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Environment Council News (Summer 2019)

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

In this issue:

Welcome from the Executive

The work of the Environment Council is founded on the principle of pollution prevention and avoidance of adverse environmental impacts in the planning and delivery of transportation services throughout Canada. Members discuss environmental issues related to transportation, with recent focus on topics such as illumination effects on humans and wildlife, noise effects and attenuation thresholds, erosion and sediment control, invasive species management, environmental regulatory change, and emerging environmental technologies.

Meetings of the Council are open to all TAC members, and we especially encourage young professionals to get involved. We hope to see you at our next gathering on Saturday, September 21 in Halifax at TAC’s Fall Technical Meetings!

Council Chair: Oliver Laser, Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions

Council Vice-Chair: Maya Caron, Ontario Ministry of Transportation

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2019 Spring Meeting Highlights

The Environment Council met in Ottawa on Saturday, April 6, with 31 attendees present. The Council received presentations from Northwest Territories on construction of the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway, from Quebec on a survey of noise standards, and from Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions on the Gender-Based Analysis Plus tool for assessing proposed projects. Representatives of the federal government gave updates on reviews of the Canadian Navigable Waters Act, Impact Assessment Act and Fisheries Act.

During the meeting, the Council discussed key issues including salt management, invasive species, and planning for resiliency to climate change and extreme weather events. Emerging issues discussed during the meeting included access management in greenfield areas, and species at risk.

The Council also heard from its two standing committees. The Environmental Advisory & Legislation Standing Committee discussed proposed federal legislative changes relevant to the transportation sector (Bill C68 and C69) including potential uncertainties and implications for transportation agencies and programs. The Environmental Issues Management Standing Committee is conducting volunteer projects on invasive species management and environmental performance benchmarking.

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2019 TAC-ITS Canada Joint Conference & Exhibition

The Council’s standing committees will host four technical sessions at the upcoming conference in Halifax:

  • 2019 TAC Environmental Achievement Award Finalists
  • Beyond the Storm: Responding to Extreme Weather and Climate Events
  • Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control: How to Avoid Deleterious Substance Release Charges under the Fisheries Act
  • What’s the Buzz: Transportation Noise Policy and Practice in Canada

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TAC Awards

At its meeting in April, the Environment Council approved the following awards to be conferred at the 2019 TAC-ITS Canada Joint Conference in Halifax.

2019 TAC Leadership Award
Clark Gunter
(WSP Group) has been a valuable contributor to TAC committees, technical projects and conferences for more than 10 years. As a volunteer he has freely shared his technical knowledge, time and effort, and his advice is actively sought by colleagues. Since 2006, Clark has participated on the Environmental Advisory and Legislation Standing Committee, Environment Council, Joint Roundabouts Subcommittee, Climate Change Task Force and Integrated Committee on Climate Change. He has been involved on several committee executives, and has contributed to many TAC Conference sessions, as well as a seminar and webinar. He remains a key force behind TAC’s work to strengthen the consideration of environmental issues in the transportation sector.

2019 TAC Individual Contribution Award
Shauna Lehmann
(Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways & Infrastructure) has been active on the Environment Council since 2012. She has been a member of the Climate Change Task Force, the Maintenance and Construction Standing Committee, and the Executive of the Environmental Issues Management Standing Committee. She is a strong champion of TAC’s collaborative platforms, having led the development of an online Issues Tracking Database. Shauna also played a key role in raising the profile of invasive species management within TAC through her leadership of a volunteer project and annual conference sessions.

2019 TAC Environmental Achievement Award
York Region
widened four kilometres of Bayview Avenue to a four-lane urban arterial road between 2015 and 2018. The project included utility relocations, rail crossing upgrades, trails, and stormwater management. It created more than four hectares of new habitat for large and small mammals, reptiles and birds, including two kilometres of new stream channel. The project improved mobility for all corridor users—pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and fish—through a context-sensitive solution, within a complex environment.

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New Publication

Beneficial Practices for Compliance with the Migratory Birds Convention Act and Regulations
Migratory birds are frequently encountered along transportation rights-of-way in natural habitats, as well as on culverts, bridges and other structures, and their presence can cause delays to projects or maintenance operations. A new suite of TAC publications, completed under the Environment Council’s direction, offers advice and operational guidance related to federal legislation and migratory birds. Get more information

Project in Development

Synthesis of Practices for Management and Enhancement of Roadway Ecology
This project will develop a compendium of practices to make roads more permeable for fish and wildlife, and reduce conflicts between wildlife and vehicles. The project has an estimated funding requirement of $135,000, which has been 48% met to date by eight committed funding partners. Additional funding partners are required. Get more information

Projects in Progress

Environmental Performance Benchmarking
This volunteer project will identify a suite of readily quantifiable, comparable and meaningful performance measures relating to transportation and environmental management. It will enable comparison of an organization’s performance with others in Canada. Get more information

Invasive Species Management
This volunteer project will develop a synthesis of best practices outlining preventative actions to manage the spread of invasive species along transportation corridors. Get more information

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