If you are planning an activity on a property identified as environmentally sensitive or that contains significant natural features, you may be asked to prepare a study (such as an Environmental Impact Statement or Species at Risk Assessment) which demonstrates how the environment will be appropriately protected during development.
Many types of projects - building a home or widening a road - have the potential to impact the environment. Across Ontario and Canada, governments at all levels have implemented policies aimed at identifying and protecting significant natural features (wetlands, species at risk habitat, shorelines, etc.) to ensure such features continue to provide important ecological values and benefits to both society and the natural world. This is why we exist - to guide clients through the environmental approvals process by preparing high-quality reports underpinned by the best-available science and offering sound, on-going support and advice.
Greater details about the types of projects and applications our studies/reports support can be found below. If you have any questions or require a quote contact us today - we'd love to hear your plans and be part of your team.
Single Lot Residential Developments
We engage with clients in the land development industry on projects (big and small) across Ontario. Our studies and reports support diverse applications such as building permits, site plans, minor variances, rezoning, severances, and others. We are deeply committed to helping you achieve your development vision in a timely manner.
Provincial Plan Residential Developments
A Natural Heritage Evaluation focused on identifying Key Natural Heritage Features is often required to support development applications within the Oak Ridges Moraine, Greenbelt, Growth Plan, Niagara Escarpment, and Lake Simcoe areas. Terrastory is intimately familiar with the natural heritage components of these provincial plans and looks forward to assisting you through this process.
Cottage Country and Shoreline Developments
Healthy lands and shorelines are vital to the attractiveness and continued growth of municipalities like Muskoka, Haliburton, and the Kawartha Lakes. Development applications adjacent to shorelines are often supported by environmental reports/studies that must demonstrate how sensitive fish habitats, species at risk, and water quality will be protected during and post construction.
Tree Protection Plans and Arborist Reports
In many municipalities tree removal must be supported by an assessment to determine the types of trees present, their health, and whether they provide wildlife or aesthetic benefits. Terrastory's certified Arborist and qualified Tree Risk Assessor routinely prepares Arborist Reports and Tree Protection Plans to support development applications that have the potential to impact trees.
When subdividing a lot, the approval authority (often a County or Regional Municipality) will review the application to ensure that the new lots are developable and that the plans represent good planning. From report preparation to clearing draft plan conditions, Terrastory will work efficiently and effectively alongside your team of planners, engineers, hydrogeologists to coordinate and help secure the necessary approvals.
Pits and Quarries
Licensing a pit or quarry to extract aggregate in Ontario requires addressing the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA) and associated policy standards. The ARA stipulates that a licence application be supported by a Natural Environment Report. Terrastory's thorough knowledge and experience with the ARA process allows us to prepare sound, defensible reports and offer on-going advice to the project team during preparation of the operations and rehabilitation plans.
To construct and operate most wind farms and ground-mounted solar facilities in Ontario, a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) must be secured from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. A complete REA application involves the submission of a Natural Heritage Assessment which identifies the presence or absence of significant natural heritage features within or adjacent to the proposed facility (including transmission/distribution lines, transformer stations, etc.).
Municipal Class Environmental Assessments
Municipalities are responsible for constructing and maintaining a host of infrastructure, including roads, bridges, culverts, drinking water systems, and wastewater systems. The design of such infrastructure projects is subject to the Environmental Assessment Act, and is required to consider terrestrial, wetland, and aquatic resources within and adjacent to the project area to minimize the potential for impacts.
The results of an environmental survey may indicate the presence of a significant species or habitat. When impacts to significant features cannot be avoided, the approval agency may require a permit be secured which allows the development to proceed. If necessary, Terrastory will assist with the preparation of permit submissions under provincial (Endangered Species Act, Public Lands Act, Conservation Authorities Act) and federal (Fisheries Act, Species at Risk Act) legislation.
Due Diligence and Constraints Analysis
You’ve formulated a clear vision of your future development plans; but are they achievable given site constraints? Having the right information to make an informed decision is crucial for success and will help to avoid frustration and costly delays. Terrastory prepares Development Constraints Analyses to provide you with an expert opinion related to your development options as they pertain to the natural environment.
Construction time is your project coming into fruition. Despite having permit in hand, there may be further conditions imposed as part of the approval – monitoring water quality, installing sediment fencing, or transferring wildlife outside a construction zone. With ample experience monitoring job sites, Terrastory will help make sure the natural environment is appropriately protected during project implementation.
Peer Review and Expert Opinion
Terrastory is a leader in the collection of high-quality ecological field data and its translation into the policy context. We provide expert opinions on a variety of natural heritage matters that are sound and rely on the best available science. We also engage in peer review of natural heritage and arborist reports prepared by other firms.
Species-specific Surveys and Inventories
Terrastory is proficient in a diverse array of field surveys covering a broad range of taxa - breeding birds, vascular plants and bryophytes, lichens, fish, bats, tree assessments and appraisals, amphibians, turtles, snakes, dragonflies, butterflies, and many more. We are trained in and routinely employ provincially developed protocols such as Ecological Land Classification, Ontario Wetland Evaluation System, Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol, and the Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network. If you are looking for an Ecologist with specialized skills, contact us today to see how we can help.
Restoration and Mitigation Plans
Sometimes environmental impacts are simply unavoidable during the development process. Other times, past land management decisions have resulted in vegetation loss, erosion, or some other environmental concern that must be addressed. Drawing on the burgeoning field of restoration science and relying on innovative mitigation techniques, Terrastory prepares a variety of different restoration and mitigation plans such as (among others) tree compensation plans, edge management plans, and fish habitat enhancement plans.
Managed Forest Plans (MFTIP)
If you own a property that has 10 acres of forest or more, you may be eligible for a property tax reduction under the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Plan (MFTIP). Although some enrolling property owners choose to harvest their forests, there is no obligation to do so. Terrastory's Managed Forest Plan approver will collect the necessary on-site information about your forest and submit all necessary paperwork to get you enrolled in MFTIP and rewarded for your stewardship.
Research and Special Projects
Do you work for a land trust or non-profit and are in need of ecological inventory work for a property under your management or ownership? Or do you have a research or monitoring idea you’d like to bounce off someone? Contact us today - we'd love to hear your ideas and to see if we can further assist you.