Tag Archive for: Environmental Assessment

2016 Summer in the Field

Our ongoing monitoring and permitting commitments, summer field work was in full swing the past few months for Cascade!

Now Offering Paleolimnology Services for Environmental Assessment

Cascade is pleased to announce the addition of a new service for our valued current and future clients. We now have the capacity to assess the long term impact of watershed development through the application of paleolimnological methods. This new service provides a rapid assessment of lakes and watersheds that cuts down on the need for long term monitoring of these systems.

Thanks in part to the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Engage Grant, Cascade hosted two researchers, Dr. Ian Spooner and Graduate Student Dewey Dunnington from Acadia University during the summer of 2014. Their research focuses on developing methods for the rapid determination of the impact of watershed development and environmental change on small lakes. In Eastern Canada researchers in Dr. Spooner’s lab at Acadia University use paleolimnology methods in combination with innovative tools such as gravity corers, portable XRF and stable isotopes to quickly distinguish between natural lake water quality and conditions influenced by anthropogenic activity.

Building on our partnership with Acadia University, Cascade will be incorporating these paleolimnologial methods into our services. A change to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) in 2012 now requires that lake assessment studies be completed within a year. Standard limnology services involve collecting water samples and surface sediment samples and monitoring over several years and multiple times per year, the results of which only provide a snap shot of lake conditions at the time of sampling. Cascade, with assistance from Dr. Spooner and his lab, has the ability to efficiently predict climate change and assess the long term impact of watershed development on lakes throughout Canada.

Western Screech-owl Survey

Recently two of our technicians spent the night out in the Squamish Valley looking for Screech-owls as part of an environmental assessment being completed for the Pilchuck IPP (Independent Power Project). Screech-owls are a small, nocturnal, and primarily woodland based grouping of owls. There are at least 21 known species of Screech-owls at present but, the only one native to the west coast is the Western Screech-owl. These owls have a distinct call which is quite different from the common hoot that one may expect from an owl. They are known for their piercing calls which consist of more than four individual calls per second. Have a listen to this MP3 for an idea what it sounds like.

Our team conducted call-back surveys by broadcasting a recorded Screech-owl call through a mega-phone, and then patiently and quietly waited for a response from any Screech-owls in the area. Because of the nocturnal nature of these owls our team had to reset their own body-clocks to start at 8pm and work through the night. It wasn’t until the very end of the survey, in the final minute, that our technicians actually heard an owl. Taking bearings from several different sites they were able to determine an area which the owl was responding from. This survey was just one in a series of many for this area. It will be exciting to watch and see if our technicians get the same response on their next outing.