Pipe for the Trans Mountain pipeline is unloaded in Edson, Alta. on Tuesday, June 18, 2019. Statistics Canada says that capital spending in the Canadian oil and gas sector fell by 54 per cent in the second quarter ended June 30, as oil prices fell due to a global price war and demand destruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Feds reach out to Indigenous communities to help reduce Trans Mountain noise pollution

The funding is part of the Quiet Vessel Initiative, a five-year $26 million plan

By Premila D’Sa, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer

The federal government announced a collaboration with several Indigenous communities to address the problem of noise pollution along the Trans Mountain shipping route, which has led to the detriment of marine life in the area, including endangered Southern Resident killer whales.

Transportation Minister Marc Garneau announced Tuesday that the federal government will dispense $2.5 million over three years to help Indigenous communities protect their coastlines as Trans Mountain projects continue.

The funding is part of the Quiet Vessel Initiative, a five-year plan with $26 million pledged to help Indigenous groups affected by the projects.Indigenous communities raised the issue of underwater vessel noise with the federal government during consultations on the Trans Mountain expansion project.

While Trans Mountain itself doesn’t own any tankers (large cargo ships), the expansion led to increased tanker traffic along the commercial shipping route from the Pacific Ocean to Vancouver’s harbour.

The route cuts through the Salish Sea, a marine environment with a delicate ecosystem that runs along southwestern British Columbia and the northwestern part of Washington state in the U.S.Tanker traffic has increased from five per month to about 34 tankers per month, according to Trans Mountain.Coast Salish communities have previously sought meetings with the federal government after noticing the Southern Resident killer whale population was declining

The killer whales have been designated as an endangered species in Canada and the U.S. Their population is directly tied to the health of the Salish Sea ecosystem, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In August 2019, after the death of three whales, their population plunged to only 73, where it remains. The decline has been tied to several factors, including increased noise and boat disturbance, according to the protection agency. These killer whales are also particularly prone to extinction because of a low reproductive rate, according to a report by the Canadian government.

The federal government has launched several killer whale recovery strategies. In a 2018 report, models showed higher levels of noise and disturbance would be enough to slow down population growth and worsen the level of whale decline.

The federal funding announced Tuesday is intended to help Indigenous communities along the coast evaluate “promising” technologies, ship designs, and revise shipping practices to help reduce noise pollution from underwater vessels.

The government provided a list of 29 Indigenous communities that are eligible for funding as part of the initiative. The groups have until Nov. 20 to apply.

Trans Mountain pipeline

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VicPD seeking help in recovering stolen scooter of B.C. Special Olympics athlete

The scooter was stolen from outside Hillside Mall on Sept.21

Oak Bay sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Glenn Wakefield’s rescue involved five airplanes and took more than 48 hours

First fall storm expected to hit Greater Victoria tonight

Heavy rainfall, winds expected over the next several days

UPDATED: Crews contain fire to attic of Central Saanich home

Firefighters are responding to a structure fire in Central Saanich

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Vancouver Island family overwhelmed with 14 Lab puppies

Litter may be one of the biggest ever

Islands Trust Conservancy gets funding for protection of at-risk species

Conservancy manages habitat for more than 25 plant and animal species at risk

Most Read