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.