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Notice of permit

Regional or Local Number: SARA-OR-2017-0367

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the provisions of section 73 of the Species at Risk Act permit no. SARA-OR-2017-0367 is issued.

Purpose:
Affecting the species is incidental to the carrying out of the activity

Description:
This permit authorizes to incidentally affect individuals and residences of Western Chorus Frog and residences of Little Brown Myotis, Northern Myotis, and Tri-colored Bat by carrying out the following activities to gather geotechnical data related to the potential future construction of the Trillium Line component of the City of Ottawa Light Rail Transit project – Stage 2. Subject to this permit and valid authorization from the land owner, authorized machinery can be brought on site and a total of 23 boreholes can be drilled, monitored and decommissioned on Ottawa International Airport Authority property: six boreholes can be drilled with a gas powered hand-held auger until March 31 and 17 with a limited access rig until March 15, 2017.

Start Date: 2017-01-24   End Date: 2017-03-31

Issuing Authority: Environment Canada

Authority Used:

  • Species at Risk Act

Location of Activity (province, territory or ocean):

  • Ontario

Affected Species:

Pre-Conditions:
(a) All reasonable alternatives to the activity that would reduce the impact on the species have been considered and the best solution has been adopted. Alternatives to the proposed activity have been considered in light of both their impacts to SAR as well as the information that the geotechnical investigations will provide. The proposed activity has been planned for winter when bats are absent from the site and risk of destroying bat residences has been minimized by the use of the hand-held auger and the limited access drill rig which will keep the need to cut trees down to a minimum. In the case of Western Chorus Frog, this timing window does not eliminate all risk of harm to the species, which may be hibernating in the area. However, the timing reduces risks because in all likelihood individuals are not aggregated in this habitat in winter. The timing also means the work will likely be carried out on snow-covered and/or frozen ground, which will minimize impact to the habitat. The use of the proposed machinery will minimize the impacted footprint, which will decrease the chance of encountering individuals of this species. The drill rig to be used has a wide, rubber track and has a very low contact pressure, which reduces the risk of harming individuals and habitat. The use of larger machinery (e.g., a steel tracked drilling rig, which is five times heavier that the limited access rig) would require a path to be cleared (i.e., trees to be cut) to enable its access. The proposed activity was identified as the best solution because its timing (i.e., outside the bat roosting season) precludes impacts to individuals of SAR bats, and the routes used to access borehole locations will avoid potential residences of the species. The work will be carried out when Western Chorus Frogs are dispersed in the habitat. The machinery used will minimize the footprint of the impact, while allowing the acquisition of necessary geotechnical information. (b) All feasible measures will be taken to minimize the impact of the activity on the species or the residences of its individuals. In addition to the timing and type of machinery used (which were identified as the best alternatives), the use of existing roads, trails and forest clearings will occur where possible. Moving rigs, carrying equipment and running water hoses (if necessary) in openings should minimize the clearing of vegetation and the project footprint. The routes chosen minimized the distances from the nearest road to existing trails or open fields and they minimized distance within wooded areas. Large trees (> 25 cm in DBH; with visible cavities) as well as other vegetation have been identified so that they may be avoided to the extent possible. If a borehole will not be completed on the day the work begins, the drill rig will be left on site until the resumption of work the next day. This avoids retracing the access routes with the drill rig more than once. Return trips will be made to each borehole, on foot only, for surveying and taking water levels in wells, which minimizes impact. (c) The activity will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species. The impact of the activity is reduced by the use of a hand-held auger and limited access drill rig. It will also be limited to the footprint of the rig and location of the boreholes. No bat individuals will be affected and the activity may at most affect a few potential residences (maternity roost trees). Therefore the survival or recovery of the 3 bat species should not be compromised. The probability of a borehole (5-20 cm in diameter) being drilled at the exact location of a hibernating Western Chorus Frog is low, thus making the probability of injuring any individuals during drilling also low. In terms of the project footprint, accessing the borehole locations will be done at a time of year which will reduce risk for the population because individuals will be dispersed in the habitat during hibernation. Therefore, the number of individuals that may be incidentally harmed or disturbed is unlikely to impact the local population of WCF, let alone its overall survival or recovery. Furthermore, owing to the greatly reduced footprint of the preferred alternative methods described above, damage/disturbance to the WCF residence at this site (if the species is present) is also expected to be low enough to have negligible impacts to the species’ overall survival or recovery. The proposed activities are not occurring within identified or proposed critical habitat (CH) of any species at risk. If CH were to be identified here at a later date, this activity would not likely destroy it now.

Contact Person(s)
Canadian Wildlife Service
Burlington, Ontario
Phone: (905) 336-4464
Fax: (905) 336-4587
E-mail: wildlife.ontario@ec.gc.ca