GUIDELINES FOR THE PREPARATION OF AN
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
WUSKWATIM GENERATION PROJECT
April 29 2002
The purpose of this document is to identify for Manitoba Hydro, Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and the public the information required by government agencies for consideration in an environmental impact statement for the Wuskwatim Generation Project.
Manitoba Hydro and the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN) are currently considering the development of the Wuskwatim hydroelectric generating station and associated infrastructure in the Nelson House Resource Management Area (RMA). The Wuskwatim Generating Station, to be located at Taskinigup Falls, would provide approximately 200 MW of new electrical generating capacity to Manitoba Hydros system. The general purpose of the proposed development is to take advantage of export opportunities over the 2009 to 2018 time frame. A schematic showing the location of the proposed project is provided as Schedule 1. to these guidelines.
Discussions between Manitoba Hydro and NCN regarding the future Wuskwatim Generation Project (as well as a potential development at the Notigi Control Structure) have been ongoing for several years. Article 8 of the 1996 Agreement (signed by NCN, Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba, and Canada) sets out a process for NCN and Manitoba Hydro to discuss potential future developments that could affect the Nelson House Resource Management Area and NCN members. In 1997, NCN and Manitoba Hydro established a working group to facilitate ongoing consultation regarding the proposed developments. NCN and Manitoba Hydro are currently considering potential partnership arrangements for the development of the Wuskwatim Generation Project, should it proceed. An Agreement in Principle, which describes the partnership arrangement, was jointly prepared by NCN and Manitoba Hydro and was signed on September 25, 2001.
Among other things, Article 8 of the 1996 Agreement requires that Manitoba Hydro consult with NCN to identify issues of concern to the First Nation and to provide detailed information on the expected positive and negative effects of any project in the Nelson House Resource Management Area. To address these obligations, NCN and Manitoba Hydro jointly selected a study team in late 1999 to conduct the biophysical and socio-economic studies required to provide sufficient information to conduct an environmental assessment of the proposed development.
Following a series of scoping meetings held with NCN and Manitoba Hydro officials in early 2000, the study team designed and implemented a preliminary study plan, which is referred to as the Joint Study Program (NCN Manitoba Hydro: Joint Study Program, updated August 2001). The overall objectives of the Joint Study Program are reported as follows:
In September 2001, NCN and Manitoba Hydro, with the assistance of the study team, drafted a scoping document that provided useful background to the Project Administration Team (PAT)* in the development of these Guidelines for the Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for the Wuskwatim Generation Project.
* The Canada Manitoba Agreement on Environmental Assessment Cooperation provides that the Lead Party in a cooperative environmental assessment process will establish and chair a Project Administration Team with membership representing the federal responsible authority(ies) and Manitoba Conservation. The Project Administration Team would then be responsible for managing the cooperative environmental assessment.
2.2 ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT REQUIREMENTS AND PROCESS
The Wuskwatim Generation Project will require a comprehensive-study level environmental assessment under The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. As well, the project is a Class 3 development as defined in the Classes of Development Regulation under Manitobas The Environment Act.
Under the provisions of the Canada-Manitoba Agreement on Environmental Assessment Cooperation, the Parties have agreed that, where both governments have an environmental assessment responsibility for a proposed project, a cooperative environmental assessment will be undertaken. Accordingly, these Guidelines for the Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for the Wuskwatim Generation Project have been developed to address specific issues and identify necessary information that Manitoba and Canada require to be considered in the environmental assessment of the project. The Project Administration Team has finalized the draft guidelines after consideration of public comments, the Clean Environment Commissions report on the Draft Guidelines and input received from the Federal/Provincial Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).
The Manitoba Minister of Conservation has determined that there will be public hearings conducted by the Clean Environment Commission in accordance with section 6(5) of The Environment Act for the Wuskwatim projects. The hearings will be conducted in order for the Commission to review, based on the publics input and the environmental impact statement, the issues raised in the environmental assessment process and provide advice and recommendations on those issues to the Minister in a report to be prepared subsequent to the hearings. The Clean Environment Commission hearings will incorporate consideration of the issues associated with both the Wuskwatim Generation Project and the Wuskwatim Transmission Project concurrently.
