How are animals protected from pipelines?

Canadian pipelines pass through all kinds of terrain – from farmland to foothills. And with each new environment comes an equal diversity of wildlife. So how do pipeline companies minimize the impact on animals along pipeline rights of way?

Planning for minimum impact

Biologists, and agrologists like Daniel conduct a detailed environmental assessment to identify the types of wildlife along a proposed route, and the risks involved for each species.

Every pipeline project starts with a wildlife assessment.

Minimizing the impact on animals, fish and plants plays a significant role in the planning process. And where pipelines could impact sensitive species, such as caribou or migratory birds, specific mitigation and monitoring plans are developed to ensure that plans are in place to further minimize the direct and indirect effects on their populations.

Reducing the impact during construction

By planning construction for a particular season, and sticking to a tight schedule, pipeline companies are able to minimize the impact on wildlife. They are also careful to adapt disruptive features bordering the pipeline right of way that might disturb animal movements.

Fish example of pipeline planning

Minimizing the impact on animals, fish and plants plays a significant role in the planning process. Photo courtesy of Enbridge Pipelines.

avian example of wildlife in pipeline planning

Experts study all wildlife along a proposed route to minimize pipeline impact. Photo courtesy of Enbridge Pipelines.

The reclamation process usually takes about a year, and then the area is monitored to ensure its success.

wildlife sign in a pipeline area

Reducing the impact on wildlife is a major priority for pipeline operators. Photo courtesy of Enbridge Pipelines.

Returning the area to its natural state after construction

As soon as a pipeline is completed, work begins to restore the land to its original condition. Topsoil is saved separately from subsoil, so that the layers of soil can be restored as closely as possible, and vegetation is replanted.

Monitoring wildlife activity to limit impact

Just as the reclamation is monitored to ensure its success, animal activity is also monitored to evaluate any permanent or long-term changes caused by the pipeline construction.


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