The Polar Bear Pass National Wildlife Area lies to the west of the planned Op NA-NU 20 and will be avoided by all military activities. All activity conducted in this area is assessed as low impact and any wildlife sightings will be recorded and reported.
It is important to note the Department of National Defense/Canadian Armed Forces operates under strict environmental guidelines. In and out clearances will be conducted at each location used for resupply or bed down. Digital images of locations will be taken during and after use and will be included in the Post-Operation In/Out Clearance Report. Some of the environmental protection measures will be implemented include:
The permitting process requires detailed information regarding the nature and locations of the operation, and the information contained in the following document is all known information at the time of production. Minor variances may occur during the conduct of the operation. Such variances will be captured in a post-operation Environmental Report and will include the precise locations used during the operation, along with an overall review of the execution.
The following is a list of potential impacts which could result from the proposed activities:
Activity and vehicle traffic from the proposed activities is expected to increase ambient noise levels and may also cause minor disturbance to the wildlife within the vicinity of activity locations. However, since all activities will be temporary, impacts are expected to be minimal.
Vehicles involved in Op NA-NU 20 will release particulate into the atmosphere and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Air quality in the vicinity of activities may be temporarily reduced due to the increased fumes. However, due to the relatively short duration of the activity, and the use of new, lower emission vehicles, impacts to the atmosphere are expected to be minimal.
Weapon and explosive ranges are expected to increase ambient noise levels and may also cause minor disturbance to the wildlife and marine wildlife within the vicinity of activities locations. Explosive detonation on the sea ice is likely to create a shock wave that could possibly disturb or destroy marine wildlife. Mitigating factor will include limiting the usage of explosives to a single occurrence in a small precise location. Shaped charges will be used to reduce the amount of explosives required. Impacts are expected to be low.
Low level flying aircraft is expected to increase ambient noise levels and may also cause minor disturbance to the wildlife within the vicinity of aircraft low level route. However, due to the movement motion of the aircraft, impact on the wildlife are expected to be minimal.
Despite direction to ensure all waste material is to be properly contained and transported back for disposal, the potential exists for waste material produced during Op NA-NU 20 to litter property or be windblown onto surrounding locations. However, every effort will be made to ensure this does not happen; therefore, the impact is considered to be easily mitigated and insignificant.
Should a fuel leak and/or spill occur from vehicles, equipment, etc., the possibility exists for contamination of ground water resources, soil and/or surface water. However, all units traveling outside Resolute Bay or Rankin Inlet will have spill cleanup supplies, and will be instructed on their use; therefore, the potential for a malfunction and/or accident to cause any significant impact is low.
Peary Caribou are an endangered species and live in the vicinity of Resolute Bay. Dolphin and Union Caribou are a species of special concern and live in the vicinity of Resolute Bay. Human activities have the potential to disturb these animals, however any caribou seen will be avoided minimizing the potential disturbance of any individual caribou or caribou herds.
While there is potential for activities to impact the environment, mitigation measures have been established to minimize their significance. These mitigation measures include, but are not limited, to:
An environmental brief will be provided to personnel involved in the exercise to ensure they have the required general level of environmental awareness and knowledge, and are aware of requirements related to wildlife prevention, response and reporting.
Vehicle movement will be restricted in sensitive areas. In the event established trails are impassable, personnel will be instructed to use alternate routes for as limited a distance as necessary.
Individuals will be tasked to ensure waste material and litter is collected on the site prior to departing the camp location. All waste produced on site will be packed out to Resolute Bay or Rankin Inlet for proper disposal.
In order to prevent any unnecessary wildlife encounters, all waste will be appropriately contained, stored and removed from the sites as soon as possible.
All caribou will be avoided and not disturbed in any way.
Personnel will keep at least 1 km away from the boundary of the Polar Bear Pass National Wildlife Area.
Personnel will be made aware of the potential for threats from local wildlife and instructed to avoid encounters or disrupt any wildlife unless absolutely necessary.
Local treatment systems and municipal landfill or incineration will be used for the disposal of human waste. Waste generated during foot patrols or when municipal services are otherwise unavailable, will be bagged and packed out for appropriate disposal;
Local landfill or incineration will be used for the disposal of combustible waste. Disposal will occur in accordance with territorial and municipal regulations (waste will be handled by contract);
Local landfill, incineration or recycling centers, where available, will be used for the disposal of non-combustible wastes. Disposal will occur in accordance with territorial and municipal requirements (waste will be handled and disposed by contract);
All noise making activities will be limited as much as possible.
Vehicles and equipment will be maintained in good repair to prevent leakage of fuel, oil, etc.
Generators will be placed within suitable containment throughout the operation, and will be emptied for transportation;
When in Resolute Bay or Rankin Inlet, all vehicle/equipment refueling will occur in a central location. Use of spill containment items including drip pans or mobile plastic berms will be maximized during refueling.
All fuel storage systems and containers to be used in Op NA-NU 20 will be transported, stored, protected, etc. according to proper legislation, regulation, codes and guidelines.
All hazardous materials (HAZMAT) and fuel will be stored in approved storage containers and facilities, including compliant secondary containment and will be stored in accordance with municipal, territorial, and federal regulations;
HAZMAT prevention/response resources (spill pans, hydrocarbon spill pads, absorbal, etc.) will be available and ready for use if required. Spill kits will be specifically located at all fuel storage areas, vehicle maintenance areas and refueling areas.
All hazardous materials (HAZMAT), fuel storage, generator and vehicle parking areas are subject to inspection by environmental support staff. All involved elements will appoint an environmental representative, accountable for the supervision of best environmental practices;
HAZMAT waste will be appropriately packaged and transported to a suitable facility for disposal, in accordance with appropriate regulations – provided by a third party waste disposal facility if required; and,
Photographs will be taken of all training location sites, and temporary camp locations before, during and after use.
Based on all of the information available regarding the proposed Op NA-NU 20 and the surrounding environment, if designed and carried out using the knowledge of the local 1 CRPG members in to addition to the identified mitigation measures, and follow-up programs and monitoring, Op NA-NU 20 is not likely to cause any significant effect on the environment.
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