On January 29, 2002 the Government of Manitoba announced that it would establish a review process through the Public Utilities Board (PUB) that will provide for a public examination of the need for the project and alternatives to developing the proposed Manitoba Hydro projects. Based on this review process information, the PAT, in consultation with Manitoba Hydro and their study team, has developed a draft review schedule, which is provided as Schedule 2. to these Guidelines.
2.3 INTENT AND SCOPE OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
The intent of preparing these Guidelines is to identify for NCN, Manitoba Hydro and the public the information required by government agencies to be considered in an environmental impact statement being prepared for the project.
The intent of preparing the environmental impact statement (EIS) will be to:
It is intended that the Environmental Impact Statement for the Wuskwatim Generation Project shall incorporate and reflect the Principles of Sustainable Development as contained in Towards a Sustainable Development Strategy for Manitobans and the policies under The Land and Water Strategy.
The environmental assessment for the Wuskwatim Generation Project shall include consideration of the environmental effects of all undertakings associated with the site preparation, construction, operation and the final disposition of all components of the proposed Wuskwatim hydro-electric generating station, including any required infrastructure development. The assessment must consider the purpose of the project and alternative means of carrying out the project that are technically and economically feasible.
The scope of the environmental assessment shall include examination of:
The study area, i.e. the geographic scope of the investigations, shall include those local areas directly impacted by the undertakings associated with Wuskwatim Generation Project and also the zones within which there may be environmental effects that are regional or global in their nature.
The assessment for the transmission lines related to the Wuskwatim Generation Project and their ancillary components will be addressed separately in an associated EIS document.
3. REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
The environmental impact statement shall identify the legislation, policies, necessary approvals, land and resource related agreements and current planning initiatives applicable to the review of the Wuskwatim Generation Project. The report shall discuss the primary focus of each regulatory or policy requirement, such as resource allocation, environmental protection, land-use designation or development control.
4. PUBLIC CONSULTATION AND INVOLVEMENT PLAN
Details of the overall public consultation process for the environmental assessment shall be described at the outset in a public involvement plan. The plan will recognize all interested members of the public and describe the various means to provide for their participation in the assessment process. Generally, the public shall include, but is not limited to: Aboriginal peoples; other local residents; community groups; environmental groups; the private sector; municipal governments; and other interested parties. The public involvement plan shall be included in the environmental impact statement (EIS) and the results of the publics input reported and evaluated.
The EIS shall describe the proponents community consultation program that will have been undertaken with respect to the project, including the following:
The environmental impact statement shall describe how concerns and issues raised by the public were incorporated into the development of the project including its design, impact mitigation and monitoring. Any unresolved issues that were raised by Manitoba Hydro or stakeholders during the assessment process shall be discussed. In addition, efforts made to involve organizations and persons residing beyond the project area in issue identification and problem resolution shall be documented and evaluated in the EIS.
5. PROJECT DESCRIPTION
5.1 OVERVIEW OF MANITOBA HYDROS SYSTEM COMPOSITION
The environmental impact statement shall provide an overall description of Manitoba Hydros generation system. Emphasis in the description shall be on the hydro-generation components and especially on those components that relate to the selection of the Wuskwatim Generation Project and the selected site.
5.2 PROJECT ALTERNATIVE AND SITE SELECTION
The environmental impact statement shall include a discussion of the alternative means of carrying out the project that were considered technically and economically feasible. A discussion of the potential environmental effects that were considered relative to any such alternative means shall also be included. Consideration of alternative means for achieving the goals of the project, for the purpose of the environmental impact statement, will include discussion of other processes that could have been implemented or locations that could have been chosen to achieve a similar end result. The purpose of and the rational for selection of the Wuskwatim Generation Project shall be presented.
As well, the site selection process for all significant components of the project shall be discussed in the EIS. The information presented will include the rational for selection of the proposed sites (routes) along with how the technical, geotechnical and environmental criteria were considered in the decision making.
