and Rural Revitalization and Saskatchewan Environment as part of the normal surface lease application process on crown managed lands. This provides regulators with a sound basis for identifying and addressing potential environmental implications and concerns about the project. The purpose of project proposals is to ensure a plan is in place to restore development areas to pre-development conditions or as close to as possible. Detailed information regarding environmental conditions at the project site as well as site-specific construction and mitigation measures should be included in a proposal.


Links:

http://www.agr.gov.sk.ca/Crown_Lands_Pastures/   Petroleum_and_Gas_Development_on_Crown_land.asp

http://www.se.gov.sk.ca/environment/assessment


Area Operating Agreements (AB)

Requirements for an AOA, although more comprehensive, are similar to those for an Environmental Field Report. AOA’s encompass entire projects and can be submitted for application and approval to Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Public Lands Division in the White Area and the Land and Forest Division in the Green Area. The purpose of an AOA is to include several dispositions under one blanket approval to avoid timely repetition during the approval process and to promote proactive project planning. In this way, ad-hoc planning is avoided and potential loss of use of resources and long-term environmental effects can be minimized. An AOA must include a detailed development overview and a thorough summary of company operating practices.


Links:

AOA Guidelines


Environmental Field Reports (AB)

A completed EFR must be submitted to the appropriate Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Public Lands Division office for review and approval of wellsite, access, pipeline and associated facilities. Designed to follow the principles of integrated land management, an EFR should contain detailed project information that meets all applicable environmental standards and guidelines. Specifics regarding project description, onsite operations, scheduling, applicable construction and reclamation methods and potential environmental impacts are mandatory. In the past, EFR’s have been completed as part of the approval process in the Green Area and will soon be adopted for use in White Area public lands in Alberta.


Links:

EFR Instructions


Caribou Protection Plans (AB)

Completion of a CPP is a minimum requirement for obtaining seismic, drilling and pipeline program approval from Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Land and Forest Division in designated caribou ranges. A CPP should include the schedule of and description of the proposed project and recognize potential factors relating to habitat loss, alteration and restoration. Measures such as activities scheduling and access management can mitigate for long-term effects by managing short-term impacts and should be taken into consideration. In consultation with exploration companies and regulators, these plans should be submitted by October 15 of each year and are implemented for new developments during the winter operating season.


Links:

Caribou Protection Plan Template


Ecological Risk Assessment

When planning projects in sensitive ecosystems that are subject to high amounts of human development, it is important to understand that multiple stresses interact to affect biological and ecological processes in aquatic and terrestrial systems. Natural stresses such as drought, salinity, and climate change and anthropogenic stresses such as toxic compounds, nutrients, species introductions and habitat destruction are cumulative impacts on ecosystems that add to or create ecological risk. Ecological Risk Assessments can aid in determining the potential risks a project may have on sensitive habitats/species. Impacts to individual components of an ecosystem such as fish and wildlife or water quality can be evaluated to determine potential impacts to the system as a whole. In addition to careful examination and research of the affected environment, all facets of a project must be examined including waste management, timing and duration of operations, spill contingency measures, long term facilities, continued monitoring, etc. to begin to determine ecological risk. Risk assessment can help reduce long term costs to a client while providing meaningful protection to natural systems.


Wildlife Habitat Assessment and Planning

Requirements for wildlife and habitat assessments will vary in scope depending on factors specific to the proposed project area. The nature and breadth of required assessments will vary depending on the availability and type of habitat, current land use, extent of existing human disturbance, previously documented wildlife species or communities and the scope of the proposed project. Consultation between the proponent and government regulators is important in establishing key environmental concerns for a particular area and the scope of environmental assessment and planning that is required. For example, wildlife habitat studies for projects within sensitive sandhill complexes may require more intense field study and mitigation planning than projects in a normal, upland native prairie setting.


