Canadian pipelines pass through all kinds of terrain – from farmland to foothills. With each new environment comes an equally diverse wildlife population. Pipeline companies have several methods to minimize the impact on animals along pipeline rights-of-way.
Every pipeline project starts with a wildlife assessment to identify the types of wildlife along a proposed route, and the risks involved for each species. Where pipelines could impact sensitive species, such as caribou or migratory birds, specific mitigation and monitoring plans are developed to minimize direct and indirect effects on their populations.
By planning construction for a particular season, and sticking to a tight schedule, pipeline companies can minimize the impact on wildlife. They are also careful to adapt disruptive features bordering the pipeline right of way that might disturb animal movements.
If a leak is detected, emergency response plans are activated to control the spill and limit the damage, and that includes any harm to wildlife.
Emergency crews quickly contain the site so wildlife cannot enter the area. Air cannons are used and visual deterrents including shiny reflectors, flags, balloons, kites, smoke, scarecrows and model predators are used to keep animals away. Crews also put-up fences and patrol the area to keep wildlife from entering.
Whenever possible, any wildlife that has been harmed will be carefully cleaned and released back into the wild. Wildlife experts will also monitor the area as the clean-up progresses to ensure no long-term damage occurs.