5.3 OVERVIEW OF THE WUSKWATIM GENERATION PROJECT
The environmental impact statement shall provide an overview of the Wuskwatim Generation Project, including a general description of the site selection process, construction, operation and maintenance of the facilities, and the final disposition of all components of the project. Included in this overview shall be the designed capacities of the project, location of all its components on a site-development plan, phasing and sequencing of the various undertakings associated with the components, a description of activities relating to the project that have been undertaken to date, and a description of how Manitoba Hydro has incorporated consideration of traditional ecological knowledge in the projects design.
5.3.1 SITE PREPARATION
The environmental impact statement shall describe all undertakings associated with preparing for construction at the site. Detailed descriptions of timing and the methods associated with the various undertakings that were and are required including surveying, clearing, test drilling, establishing dump and borrow areas, setting up camps and work areas, and the development of the infrastructure requirements to access and service the site. This will include providing:
The environmental impact statement shall describe all elements of the construction of the proposed Wuskwatim project. Detailed descriptions of timing and the methods proposed for the various undertakings related to the construction of the generating station and related facilities shall be required including the following:
5.3.3 OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
The environmental impact statement shall describe how the Wuskwatim project would be operated and maintained in the context of the Churchill River Diversion. A discussion of river flows and levels with and without the Wuskwatim project in place shall be provided. The description will include:
The environmental impact statement shall:
5.3.4 FINAL DISPOSITION
The environmental impact statement shall provide a general description of plans for decommissioning the proposed generating station project at the end of its operational life, including any plans for rehabilitating the sites of the project facilities.
6. DESCRIPTION OF THE EXISTING ENVIRONMENT
The environmental impact statement shall describe the existing environmental setting for the proposed project. This will include a broad overview of the local area and the zones within which there may be environmental effects that are regional or global in their nature. This description is intended to provide a context for a detailed understanding of the potential effects of the project. A description of any deficiencies or limitations in the existing environmental database shall be reported.
The environmental impact statement shall provide a discussion of the rationale for the determinations taken regarding the spatial and temporal boundaries chosen for the study areas used for the assessment.
6.1 PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
The environmental impact statement shall describe:
6.2 AQUATIC ENVIRONMENT
The environmental impact statement shall describe the existing aquatic biological resources and associated habitat in watercourses, wetlands and other water-bodies. The Environmental Impact Statement should establish a suite of biotic and abiotic indicators for the area including a discussion of the rational for their selection. The environmental impact statement shall describe:
6.2.1 WATER QUALITY:
6.2.2 LOWER TROPHIC LEVELS:
6.2.3 AQUATIC INVERTEBRATES:
6.2.4 FISH HABITAT:
6.2.5 FISH POPULATIONS:
6.3 TERRESTRIAL ENVIRONMENT
The environmental impact statement shall describe:
6.3.2 WILDLIFE AND WILDLIFE HABITAT:
6.3 SOCIO-ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT
The environmental impact statement shall describe:
6.3.1 RESOURCE USE:
6.3.3 INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES:
6.3.4 PERSONAL, FAMILY AND COMMUNITY LIFE:
6.4 HERITAGE RESOURCES
The environmental impact statement shall describe:
7. ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC EFFECTS AND MITIGATION
The environmental impact statement shall provide information on all environmental effects associated with the Wuskwatim Generation Project. Both positive and adverse environmental effects shall be described. The following criteria will be used to evaluate the significance of adverse effects:
The following criteria will be used to determine the likelihood of significance of the effects:
The environmental and socio-economic effects and associated mitigation shall relate to each phase of the project including site preparation, construction and post construction, operation, maintenance and eventual decommissioning and shall assess all components of the environment in the context of section 6. DESCRIPTION OF THE EXISTING ENVIRONMENT of this document. The assessment shall consider scientific analysis of ecosystem effects, along with TEK, local knowledge and available experience in determining the significance of potential effects. Mitigation and habitat enhancement measures to manage or avoid adverse effects shall be described for these components and for each undertaking in relation to the project.
