Dillon was retained by the Wocawson Energy Limited Partnership (WLP) to complete natural environment surveys in support of a provincial registration of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Wocawson Energy Project. WLP is a partnership between Tobique First Nation and Natural Forces Technologies Inc. and as such, significant investment in involving the nation in the project from start to finish was made.
The proposed project was a 20-40 MW wind energy project that included 6-12 proposed locations for 135 m tall (hub height) turbines, connector lines, a substation and transmission line. As the project was part of the Community Renewable Energy Program with NB Power, the timeline from project award to commissioning was slightly under two years.
Dillon was retained to complete the biophysical surveys (bird monitoring, bat monitoring, watercourses, wetlands, vegetation, species at risk and terrestrial habitat), support in public engagement and consultation activities and interface, author VEC component study reports, and interface with regulators. As the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) of Environment and Climate Change Canada was proposing changes to the pre- and post-construction monitoring program, developing a survey protocol to meet CWS requirements was an intensive endeavour involving literature and regulatory reviews to compare the level of impact of wind turbines based on height.
Our team was also able to apply innovative techniques to the bat monitoring program in an effort to distinguish the flight paths of bats (in comparison to turbine and blade height) rather than evaluate for presence/absence of bats within the project site.
Aligned with Natural Forces’ priorities, Dillon sought to, and was successful in, engaging members of local First Nation communities to build capacity during the project. Community members were invited to participate in the field studies to build capacity, and one community member was hired as part of the project. This allowed Dillon to evaluate traditional knowledge alongside western science toward the betterment of the project. Our team was also able to support Natural Forces in their consultation efforts with their deep understanding of the Wolastoqey and Mi’kmaq Nations.
These methods, combined with a deep understanding of the project, allowed Dillon to deliver the project slightly ahead of schedule.
Dillon provided overall management, coordination, consultation, and assessment services, including the following services:
- Environmental constraints mapping for turbine locations;
- Route selection study for transmission line connecting the project to the grid;
- Natural environment surveys at the turbine locations and in the transmission line corridor (fish and fish habitat, vegetation and rare plants, wetland delineation and functional assessment, wildlife surveys, avian surveys, bat surveys);
- Preparation and successful registration of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) registration document meeting the New Brunswick Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation – Clean Environment Act;
- Permitting and regulatory support;
- Public and stakeholder engagement support;
- First Nations engagement support; and
- Project management.