Pipeline Activity

With construction on the twinning project of the Athabasca pipeline from Fort McMurray, Alberta to Hardisty, Alberta, about to start in earnest sometime this spring, I thought I would start a series of posts based on the activity across the road from our farm, on our neighbors’ adjoining pastures.

This will help to document the activity in our little area and its effect on the land. These pastures include native grasses, an extensive slough, and woods/bush — all areas where I spend a good portion of each year birding. Crews were out doing a variety of things, with one of the biggest projects so far, knocking down and grinding up a large expanse of trees from the woods across the road.

First came a survey crew with trucks, snowmobiles, and Argos (amphibious all-terrain vehicles) to mark various areas, around the middle of March. Some of the crews taped off this area because, as one of the crew members told my father, it contains some rare plant species in the designated area; they also taped off another area where rare amphibians had been found, my father said:


Then came the tree shredder,


The open area is what the shredder removed,


The Athabasca pipeline has been in operation since March 1999 and is 540 kilometres (335 miles) long. The first pipeline is about 100 yards away from the one currently going in.

4 thoughts on “Pipeline Activity

  1. This is very sad Charlotte – I hope the pipeline doesn’t wipe out your ability to enjoy the birds and especially those endangered and rare plants – Unfortunately many of the peope who operate the big equipment don’t understand or don’t know about the value of all life…or they are just doing what they’re told – so sad to have that right across from you. Good for you for documenting it… keep up the great work!

  2. Dear Barbara and Mia,

    I’m sure all of the activity and then the changes will disrupt bird watching in that area at least in the short term. In the long term, though, it’s amazing how things have grown back and gone back to “normal”, or at least what my parents’ remember, since the first pipeline went through 14 years ago.

    Our family isn’t happy about the pipeline going in and the disruption it will cause to the environment and wildlife, but last Spring it was good to show the survey crew some of the species here of special concern, such as Green Wing Teals. I also told them about the Great Blue Heron I saw early in the morning before they arrived, and they told me about Alberta Sustainable Resource Development setbacks for the nesting sites. The worst outcome is for the pipeline to go in without any input at all from landowners, especially landowners who know the land, the plants, and animals.

  3. Pingback: Young Birder of the Year Contest and New Blog | Prairie Birder

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