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Stream 3: Environmental Science 


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Sea-level Change Considerations for Marine Civil Works COPRI Committee Update on Best Practices
David Millar1, Jean Toilliez2, Austin Becker3

3University of Rhode Island

The objective of this presentation is to discuss the impacts of sea level change on marine civil works and discuss talking points and dialogue topics for owners and stakeholders to evaluate these risks at an appropriate level of scale and risk tolerance.


The Coasts, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute (COPRI) within the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is working to produce guidance materials allowing engineers, owners and stakeholders to address the inclusion of sea-level change considerations during the design of marine civil works. The Committee serves the needs of all stakeholders involved in a marine project, with a focus on designers and engineers in particular. The manual will provide designers and engineers with systematic methods for the consideration of risks associated with the uncertainty of sea-level change affecting a facility and offer mechanisms for how to incorporate sea-level change projections into their project designs. Current scientific studies use different methods and data for calculation and thus global mean sea level rise estimates for 2100 generally range from 0.6 – 2.0 meters. However, planning for marine civil works should consider the local sea level scenarios and potential variations associated with regular, periodic water level changes (such as tides) and addressing probabilities associated with potential storm/flood events. In response to the significant challenge of addressing these issues and making sound decisions jointly with stakeholders to understand and manage risk, this Committee is developing recommendations to assist in managing design factors, uncertainty, and to a certain extent, measure implementation. This presentation provides an overview of these issues and the recommendations that the Committee is developing.

Presenter Bio

David Millar is based in the Washington, DC area and is Fugro’s Government Accounts Director for the Americas region. Prior to this, David was Fugro’s Director of Hydrographic Services Americas and the President of Fugro Pelagos in San Diego, California. He has 28 years of ocean mapping, marine geophysical and hydrographic survey experience and been with Fugro since 2003. David has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Math & Physics and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geomatics Engineering.

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Development of an Area Risk Assessment Methodology of Ship-Source Oil Spills in Canadian Waters
David J. Creber, Dave Poole, Lynn Gagnon
Dillon Consulting Limited

The objective of this presentation is to provide an overview of the Area Risk Assessment (ARA) Methodology, including its purpose and intent; the approach taken to develop the ARA Methodology; and, the issues and challenges that were faced developing the ARA Methodology. 


Transport Canada (TC) commissioned the development of an Area Risk Assessment (ARA) Methodology to: a) assess the risks in Canadian waters to a ship-source oil spill, taking into consideration existing spill preparedness and response activities, local geography, environmental sensitivities, and ship traffic volumes; and, b) determine effectiveness of existing spill preparedness and response activities sufficient to reduce the inherent risks of a ship-source oil spill. 

A conceptual risk model of the ARA Methodology was developed using a facilitated and collaborative based approach called BowTie with TC, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the spill response organizations to ensure that all relevant elements were taken into account. The centre of the BowTie consisted of two elements: 1) the hazard, which was the shipment of oil in Canadian waters; and, 2) the top event, which was an oil spill. The threats that could cause an oil spill were catalogued on the left side of the BowTie. Those elements that could be exposed to an oil spill, called risk receptors, were identified on the right side of the BowTie and included biological, physical and socio-economic. Preventative and response measures were also incorporated on the left and right side of the BowTie respectively. 

With consensus achieved, a four-phase approach was taken to combine the core elements and calculate a risk score within a specified grid cell area (typically two nautical mile by two nautical mile in size). The frequency of spill (FOS) is the first phase of the ARA Methodology and is intended to identify locations that are more likely to experience oil spills. This was achieved using the SAMSON Model, developed by MARIN, which was used to assess the probabilities and consequences of marine shipping accidents. During the last 30 years the model has been extended and validated and improved by MARIN in various studies performed throughout the globe. The second phase is scenario selection where high priority scenarios (based on probability or spill volume) are brought forward for further analysis in phase three and four. Phase three involved using an oil spill fate and trajectory model, RPS’s SIMAP, to predict where spilled oil would go and what impacts the oil would have on specific risk receptors (biological, physical and socio-economic). The final phase involves calculating the risk score associated with a specific oil spill scenario by incorporating the outputs from phase one through three. 

