Kinder Morgan placed plastic snow fencing along the bottom of some streams its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will cross to deter fish spawning. The National Energy Board has ordered a halt to the practice. Kinder Morgan photo

Kinder Morgan appeals NEB ban on spawning deterrent mats

Mats to deter spawning where pipeline to cross laid in seven streams in Blue River/Valemount area

Should plastic snow fencing placed along the bottom of streams be called “pre-construction” or “construction” of the proposed twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline?

That seems to be the nub of a dispute between Kinder Morgan and the National Energy Board (NEB).

Kinder Morgan installed the snow fencing in seven streams in the Blue River to Valemount area in mid-August. Fencing was laid in the bed of one stream near Hinton, Alberta, as well.

READ MORE: Innovative use of snow fencing protecting spawning salmon and trout

Purpose of the fencing, which the company calls deterrent mats, is to prevent salmon and other fish from spawning in locations where the pipeline will cross.

“Once the spawning season is complete, the mats are removed,” a media release from Kinder Morgan stated. “Within Alberta and B.C. combined, we’re proposing to use this method at 26 locations.”

Not having the mats in place could mean construction could be delayed up to a year, the company said.

Kinder Morgan reported on installing the mats on its blog in mid-September.

NEB ordered Kinder Morgan to stop installing mats, saying that a number of conditions required by the federal regulator have not yet been met by the company.

“Trans Mountain must obtain all applicable approvals from the board which permit the commencement of construction … including the installation of mats,” said a letter from NEB to Kinder Morgan dated Sept. 22.

NEB ordered that the installation of any other mats be discontinued, and the company has complied.

An energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada, Keith Stewart, said it’s hard to believe that Kinder Morgan didn’t know or failed to check to see if its anti-spawning strategy was allowed.

The mats are plastic snow fencing pinned down with rocks.

Not all creeks and rivers the pipeline crosses will require mats.

“If the streambed section at the right-of-way crossing is covered with large cobbles or boulders and there is no suitable spawning substrate, the deterrent mat is not necessary,” said Trans Mountain fisheries biologist Calum Bonnington.

“Trans Mountain is committed to minimizing the environmental impacts of construction of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project,” Kinder Morgan spokesperson Ali Hounsell said in an email. “We have requested that the NEB allow us to continue with the preventive measures aimed at protecting spawning fish as part of our fisheries protection program. In that request we outlined potential impacts and possible alternative construction methods. We will await the NEB’s determination and if we have to look at alternatives, we will take all the mentioned factors into consideration.”

In a letter to NEB dated Sept. 28, lawyers acting for Kinder Morgan asked for permission to go ahead with installing deterrent mats in four creeks near Hope: Ladner, Dewdney, Karen, and one unnamed.

 

The mats cover gravel beds to deter fish from laying their eggs in places where pipeline construction is expected to take place. Kinder Morgan photo

Just Posted

The story of Rotary Richard

People have until April 6 to make their guess

Local contribution to a global issue

Global Climate Strike for Future

Thompson Caribou Championship hockey tournament a show of dedication

The tournament included teams from Logan Lake, Merritt, Lillooet, Clearwater and two from Chase

Cross-country camaraderie

Learning techniques for skate skiing and other fun activities

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at B.C. vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Most Read