An assessment of the projects effect to the carbon inventory for the area affected must be included in the EIS. As well, an exhaustive list of potential contaminants that could result from the project in vegetation and wildlife that would be consumed by humans shall be provided in the environmental impact statement. Specific and detailed reference shall be made in the environmental impact statement to evaluating the effects of the project on Manitobas Protected Areas Initiative.
Cumulative effects assessment (CEA) shall form an integral part of the environmental and socio-economic assessment. The cumulative effects assessment shall look at all effects that are likely to result from the project when they are anticipated to occur in combination with other projects or activities that have been, or will be carried out. The environmental impact statement shall explain the approach and methods used to identify and assess the cumulative effects and provide a record of all assumptions and analysis that support the conclusions, including the level of confidence in the data used in the analysis.
All assessment conclusions shall be supported by technical information based on experience in Manitoba and elsewhere as well as traditional ecological and local knowledge. Any deficiencies in the information about potential effects shall be clearly noted and addressed as stated in section 9. ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING of this document.
8. RESIDUAL EFFECTS
The environmental impact statement shall describe the nature and extent of any residual environmental effects of the project, and include a characterization as to whether residual environmental effects are significant or insignificant, and the rationale for such characterization. It shall provide a detailed plan for responding to any known or predicted residual effects, and provide a procedure for identifying and responding to effects that were not predicted or foreseen.
9. ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING
The environmental impact statement shall provide a detailed description of the proposed monitoring activities of effects of the project on the physical, aquatic, terrestrial and socio-economic environments arising from the site preparation, construction, operation, and eventual decommissioning of the Wuskwatim Generation Project. It shall describe the equipment to be used, the parameters to be measured, the methodology and frequency of measurement and the mechanism for reporting results of proposed monitoring of the environmental conditions affected by the Wuskwatim Generation Project. The design of the environmental monitoring proposal and its implementation shall incorporate traditional ecological and local knowledge.
The environmental impact statement shall describe how the proposed monitoring activities will help to verify and manage environmental effects and confirm the performance of mitigation and habitat enhancement measures to be employed.
If regulatory approval for the project is provided, and prior to construction, a project- specific Environmental Protection Plan (EPP) shall be developed. The EPP will be designed to commit the proponent to a long term monitoring program, including accountability and reporting requirements, that would encompass both the construction and operational phases of the project in order to confirm predictions of effects and to determine whether unexpected effects are occurring. The EPP shall be developed to accomplish the following goals:
10. SOURCES OF INFORMATION
All assessment conclusions shall be backed up by credible technical information and traditional ecological and local knowledge. The environmental impact statement shall describe the primary sources of information used to conduct the environmental assessment of the proposed project. This information shall include:
Credible analysis and documentation shall support all conclusions of 'no or insignificant effect".
11. REPORT FORMAT
The Environmental Impact Statement for the Wuskwatim Generation Project shall include an executive summary to be written with a minimum of technical terminology and to include a glossary of terms used throughout the document. Deficiencies in scientific evidence shall be identified, including areas where there is no evidence specific to Manitoba.
The information in the environmental impact statement shall maximize the use of maps, charts, diagrams and photographs for presentation. To the extent possible, maps and diagrams shall be presented at a common scale, appropriate to represent the level of detail considered, and where possible, allowing for direct overlay for ease of reference. Specifically, maps indicating zones of effect on land and water use and habitat areas shall be on maps of a common scale.
For clarification of these Guidelines please contact PAT through Mr. Bryan Blunt at:
Toll Free: 1-800-282-8069
Schedule 1 (location of
(click on link to view map in .pdf 224KB)
FEDERAL PROVINCIAL CO-OPERATIVE
ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW PROCESS:
WUSKWATIM GENERATING STATION AND
TRANSMISSION LINE PROJECTS
Draft Overall Timeline:
The following describes the main steps on the draft overall timeline for the above review process after finalization of Guidelines:
- After Public Utilities Board Hearings on "Need & Alternatives to Projects"