Links:

http://www.cd.gov.ab.ca/preserving/parks/anhic/flashindex.asp


Archaeological and Traditional Studies

The Resources Act and Saskatchewan’s Heritage Property Act exist to ensure the preservation of our historical resources. Typically historical resources are subject to the combined ravages of time, weather and impacts of modern society. Under these acts, a framework exists to create the provision for Historical Resource Impact Assessments (HRIA) and mitigative studies to be completed should a proposed project or activity result in alteration, damage or destruction of a historical resource. An HRIA can include the study, documentation and potential mitigation for archaeological and paleontological objects or any sites that have interest for their architectural, historical, cultural, environmental, aesthetic or scientific values. As part of the environmental assessment process, Low Impact can provide clients with timely and thorough HRIA’s and subsequent mitigative measures to gain project clearance while maintaining valuable heritage sites.


Links:

http://www.cd.gov.ab.ca/preserving/heritage/index.asp

http://www.cyr.gov.sk.ca


Pre-Disturbance Assessment

Effective project planning ensures that environmental impacts are considered at every stage, particularly pre-development, in order to reduce or avoid potential delays or additional costs to the proposed project. While project planning is a requirement on most provincial and federal lands, it remains good business practice to continue effective environmental planning on private lands projects. It is important to consider that provincial and federal legislation applies to both crown managed and privately owned lands and as such, natural resources are subject to the same degree of protection. PDA’s will take into account potential environmental conflicts while considering the project’s specific requirements.


Rare plant surveys

Rare plant surveys are often requested by government regulators as part of the environmental assessment and planning process. This is especially common in sensitive ecosystems or areas where Environmental Protection Plans are required. The objective of rare plant surveys is to determine the presence and location of all rare plant species and rare plant communities in a specified development area. At the minimum, surveys should be conducted during the period when rare species are most visible or identifiable. Potential development areas should be surveyed at least twice during the growing season to survey for vascular plants. Often, due to the urgency and timing of oil and gas projects, only one survey is possible and is best conducted during mid to late summer. It is important to note that while surveys can confirm the presence of rare plants, they can seldom rule out entirely the existence of rare plants in an area.


Links:

http://www.npss.sk.ca/inforesource/rareplant.html

http://www.anpc.ab.ca


Weed surveys

Whether they are conducted as part of the environmental assessment process or during post-construction and reclamation, weed surveys can aid in the early identification and subsequent control of weed problems. Weed species are difficult to manage, aggressive and invasive and can result in the displacement or significant alteration of native plant communities and huge economic losses either from loss of production or the cost of weed control. Several weed species are listed under Alberta’s Weed Control Act and Saskatchewan’s Noxious Weeds Act that require immediate eradication or control under these Acts. Weed identification and control are primary concerns in oil and gas projects and control measures often vary depending on the weed species.


Links:

http://www.agric.gov.ab.ca

http://www.qp.gov.ab.ca

http://www.agr.gov.sk.ca/default.asp

http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca


Species at risk surveys

As industrial development is becoming more intensified and moving into sensitive habitats, the concern for species at risk and their habitats is growing. Protection and maintenance of critical wildlife species and habitat under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) as well as additional federal and provincial acts is a requirement of oil and gas operators. Low Impact can provide wildlife species at risk surveys that will take into account a project’s effect on listed wildlife species and their critical habitats. Using information gathered from proposed project sites, Low Impact will devise appropriate recommendations and mitigation measures that minimize or avoid adverse effects before they occur. Potential impacts of a project can be monitored and predictions made as to whether significant adverse environmental effects will be present after mitigation is implemented. Project plans completed by Low Impact will take into account all applicable wildlife species recovery strategies, action plans and prohibitions under the SARA.


Links:

Species at Risk.

http://www.srd.gov.ab.ca/fw/landuse/

http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/default_e.cfm


Wildlife inventories

Inventory and collection of field data is an integral part of the environmental assessment and planning process. As land use pressures are increasing, the maintenance and restoration of native prairie communities and preservation and enhancement of wildlife habitat are becoming an increasing concern to resource managers, regulators, project proponents, land use planners and the general public. Low Impact Environmental can provide expertise in wildlife biology and complete general species and habitat analyses and inventories to assist in sustainable and environmentally responsible land use planning decisions.


