News & Resources

Seeking, listening to, and integrating traditional knowledge into project planning and design

May 20th, 2020 3:14 pm

The port authority has involved Indigenous groups from early in project development to look at the potential effects of the project on the environment and in particular, species of cultural importance. To date, through consultation, we have heard of and pursued opportunities to integrate Indigenous traditional knowledge into the project planning and design.

For example, Indigenous groups have shared that eulachon, a small silver-coloured fish from the smelt family, are important culturally, spiritually, and economically. As a result, we integrated what we learned about eulachon in assessing potential project effects to forage fish.

We also heard that eulachon move through the area around Roberts Bank on their way to upriver spawning grounds. Based on this, we assessed an adverse effect to migrating eulachon from project-related construction.

Consultation also allowed us to learn that eulachon are skittish. We used this information inform our assessment of effects to forage fish, including eulachon, from changes in underwater noise. For this reason, we believe that a residual effect from underwater noise on the noise sensitive herring is similarly important for eulachon.

Throughout our ongoing consultation with Indigenous groups we received requests to enhance current proposed offsetting measures. One example of these requests was to enhance the features and/or productivity of currently proposed onsite offsetting (i.e., inclusion of oyster shells to enhance juvenile crab habitat). Click here for more information on how we’re protecting crab at Roberts Bank.

Another example of integrating what we’ve heard includes the traditional knowledge that was shared by Indigenous groups about the southern resident killer whale through meetings, workshops, interviews with elders, and existing literature. The knowledge shared with us helped inform our assessment on the southern resident killer whale, and on both Chinook and chum salmon, which are important prey for the southern resident killer whale.

We are committed to working with Indigenous groups to create a better project. This includes opportunities to collaborate on mitigation and monitoring measures, environmental management plans, offsetting and the follow-up program to monitor and adaptively manage potential effects from the project.

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