The Lower Columbia Ecosystem Management Program (LCEMP) is a collaborative approach to assess, rehabilitate, monitor, conserve and enhance wild land ecosystems in the Lower Columbia area of British Columbia. The LCEMP arose out of the need for Teck to address ecological impacts in a portion of the Terrestrial Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) study area around Trail Operations. LCEMP is a collaboration between Teck, regulators and other stakeholders, to meet regulatory requirements under the Contaminated Sites Regulation.
The objective of this landscape-level plan will be to enable landowners and project funders to implement habitat restoration, improvement and conservation actions that act together to maximize ecosystem integrity and habitat connectivity for a broad range of biodiversity.
The larger LCEMP boundary area (with the ERA area of interest nested within), encompasses the lower Kootenay and Columbia River valleys from Grohman Narrows near Nelson south to the border. This boundary emphasizes valley bottom and low elevation areas in the Interior Cedar Hemlock biogeoclimatic zone. Projects in this broader area may be considered, particularly for those lands that require offsetting to address historical sulfur dioxide impacts, to take advantage of the best biodiversity opportunities.
The guiding principles developed for LCEMP are:
- The program will focus on ecological values and associated impacts
- The program will consider impacts of habitat management on the socio-economic and cultural well-being of surrounding areas
- The program will strive for consensus among stakeholders while recognizing landowner and statutory rights and responsibilities
- Management actions will cause “no net harm”, and are intended to yield a net benefit, as confirmed through effectiveness monitoring and adaptive management
Realistic remediation and risk management options to address ecological risks include:
- Ecosystem rehabilitation through soil amendments and/or silviculture treatments (e.g., prescribed fire, selective tree thinning)
- Natural attenuation/regeneration and monitoring
- Habitat or habitat element inventory, protection, enhancement or creation (in upland, wetland and riparian settings)
- Establishment of wildlife nest or roost boxes, platforms, lodges, dens, basking sites, etc.
- Weed inventory and control of species not designated as noxious
- Forest health and disease management, research and monitoring
- Access control and use restrictions and monitoring
- Listed animal or plant species inventories, research and monitoring
- Interpretive signage or public education/awareness initiatives
- Establishment of conservation covenants, stewardship agreements or other conservation approaches
Studies of wetlands as a follow-up to the aquatic ERA study are also being completed under the review of the LCEMP Steering Committee.
For more information, read the LCEMP fact sheet.
2008 Terrestrial Ecological Risk Assessment
From 2000 through 2008, Teck conducted an ecological risk assessment in the Trail area. The purpose of the study was to identify where there are past or ongoing impacts on the environment due to historical smelter emissions. As the study progressed, we continued to address obvious known problem areas (e.g. remediation of historic waste storage areas near Stoney Creek and re-vegetation of barren ground, particularly close to our Trail Operations).
For the aquatic portion of the ERA, refer to the Aquatic Receiving Environment Monitoring Program (AREMP).
The terrestrial portion of the study concluded that there is very little risk of harmful effects to animals from smelter-related metals in the environment, but that there are residual impacts on wildlife habitat due to past damage to plant communities. It is these impacts that are being addressed by LCEMP as described above.
The summary and detailed reports are available at the following links: