What is an environmental assessment?

Environmental assessments form an important part of any development.  The  aim of an environmental assessment is to provide a sound understanding of a project in terms of its potential impacts on the natural environment.  This includes a range of assessments depending on the type and scale of the project along with its location in the environment.  These often include;

  • Biophysical Impact Assessments which aim to determine the level of impacts in the ecology and biology of a site and its surrounds.  These include plant and animal surveys which are often seasonal in response to the specific biological attributes of a species and when it is most likely to be detected.  These often include rare plant surveys, migratory bird surveys and species at risk surveys.
  • Environmental Site Assessments (Phase 1 and 2) aim to determine if past or current activities have resulted in a site becoming contaminated.  The Phase 1 ESA is a detailed site inspection, records searches including historical records and historical aerial photographs.  If a risk of contamination is found to be likely then the assessment proceeds to a Phase 2 ESA which involves intrusive sampling for potential contaminants which are likely to occur. This helps protect the new development by providing a safe environment and remediation is often required to make a site suitable for the proposed development.
  • Wetlands Assessments are undertaken to determine potential impacts on wetlands.  Although similar in many ways to Biological impact Assessments they focus specifically on the wetland environment.  This involves delineation and classification of a wetland and rating of its significance.

Early planning to identity which Environmental Assessments are required as part of your project is useful in the planning process particularly considering some of the assessments are subject to seasonal requirements.

As Environmental Consultants Calgary, Edmonton and also servicing B.C. we undertake a range of Phase 1 and Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessments, Biophysical and Biological Assessments, Migratory Bird Survey’s and Wetlands Assessments.  We are here to assist our clients so please give us a call to discuss your next project.