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Environmental Impact Studies

An Environmental Impact Study (EIS) is a comprehensive assessment of the existing natural features (e.g., biotic communities, ground water, geologic) within an area and an unbiased evaluation of the potential impacts to an area resulting from a change in land use. Typically an EIS is required by Conservation Authorities (CA) and Municipalities when development is proposed within or adjacent to designated environmentally sensitive or environmental protection areas. Examples of important natural heritage features and processes that may trigger an EIS include, but is not limited to, County/Regional Greenlands, presence of Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest, presence of Provincially Significant Wetlands or designated significant wildlife habitat/ valleys/woodlands or rare/endangered species.

Given the complexity of the natural environment and interactions among various biological and physical processes, an EIS requires an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to fully identify the potential impacts to local ecological functions and processes. Azimuth applies the terrestrial and aquatic biology, wetland ecology, botany and hydrogeology disciplines to fully evaluate the environmental implications of a project.

Municipalities and conservation authorities have specific technical protocols that must be followed that involve a three season field study involving vegetation, amphibians/reptiles, breeding birds, fisheries, ground and surface water. An EIS must, 1) identify all existing natural heritage features located on or in proximity to the proposed development; 2) evaluate the potential impacts, both direct and indirect, associated with the construction and permanent development; and 3) provide strategies to mitigate or offset any perceived impacts so that there will be “no negative impact” on the natural features.