January 11, 2022 — At Trans Mountain, we take our commitment to environmental protection seriously. As part of the Expansion Project, substantial work has gone into determining potential environmental impacts and mitigation methods to reduce the impact to the environment.
As construction of the Expansion Project continues at Westridge Marine Terminal, so does the work behind the scenes towards environmental mitigation and protection, including an innovative program that uses coyote decoys on our marine barges. We spoke with Alysha Parker, Environmental Coordinator at Kiewit Ledcor Trans Mountain Partnership (KLTP) to learn more.
“The barges used for construction at Westridge Marine Terminal are very attractive to migratory birds, mainly geese. They essentially act as an island, surrounded by water, isolated from many predators,” says Parker. “Our goal is to keep all wildlife safe during construction, therefore, we introduced coyote decoys and commercially available coyote urine to help deter birds from landing and nesting on the barges.”
“Coyote decoy deterrents are a relatively new nesting prevention mitigation measure used for marine bird management on barges. We started this pilot project in February 2021, and since then we have grown our decoy pack to 13 coyotes. To prevent habituation, the coyote decoys are placed in different locations on the barges throughout the migratory season. The coyotes are continuously repositioned, while the scent deterrent is sprayed along the edges, corners or around attractive nesting locations such as crevices. The birds see and smell the coyotes and are then deterred from nesting in these locations,” adds Parker.
Prior to construction of the Expansion Project, environmental professionals logged more than 25,000 person-days working diligently in the field to identify environmental features and habitat to ensure proper mitigation, including avoidance. Since construction has started, environmental crews have continued their work and, to date, have spent more than 15,000 person-days implementing site-specific mitigation measures for these features and will continue this work throughout construction.