Anti-Spawning Affront Post 2

Having been caught doing construction on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project prior to fulfilling pre-construction conditions and achieving NEB approval of the detailed route of the project, Kinder Morgan first requested permission to continue and then withdrew that request. The construction work involved placing snow fence into streams to prevent trout and salmon from spawning where Kinder Morgan plan to install the new pipeline. Kinder Morgan's withdrawal of the request to continue installing anti-spawning measures came with a claim that to remove the ones already installed would risk serious harm to fish.

What follows is WaterWealth's response to Kinder Morgan's withdrawal of their request for relief.
(Formatted as the original document)


"Our Wealth is in Our Water – Let’s Protect It"


National Energy Board
Suite 210
517 10th Avenue South
Calgary Alberta T2R 0A8

October 9, 2017

Attention: Sheri Young, Secretary of the Board

Re:    Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (Trans Mountain)
          Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP)
          Board File OF-Fac-Oil-T260-2013-03
          Trans Mountain Withdrawal of Spawning Deterrent Relief Request

Trans Mountain has filed a letter “Withdrawal of Spawning Deterrent Relief Request”, filing ID A86657 (Letter). The Letter indicates that Trans Mountain will not attempt to install any new spawning deterrents, but it also seeks to allow Trans Mountain to retain the benefit to their construction schedule of the eight spawning deterrent installations already in place where it reads;

"Trans Mountain notes that premature removal of the Deterrents – i.e., while fish are actively spawning within each system – would likely cause adverse impacts to spawning fish and potentially constitute serious harm under the Fisheries Act."

For Trans Mountain to benefit from the unauthorized installation of spawning deterrents in violation of the conditions of both the B.C. Environmental Certificate E17-01 and the National Energy Board (Board) Certificate OC-064 (not to mention the B.C. Water Sustainability Act) could only encourage a corporate culture where future infractions against certificate conditions on regulated projects would be more likely.

Trans Mountain’s claim of likely adverse impacts from removal of the spawning deterrents cannot go unchallenged. If it were correct that working within the footprint of the deterrents to remove them might cause serious harm to fish, that would amount to an admission by Trans Mountain that the use of snow fence is not an effective spawning deterrent. In that case much more damaging than prompt removal of the deterrents would be to trench across those places at a later date prior to emergence of whatever fish might currently or soon be present in eggs in each stream. If the deterrents are effective there would be no risk of harming fish eggs in the substrate while Trans Mountain works within the footprint of the deterrents. Swimming fish can be managed with standard methods while removing the deterrents.

The WaterWealth Project


"Our Wealth is in Our Water – Let’s Protect It"


The WaterWealth Project respectfully submits to the Board that if the snow fences truly are effective spawning deterrents they should be removed immediately to allow fish spawning. If the snow fences can not be confirmed to be effective spawning deterrents they must be left in place, monitored to ensure they do not become dislodged or broken and end up as plastic debris downstream, and removed during the least risk biological window for each stream. Furthermore, pipeline crossings of streams of high sensitivity and/or where species of management concern occur should be crossed by trenchless methods, or failing that be crossed in keeping with the Trans Mountain Expansion Project Application Volume 5C Part 2, 6.1.2 Fish-Bearing Watercourses, Wetlands and Non-Classified Drainages, which reads;

“For the crossings of 23 fish-bearing sites where fish habitat was confirmed to be of High sensitivity and/or where species of management species occur, it is recommended that isolated trenched pipeline construction methods occur within the Least Risk Biological Window (i.e., outside of the RAP) and that a water quality monitoring program coincide with construction”.

We also note that the installation of spawning deterrents, which Trans Mountain indicated in the Letter took place in August and September of 2017, has not been included in any filings in compliance with TMEP Condition 106: Construction progress reports which requires that “Trans Mountain must file with the NEB monthly construction progress reports from commencing construction until after commencing operations.” The Board might wish to consider directions to Trans Mountain regarding this ommission.

Ian Stephen
Program Director,
The WaterWealth Project

cc: Hon. George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
      Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard


The WaterWealth Project



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