Project supervision and documentation

It is important to ensure that regulations, guidelines and commitments are adhered to in the field at time of construction. Low Impact personnel can be on site to make certain that these aspects are being met in the field and can document construction activities (as-built reports, soil handling, diagrams, photographs…) for use at time of reclamation. It is also inevitable that minor changes to original construction and mitigation plans will arise. These revisions can be dealt with involving the appropriate client, landowner/lessee and regulatory bodies, in the field on a site-specific basis. This can be very beneficial to meeting timing constraints and avoiding unnecessary costs due to equipment downtime.


Short and long term environmental monitoring

Whether it is a single well or a large drilling program, short flowline or extensive gathering system installation, environmental monitoring is a key component to a successful project. Throughout the construction phase of the project the environmental monitor will be on location to make recommendations to mitigate environmental impact. The monitor will work in conjunction with the field supervisors and crews to identify problems and suggest alternate methods or techniques to minimize disturbance. A qualified environmental monitor/consultant may be requested by government agencies as part of the approval or surface lease requirements for projects proposed on lands deemed to be environmentally sensitive. Many proponents are electing to have environmental monitors/consultants on site in order to demonstrate environmental stewardship and due diligence. Also, it has become apparent that minimizing disturbance at time of construction has positive results with regards to landowner relations as well as significantly reducing costs at time of reclamation.


Links:

http://www.se.gov.sk.ca/environment/assessment/Env_Monitor_Gline.pdf


Final reclamation and equipment supervision

To facilitate the return of the project site to pre-disturbance conditions (suitable to the surrounding control areas) it is critical to make sound recommendations as to proper soil handling and replacement, compaction issues, erosion control measures, appropriate seed mixtures, application rate and method, weed control and numerous other factors that contribute to successful site reclamation. By having professional supervision on-site the client can be assured that the contractor is performing the reclamation efforts in a manner that will lead to a timely sign-off/release of the surface lands.


Links:

http://www.ir.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=3891,3620,3384,2936,Documents

http://www3.gov.ab.ca/env/protenf/landrec/index.html

http://www.srd.gov.ab.ca/info/publisting.cfm


Route selection for pipelines, access and seismic programs (linear) and site selection for wellsites, compressor and pump stations, batteries and various other oil and gas facilities (non-linear)

Examining environmental considerations during the early phases of a project’s planning can prove to be a valuable tool. In conjunction with field surveying, a member of the Low Impact team can assess potential conflicts which may have negative effects on the overall project (scheduling of operations, wildlife and vegetation, topography, water resources, existing public interests…). Linear and non-linear disturbances, and the immediate surrounding area, can be examined initially in the office using resources such as GIS, satellite and aerial imagery, topographical maps and various databases. Findings that indicate potential environmental conflicts can be confirmed or disproved either at the time of survey or through a follow-up field assessment. By identifying these conflicts early in the planning stage the proponent can, in many cases, mitigate the concerns and therefore avoid potential costs, timing constraints and land use conflicts that may be associated with the project.


Links:

http://www.se.gov.sk.ca/environment/assessment/oilandgas/survey.htm


Available Services

Environmental Mitigation and Planning

Environmental Protection Plans (SK)

Conservation and Reclamation Plans (AB)

Mitigation and Restoration Plans (SK)

Area Operating Agreements (AB)

Environmental Field Reports (AB)

Caribou Protection Plans (AB)

Ecological Risk Assessment

Wildlife Habitat Assessment and Planning

Archaeological and Traditional Studies

Pre-Disturbance Assessment

Biological and Ecological Inventories

Rare plant surveys

Weed surveys

Species at risk surveys

Wildlife inventories

Construction and Environmental Inspection

Project supervision and documentation

Short and long term environmental monitoring

Final reclamation and equipment supervision

Route selection for pipelines, access and seismic programs (linear)and site selection
for wellsites, compressor and pump stations, batteries and various other oil and gas
facilities (non-linear)