We also refer to this type of study as an environmental impact study. Natural heritage evaluations, or environmental impact studies, assess the impact of a proposed development project on the natural features and functions found on or adjacent to a property.
Not necessarily. Any land development, even an addition or a single new building near a sensitive feature can trigger the municipality to require a natural heritage evaluation. Sensitive features include things like watercourses, woodlands, wetlands, endangered and threatened species, significant wildlife habitat, fish and fish habitat, and valley lands. These are the types of features our ecologists are looking at when we do a natural heritage evaluation or environmental impact study. At the end of our environmental study, we produce an environmental impact statement or natural heritage evaluation report.
Not always. After we complete the field work at your proposed site, we can provide an opportunities and constraints map to inform your development plans. With your consideration of this mapping and a development plan ecologists can prepare a report outlining the predictable impact of your proposed project on the surrounding environment. Typically, that report will also include recommended mitigation measures, wherever possible. Mitigation measures are steps you can take that would help to offset or mitigate any negative impact we might expect from your proposed development plan. This may include simple direction such as avoidance options, timing restrictions, installing habitat features like bird and bat boxes, implementation of protective buffers, naturalization, reforestation or shoreline restoration plans using native vegetation. Part of our role, after we collect the field data and produce mapping, is to help find innovative and novel ways for your development project to occur while protecting the surrounding environment in accordance with the applicable policy and legislation.
Timing is often dependant on the time of year and the scope of the assessment. By necessity, most of our field work occurs during the growing season. As an example, if a wetland review, aquatic monitoring, or a fish habitat assessment is required, the window of opportunity to complete this work is roughly from late May or early June to mid-September. We are always willing to work with our clients to provide them with the services they require in the timeliest manner possible. It is best to plan ahead to avoid delays in your process; however, never hesitate to reach out to us to find out if we can help.