The ARA methodology was tested in four pilot areas that were identified as the four areas with the highest relative risk of an oil spill in Canada. The four pilot areas are: Saint John and the Bay of Fundy, Port Hawkesbury and Chedabucto Bay, St. Lawrence River (from Montreal to Anticosti Island) and Southern BC (including Straits of Juan de Fuca, Gulf Islands and Straits of Georgia). Based on the results of the four pilot studies several recommendations were made to enhance the methodology prior to conducting future risk assessments.

Presenter Bio

David Creber, Environmental Engineer, Dillon Consulting Limited
David Creber is environmental engineer and biologist with over 12 years of experience in consulting for the government and private sector clients. David has extensive experience with marine risk assessments, marine oil spill planning and response. He was a technical lead on the Transport Canada Area Risk Assessment Project and was instrumental in developing the framework used to determine the risk of ship-source spills in Canadian waters. David spent more than 22 years in the Royal Canadian Navy in various roles including Navigation Officer, Operations Officer and Executive Officer on a variety of ships. 

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 Prioritization Matrix for Assessing Sediment Contamination in the Trent Severn Waterway and Rideau Canal to Support of Infrastructure Upgrades
Paul Bandler1, Tamsin Laing2, Randy Power3
1BluMetric Environmental Inc.

2Royal Military College of Canada
3Parks Canada Agency

The objective of this presentation is to demonstrate the development of a screening tool to prioritize the potential environmental and human health risks of sediment impacts at water infrastructure site. This desktop assessment tool will reduce the level of effort and associated cost of on-site sediment investigations. 


Parks Canada Agency (PCA) has identified over 90 sites along the Trent Severn Waterway (TSW) and the Rideau Canal (RC) that require either replacement, upgrading or repairing of water management structures such as dams, locks and bridges. A number of these sites may have sediment contamination arising from historical and on-going activities along the waterways, such as mining, lumber, foundries, milling, manufacturing and commercial transport, as well as discharges from upland industrial sites. 

In light of potential sediment impacts from historical and contemporary sources, PCA required characterization of potential risks to workers and to the downstream ecological environment from potential interactions with and mobilization of sediments during construction. PCA was also interested in assessing the risk from alterations in hydrodynamics of the river after construction was complete. 

To facilitate the advancement of the construction activities BluMetric, in collaboration with the Environmental Sciences Group at the Royal Military College of Canada and Public Services and Procurement Canada, on behalf of PCA, developed a screening tool to assess risk potential and prioritize the sites for further investigation and characterization work. This served to reduce the level of effort and associated cost of on-site sediment investigations by eliminating low risk sites and redirecting effort to the higher potential risk locations. 

This prioritization matrix was developed based on existing aquatic indices (National Classification System for Contaminated Sites and Risks for Aquatic Sites Classification System) and incorporates simplified Phase I environmental site assessment records search principles including: historical records reviews, air photo reviews, environmental data bases, and extensive public and private geographic information systems that focus on the identification of potential sediment contamination and receptors. 

The matrix scored each site based on 12 criteria including: type of construction activity; surrounding land uses; potential contaminant of concern; proximity to downstream public water access and drinking water intakes; and, potential for species at risk and other sensitive habitats. Sites were scored out of 60 points, those with scores greater than 45 were considered to have a high potential risk. Based on these outcomes, sediment sampling plans were prepared for high risk and selected medium risk sites to obtain site-specific characterization of sediment quality within the proposed construction zones and within upstream and downstream locations. 

Two sites along the TSW were selected to undergo sediment sampling and characterization to validate the potential risk prediction of the prioritization matrix. The sediment investigation was found to be consistent with risk predictions for those two sites.

Presenter Bio

Paul Bandler, Senior Scientist and Project Manager, BluMetric Environmental Inc.
Paul Bandler has a B.Sc. from the University of Guelph and an M.Sc. from Queen's University. He has over 14 year of experience performing contaminated site assessments, human health and ecological risk assessment and remediation. He has been responsible for planning and leading numerous Phase I, II and III ESAs at abandoned mine sites, operational radar stations and contaminated sites in the Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut, Labrador and Ontario. In his current role as a Senior Scientist and project manager for BluMetric he is responsible for project planning and implementation, client liaison, quality control and technical oversight.

