On November 10, 2016 the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry issued an overall benefit permit to Kanata Lakes North Development Inc. (KNL) under clause 17(2)(c) of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) with respect to Butternut, Blanding’s Turtle and Least Bittern, in order to construct a residential development in the City of Ottawa.
Reasonable alternatives to the proposal were considered, including alternatives that would not adversely affect the species. The best alternative, which was adopted, included reducing and altering the development footprint and undertaking actions to minimize adverse effects to the species, while proceeding with the development and providing a benefit to the species on lands off-site.
The permit requires the Corporation to undertake a number of measures to minimize adverse effects to Butternut, Blanding’s Turtle and Least Bittern, including:
• Retaining a qualified professional to assist with implementing conditions of the permit; and
• Undertaking awareness training for employees.
• Avoiding the removal of some trees located on-site; and
• Fencing and marking any Butternut trees to be retained during construction to avoid harming retainable trees.
• Minimizing the amount of habitat damage and destruction;
• Creating off-line ponds, maintaining turtle movement corridors, as well as creating nesting and overwintering habitat near or adjacent to suitable wetland habitat thus reducing the overall net loss of habitat;
• Avoiding activities that may impact the species during sensitive times of year (nesting, hibernating);
• Installing temporary exclusion fencing and surveying to keep turtles out of areas where construction will be taking place;
• Marking any habitat to be retained during and after construction to reduce harming individual turtles;
• Keeping certain travel corridors used by the species in tact to avoid isolation; and
• Installing permanent turtle exclusion fencing around the development to avoid road mortalities.
• Designing the storm water pond(s) to decrease risk of water level fluctuations; and
• Installing sediment and erosion control measures to prevent impacts to wetland water quality.
The permit requires the Corporation to undertake a number of actions to achieve an overall benefit to the species at risk within a reasonable time, including:
• Archiving a minimum of 4 Butternut trees that demonstrate resistance to the Butternut canker disease. This involves the collection at least 200 Butternut Scions, of which at least 120 will be grafted, tended and planted in a protected area; and
• Undertaking a Butternut stewardship program to support the production of new Butternut populations through outreach and engagement efforts with private landowners, resulting in the production of 2000 new Butternut seedlings, to be planted, in 100- 200 locations across Eastern Ontario, in order to establish new Butternut populations in those areas.
• Decreasing road mortality and improving adult survivorship for this population through installation of a turtle passage system under Goulbourn Forced Road along with barrier fencing at locations documented high road mortality; and
• Undertaking a research project to track and monitor the movement and use of remaining and created habitat by Blanding’s Turtles over time. Data collected for the research project will be used to measure the effectiveness of the common current best management practises and inform future recovery efforts for the species.
• Creating new wetland habitat; and
• Undertaking a study to monitor the use of retained original habitat and newly created habitat by Least Bitterns before and after construction.