TRCA Environmental Impact Statement .TRCA Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines November 2007

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Transcript of TRCA Environmental Impact Statement .TRCA Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines November 2007

  • TRCA Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines

    November 2007

    This document is adapted from the Carolinian Canada Guide for Environmental Impact Statements. It is

    dated November 2007 and is consistent with current policies adopted by the TRCA at this time. These guidelines are not meant to be exhaustive but present the typical requirements of the TRCA and are

    subject to change.


    Purpose of an EIS 4

    TRCA Terrestrial Natural Heritage System Strategy 5


    Step 1: Initial Consultation and EIS Scoping 7

    Step 2: Terms of Reference Development and Initial Site Visit 7

    Step 3: EIS Report 8 Part I Defining the Natural Heritage System 8 1.0 Existing Conditions 8 1.1 Site Description 9 1.2 Assessment of Function 10 1.3 Development of the Natural Heritage System 12 Part II The Development Proposal 12 2.0 Evaluation of the Ecological Impacts 12 2.1 Description of Mitigating Measures 13 2.2 Policy and Legislative Framework 14 2.3 Recommendations 15 2.4 Appendices 15 2.5 Executive Summary 15

    Step 4: Ongoing Consultation 15

    Step 5: Review of EIS by the Technical Review Team 16

    Step 6: Monitoring 16




    Guiding Principle A1-1

    Background A1-1

    Biophysical Inventories A1-1 Reporting on Aquatic and Terrestrial Species of Conservation Concern A1-1 Vegetation Communities Survey and Reporting A1-2 Vascular Plants Survey and Reporting A1-2 Wildlife Surveys and Reporting A1-3

    Breeding Bird Surveys A1-3 Amphibian Surveys A1-5

    Aquatic communities and habitats survey and Reporting A1-7 Fisheries and Habitat Inventory A1-7 Fish Habitat Assessment and Stream Analysis A1-7 Fish Community and Habitat Assessment Requirements for Ephemeral Streams A1-7 Benthic Survey A1-9 Freshwater Mussels A1-11

    Data Collection Summary Table A1-13








  • TRCA Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines November 2007


    INTRODUCTION As stipulated under the Conservation Authorities Act, the object of Conservation Authorities is to further

    the conservation, restoration, development, and management of natural resources within their

    jurisdictions. For the purposes of accomplishing this, authorities have the power to study and investigate their watersheds and to determine a program whereby the natural resources of the watershed may be

    conserved, restored, developed and managed. Given these powers, Conservation Authorities have an interest in ensuring that development applications conform to the policies and programs established to

    achieve these objectives.

    In addition, in 2005 the Province of Ontario revised and updated the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS),

    which provides policy direction on matters of provincial interest related to land use planning and development. With respect to natural heritage, the PPS does not permit development and site alteration

    in significant natural heritage features unless it is demonstrated that there will be no negative impacts on the natural features or their ecological functions. Municipalities, through their official plans, set out

    how to satisfy the requirements of the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS). An Environmental Impact

    Statement (EIS) is normally completed for all development proposals where it has been identified that there may be an impact on a natural heritage feature, or area, or the function of the feature.

    The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority is an agency that holds Memoranda of Understanding

    with all of our municipal partners to provide technical advice relating to various planning applications and

    development proposals requiring approval under the Planning Act. A component of our role as a commenting agency is, in concert with our municipal partners, to establish the requirement for an EIS,

    and provide technical input into the content of the EIS through the terms of reference development. These guidelines have been prepared to assist in the processing of Planning Act applications. Upon

    review of the completed EIS, TRCA provides advice to the municipality as to whether the findings of the report are acceptable. However, ultimately it is the municipality that is responsible for approving a

    development application. TRCA may also require that an EIS be conducted in support of a permit

    application made pursuant to Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act (Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses Regulation).

    Purpose of an EIS

    The purpose of an EIS is to determine the potential impacts, direct and indirect, of a proposed development application on the natural heritage system of an area, excluding areas on the Oak Ridges

    Moraine (note that technical papers have been prepared by Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to guide the development of Natural Heritage Evaluations on the Oak Ridges Moraine). These studies are

    typically completed for smaller-scale developments or in-fill developments that are not associated with

    detailed studies conducted to satisfy higher-level planning processes (i.e. Secondary Plans, MESPs, etc.), although these guidelines can be used to guide the environmental components required for these higher-

    level studies as well. An EIS can also be required when an assessment of ecological impacts has not been addressed at earlier planning stages or one may be required at detailed design through the permitting

    process. Key components of the EIS reporting are:

    a biophysical inventory and analysis; identification of constraints and opportunities; an assessment of impacts from the proposed activities; the analysis of mitigation measures; the determination of net effects; the identification of monitoring for developments within and/or adjacent to natural areas or


  • TRCA Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines November 2007


    The function of the EIS is to describe potential impacts, to better inform municipal and TRCA staff in

    making decisions about which impacts of development are acceptable, and which should be avoided. The EIS will assess impacts that are anticipated from the proposed development application on natural

    heritage features, functions and linkages including but not limited to:

    Fish and aquatic habitat; Wetlands; Woodlands; Valleylands; Wildlife Habitat; Vegetation Communities; Environmentally Significant Areas (ESAs); Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSIs); Habitats of Vulnerable, Threatened and Endangered Species (VTEs); TRCAs Terrestrial Natural Heritage System; Groundwater recharge and discharge areas; Groundwater and surface water quantity and quality as related to natural heritage features and

    functions; Flood and erosion hazards of streams and valleylands; Flood and erosion hazards of dynamic beaches.

    The proponent of a given development has a financial responsibility to fulfill the requirements established

    by the Province and the municipality for an Environmental Impact Study. The EIS will contain recommendations that discuss whether or not the impacts of the proposed development are acceptable

    or not, and measures to maintain, mitigate or enhance the natural heritage features and functions of the site. This includes management and mitigation of impacts that are unavoidable. We expect that the

    results of the analysis be based in good sciences that are technically defensible and adequately protect

    the features and functions on the site.

    Through this process it is anticipated that development proposals will be modified to reduce impacts where possible. The EIS will be reviewed for technical accuracy and extent of impacts. The completion

    of an EIS does not assure the approval of a development proposal. An EIS provides the mechanism for assessing impacts. Additional modification of development proposals may result during review, if the

    development concept is deemed to be acceptable. Accepting, modifying or rejecting development

    proposals in and adjacent to natural areas will take place after the EIS is completed and submitted. In general, the natural areas of concern to the municipality are those designated as natural heritage

    features in the Official Plan. Other natural heritage features not specifically identified may be identified as also requiring an EIS.

    TRCA Terrestrial Natural Heritage System Strategy

    Conservation Authorities are given powers under the Conservation Authorities Act (R.S.O.1990) to develop programs to conserve and restore the natural resources of our watersheds. Applicants should be

    aware that TRCA has adopted a Terrestrial Natural Heritage System Strategy (TNHSS) that attempts to

    address the ongoing loss of biodiversity within TRCAs watersheds by implementing a more comprehensive and pro-active approach to conserving terrestrial biodiversity than the traditional

    approach to protect islands of green. The recognition that there is currently insufficient habitat and linkages across the GTAs landscape to sustain populations at regional and local scales supports

    integration of both protection and restoration of natural habitats as key components. Hence, the