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

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

A memorial to Hudson Brooks outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment. (File photo)
Officer who fatally shot Hudson Brooks recounts ‘absolutely terrifying’ incident

Const. Elizabeth Cucheran testified at coroner’s inquest Tuesday morning

File photo
Surrey council members give themselves a raise in secret meeting

A redacted report was subsequently posted to the city’s website

Photo posted to facebook.com/HoratioAlgerCA.
Eight Surrey students among 170 Horatio Alger scholarship winners in Canada

‘Need-based scholarships’ given to high school students

Students with Seaquam Secondary’s Delta Youth Advisory Council are collecting non-perishable food donations Feb. 1 to March 5 to help feed local families in need over spring break. (Delta School District/submitted photo)
Seaquam Secondary food drive to help feed 15 North Delta families

Donations can be dropped week days between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. until Monday, March 8

Crews work to build Central Surrey Recycling and Waste Centre in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
PHOTOS/VIDEO: Surrey’s new recycling/waste dropoff site takes shape near Newton business park

‘Central Surrey’ location to make for ‘a convenient one-stop-drop’ by early 2022

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Dr. Amit Desai of St. Francis Hospital receives a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 17. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
B.C. has now vaccinated more people from COVID-19 than total confirmed cases

B.C. has reached a milestone, vaccinating roughly 1.6% of its population from the coronavirus

Most Read