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Environment Council News - Winter 2019

Tuesday, February 12, 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, regulatory change and emerging 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, April 6 in Ottawa at TAC’s Spring Technical Meetings.

Council Chair: Oliver Laser, Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions
Council Vice-Chair: Maya Caron, Ontario Ministry of Transportation

Council Highlights: 2018 Fall Technical Meetings

The Environment Council met in Saskatoon on Saturday, September 29. Attendees included 21 members and 5 friends. The Council received presentations from Hemmera on illumination effects assessment at the Port of Vancouver, from Saskatchewan on its Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force, and a video presentation from the Northwest Territories on the retirement of the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Ice Road. Federal representatives provided updates on reviews of the Navigable Waters Act, Impact Assessment Act and Fisheries Act. The Council also received updates from its two standing committees:

  • The Environmental Advisory & Legislation Standing Committee discusses environmental legislation relevant to the transportation sector, and provides guidance on the management of related issues. The 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 discusses the environmental management of transportation infrastructure and programs, and maintains a list of relevant issues and projects to help TAC members address environmental topics. The committee is currently conducting two volunteer projects, one on invasive species management and one on environmental performance benchmarking.

During the meeting, the Council also identified and discussed a number of other key issues including salt vulnerable areas, roadside ecology and climate change resiliency. Emerging issues discussed during the meeting included remediation of salt contaminated areas, and wetland compensation.

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Council Highlights: 2018 TAC Conference

The Council’s standing committees organized several technical sessions at the TAC Conference in Saskatoon, including those summarized below. You can stream recordings of these and other conference sessions (audio and PowerPoint decks) at the TAC Online Learning Centre.

Federal Legislation Updates: Do You Know Your New Responsibilities?

On Tuesday, October 2 the Council organized a panel that provided updates on proposed new federal legislative requirements for the Navigable Waters Act, Impact Assessment Act and Fisheries Act. Speakers represented the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and Transport Canada. View the presentations

Innovations in Environmental Technologies

On Wednesday, October 3 the Council organized a presentation session sharing information on innovative environmental technologies that support the field component of project work, help environmental managers with effective decision-making and reduce environmental impacts. Speakers represented Joro Consultants, Alberta Transportation, Hemmera, and Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions. View the presentations

Invasive Species Management: Innovative Approaches and Technologies

On Wednesday, October 3 the Council organized a session that highlighted innovative approaches and technologies that have contributed to the successful management of invasive plant and animal species in the transportation sector, including prevention, management and education considerations. Speakers represented British Columbia’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Agriculture, the Meewasin Valley Authority, Synermulch Erosion Control Products, the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan, and McMaster University. View the presentations

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Council Projects in Development

TAC continues to seek funding partners for its pooled-fund projects, including those initiated by the Environment Council. 

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 19% met to date by three committed funding partners. More details

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Council Projects in Progress

Environmental Performance Benchmarking

Aiming to identify a suite of readily quantifiable, comparable and meaningful performance measures relating to transportation and environmental management, this volunteer project will develop a briefing to help organizations compare their performance with others in Canada. More details

Invasive Species Management

This volunteer project will culminate in a synthesis of best practices outlining preventative actions for managing the spread of invasive species along transportation corridors. More details

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Council Project Nearing Publication

Best Management Practices for Compliance with the Migratory Bird Convention Act and Regulations

Expected for release this summer is a synthesis of beneficial practices for compliance with the MBCA and Regulations from a wide range of sectors (transportation, utilities, oil and gas), accompanied by reports on operational guidance for migratory bird nests under bridges and in culverts, and for migratory birds and vegetation management for existing transportation facilities and infrastructure. More details

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TAC Awards

2019 TAC Volunteer Recognition Awards

Deadline – February 22
Help us recognize TAC volunteers who have made a real difference! Check out TAC’s new awards for 2019, including the Leadership Award, Individual Contribution Award, and Committee Excellence Award. They join our Distinguished Service Award, which remains TAC’s highest honour. Get more information or nominate a colleague or committee by February 22

Regional Municipality of York Recognized for Its 2nd Concession Corridor Transformation

2018 TAC Environmental Achievement Award
At TAC’s conference in 2018, the Regional Municipality of York was recognized for its 2nd Concession corridor crossing Rogers Reservoir, a popular conservation area in the Town of East Gwillimbury, Ontario. Between 2014 and 2017, the two-lane road was widened to a four-lane urban arterial along with an elevated wooden boardwalk. Three new bridges serve to protect and preserve the historic canal system. More details

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Upcoming TAC Learning Events

Beyond the Guide: An Advanced Seminar in the Geometric Design of Roads

TAC seminar – February 11-12 (Edmonton), February 14-15 (Calgary), February 25-26 (GTA East), February 28-March 1 (GTA West), April 8-9 (Vancouver), April 11-12 (Victoria), April 29-30 (Winnipeg), May 2-3 (Saskatoon)
This two-day seminar for experienced road designers will address nine real-world geometric design challenges for Canadian road. Participants will be expected to participate actively in assessing and shaping potential design solutions, and in discussing actual final designs from the standpoint of practicality, potential user challenges, and general risks and cost-effectiveness. Get more information or register for this seminar

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Miss a TAC Webinar? Watch it Now

Watch these and other recorded webinars on demand at the TAC Online Learning Centre.

Complete Streets: Key Challenges and Lessons Learned

TAC webinar – December 4, 2018
This webinar examined challenges faced by complete street projects. Speakers addressed the Argyle & Grafton Shared Streetscape Project in Halifax, the Main Street Renewal project in Ottawa, and the art of making trade-offs when designing complete streets. View the webinar (FREE for TAC members and students, $15 for others)

Mass Evacuation Planning for Natural Disasters and Extreme Weather Events

TAC webinar – November 6, 2018
This webinar highlighted the use of flood risk and traffic microsimulation models to predict the evacuation-related impacts of different flooding scenarios for the Halifax Peninsula, and discussed issues related to natural disasters, vulnerable populations and ethics. View the webinar (FREE for TAC members and students, $15 for others)

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