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Projects Detail

Snart SPECIES AT RISK SURVEYS | Southern Ontario

DST carried out a species at risk survey and a barn swallow habitat compensation for the selective deconstruction of a former correctional centre.

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Client

Infrastructure Ontario in both cases, Southern Ontario

Services

Species at Risk Survey and Species at Risk Impact Mitigation/Habitat Compensation

Assignment

As part of the Class Environmental Assessment for the Major Institutional Selective Deconstruction it was identified that species at risk surveys were necessary for several species at risk which could be present at the property. If encountered, mitigation and habitat compensation measures would also be necessary for any species at risk present.

Our Role

DST conducted species at risk surveys for several species including Barn Swallows (threatened), Butternut Trees (endangered), Eastern Milksnake (special concern), and Eastern Hognosed Snake (threatened). These species were surveyed through a targeted rare plant survey, a barn swallow nest survey, and through the deployment of snake thermal boards to attract snake species. These survey methods were undertaken following recognized/provincial protocols. No snake or tree species at risk were encountered. Several barn swallow nests were identified in the main complex, which was scheduled for selective deconstruction. In light of the presence of a threatened species, it was necessary to develop a mitigation/compensation strategy to gain the required approvals for the deconstruction of the affected building. DST worked closely with provincial regulators and the client to develop a mitigation strategy which included the design of Ontario’s first artificial nesting structure for barn swallows. This artificial nesting structure would provide compensation habitat under the Endangered Species Act, and would satisfy regulatory requirements to compensate for habitat that would be disturbed during selective deconstruction. This satisfied the requirements of the provincial regulator and resulted in successful obtainment of approvals for the selective deconstruction project, with respect to species at risk. The mitigation/habitat compensation strategy was one of the first of its kind for barn swallows in Ontario, and was sufficient that a costly Overall Net Benefit Permit application under the Endangered Species Act was not required.

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