Chapter 1 – UNBC Biodiversity Monitoring and Assessment Program Overview

 BMAP origins

The Biodiversity Monitoring and Assessment Program (BMAP) was designed to be a state-of-the-art monitoring and assessment program developed in collaboration with Kitimat LNG and Pacific Trails Pipeline Partnership and three partner organizations: the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) in Prince George BC, Archipelago Marine Research Ltd. (Archipelago) in Victoria BC, and the Center for Conservation Education and Sustainability of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (Smithsonian) in Washington DC. The BMAP was initiated at UNBC by Apache Canada Ltd. on behalf of Kitimat Liquid Natural Gas (KLNG) terminal and the Pacific Trail Pipeline (PTP) projects in late 2012. In 2013, Chevron Canada Ltd. joined Apache Canada in the ownership of Kitimat LNG terminal and the PTP pipeline projects, collectively called the Kitimat LNG Operating General Partnership (hereafter the Project), and joined the newly formed BMAP steering committee. Chevron ultimately took on sole representation at the BMAP steering committee on behalf of Kitimat LNG Operating General Partnership.
The original BMAP was planned as a long-term continuing research program to inform ongoing best-practices in project development, construction, and management, but because of delays leading to FID by the Kitimat LNG Operating General Partnership for the pipeline and natural gas terminal in northern British Columbia (BC), the BMAP was discontinued in early 2015. Archipelago finalized their projects at the end of 2014 and the Smithsonian Institution finalized their projects in January 2015. Kitimat LNG Operating General Partnership, represented by Chevron, extended the Contribution Agreement with UNBC until December 31, 2015 in order to finish the research projects that were ongoing. This report, therefore, covers UNBC’s scientific contributions to the goals and objectives set out in the original BMAP proposal, including any progress up to December 31, 2015.

BMAP vision

From the outset, the BMAP vision was to develop a collaborative research program that would complement, but not overlap with, any legal or accommodation requirements of the Project. As such, the BMAP was intended to address potential applied research questions from the Project (both during construction and operation), as well as to provide a complimentary process to collect and report scientific information to be used for the development and application of best practices associated with pipeline construction and management. Across all of the original BMAP partners, the BMAP was developed to provide a contribution to protecting and managing the environment by monitoring and evaluating the status and trends of habitats, ecosystems, and species within the pipeline footprint and to provide management recommendations for maintaining ecosystem function — again above and beyond any legal requirements of the Project. The BMAP also aimed to contribute to the knowledge and understanding of the biodiversity in the pipeline project area as it transects through the marine, coastal, mountain, and interior ecological units.
The BMAP was initiated to provide additional insight through long-term monitoring and assessment in order to investigate, through a biodiversity lens, how current construction and operational techniques were working and what new techniques might be applied. The BMAP was developed to addresses critical questions that link Project activities to an understanding of the surrounding environment through research. The research was conducted according to Protocols — cohesive projects that were independently proposed by partner organizations and scientifically peer reviewed. UNBC proposed, and contributed to, six research protocols.

UNBC BMAP protocols

For each of the six UNBC-led BMAP protocols, we addressed the protocol goals and objectives (as outlined in our 2013 proposal) as far as was possible before pipeline construction and installation — in some cases significant portions of some protocol involved post-construction research and monitoring, but those have not been implemented. In this final report, we describe the research contributions within the six protocols developed and implemented by UNBC: the Aquatic Communities Protocol, the Tailed Frog as a Model for Understanding Connectivity within Aquatic, Riparian, and Terrestrial Ecosystems Protocol, the Soil Integrity and Revegetation Protocol, the Anadromous Movement and Estuarine Habitat Use of Cutthroat Trout Protocol, the Animal Movement Restoration Protocol, and the High Elevation Terrestrial Invertebrate and Lichen Restoration Protocol. Although dealt with in detail in subsequent chapters, here we provide an overview of the six protocols.