Some of our clients engage us during the feasibility phase of a project to determine potential environmental constraints and liabilities associated with a land purchase or Capital project. Our evaluations consider existing and current legislation (municipal, provincial and federal), existing habitat (terrestrial and aquatic), and distributions of species of conservation concern or species at risk. We carry out desktop assessments initially, reviewing available digital maps, and our general knowledge of legislation, fisheries, and species at risk issues. We have carried out these studies in support of local land developments in the Ottawa area valued in the tens of millions of dollars. We have also carried out feasibility assessments for multibillion-dollar facilities (smelters).
We have worked with expanding airports, to identify woodlands, wetlands and species at risk concerns, and developed approaches to mitigating effects of the project on the sensitive ecological receptors, such that the projects have been able to proceed on time and on budget. The ecological constraint analyses in these cases have fed into the Environmental Assessment processes.
We have also worked with land development companies in the Ottawa Region. Our assessments consider woodlands and wetlands, including their size and proximity to Provincially Significant features, or features considered valued by the local municipality. We also consider creeks and their corridors, and determine the implications with respect to the Fisheries Act. We will plot buffers that may be required around specific ecological features, and give our clients a sense of the land that may be required to be set aside as part of the land development plan.
As a final example, we completed an assignment in the north where we were asked to assist in identifying ecological constraints associated with a proposed access road for a route through a regenerating natural area. We carried out a desktop analysis to identify potential issues including to determine the likelihood of species at risk (or species of conservation concern) being present. We then carried a breeding bird inventory (x2) to document birds that might call morning and evening. We also carried out a vegetation inventory to support an Ecological Land Classification (ELC).