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Stabilization of the M/V Kathryn Spirit using an embankment: Steps
Marie-Hélène Michaud1, Pierre Nellis2
1Public Services and Procurement Canada 
2Fisheries and Oceans Canada - Canadian Coast Guard 

The objective of the presentation is to present the actions taken, the various stages and the environmental and engineering issues encountered in order to stabilize the M/V Kathryn Spirit, docked in Beauharnois since 2011.


Built in 1967, the M/V Kathryn Spirit was operated as a Canadian flag ship for several years. The vessel was towed in 2011 to Beauharnois to be dismantled on site. Without obtaining all the authorizations for its realization, the project was abandoned. The ship was therefore sold to foreign interests with the intention of dismantling it abroad. The new owner being unable to meet all the requirements for transit, the ship was abandoned.

Petroleum products in the ship, mainly heavy oils, lubricating oils and oily waters, were removed in 2013 as directed by the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) to avoid environmental impacts. Emergency work was carried out in the summer of 2016 to stabilize the vessel that was threatening to overturn. The ship's concerns were then related to its structural condition. Uncontrolled waterways were present and variations in water level influenced the vessel's heel. Despite the preventive pumping, the vessel contains residual contaminants that mix with the infiltrating waters. The volumes of these hazardous materials are not known to date.

Due to many environmental issues and considering its position and condition, the vessel posed a threat to the environment. The option chosen is to carry out an on-site dismantling of the ship project, within a stone embankment that has already been installed. This work, which was deemed urgent, had to begin in mid-December 2016 to prevent the flooding of the vessel and to isolate it from the sensitive elements by the rising level of Lake Saint-Louis, which was scheduled for February 2017. The submersion of the vessel could have led to pollution by the residual contaminants contained on board, which would have compromised the quality of the environment and public health.

The Department of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change (MDDELCC) assumes the management of the water domain in the province of Quebec. A Certificate of Approval under section 22 of the Environment Quality Act (EQA) is therefore required for the on-site dismantling of the vessel, particularly for shoreline and coastal Lake St-Louis interventions.

The work is not subject to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA 2012) because it is under provincial jurisdiction. However, this does not exempt from the requirement to obtain the federal authorizations and permits, ie, notice of the Fisheries Protection Program of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada under the Fisheries Act (SF), and an authorization from Transport Canada under the Protection of Navigation Act (NPA).

The CCG has therefore undertaken to take into account the environmental concerns of the various authorities involved in this project and thus comply with the environmental regulations in force, while considering the engineering issues that such a project may entail.

Presenter Bio

Marie-Hélène Michaud, biologist and master's degree in oceanography, is an environmental specialist at PSPC. She has worked for nearly 15 years in the private and public sectors on projects in the St. Lawrence ecosystem, including dredging projects and the rehabilitation of ports infrastructures. Her role at PSPC is to provide advices and support to client departments to ensure that projects initiated by them are conducted in accordance with applicable federal and provincial environmental regulations.

Pierre Nellis is a biologist and holds a master's degree in biology. Between 1991 and 2013, he was a biologist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. He has worked on various projects in ecotoxicology, assessing the impacts of dredging discharges on the habitat of two species of sturgeon, and conducting models of anthropogenic effects on capelin conservation as part of an approach risk analysis. Since 2014, he is an environmental response specialist and a planning officer with the Canadian Coast Guard.

Climate Change, Coastal Hazards and Vulnerability for Select PEI Harbours
Mike Davies, Coldwater Consulting Ltd.

The objective of this presentation is to discuss the assessment of the vulnerability of select Small Craft Harbour facilities to the combined threats of coastal erosion, flooding and storm damage.


It takes a process-based approach to evaluate nearshore wave transformations and coastal flooding, resulting in a probability-based risk assessment of vulnerability for coastal infrastructure. The study being presented was undertaken for the Small Craft Harbours (SCH) Directorate of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The goal of the study was to assist them in evaluating coastal vulnerabilities due to climate change, and in identifying priorities and mitigation measures.

Presenter Bio

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