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Review of the effects of in-stream pipeline crossing construction on aquatic ecosystems and examination of Canadian methodologies for impact assessment


Pipeline crossing construction alters river and stream channels, hence may have detrimental effects on aquatic ecosystems. This review examines the effects of crossing construction on fish and fish habitat in rivers and streams, and recommends an approach to monitoring and assessment of impacts associated with these activities. Pipeline crossing construction is shown to not only compromise the integrity of the physical and chemical nature of fish habitat, but also to affect biological habitat (e.g., benthic invertebrates and invertebrate drift), and fish behavior and physiology. Indicators of effect include: water quality (total suspended solids TSS), physical habitat (substrate particle size, channel morphology), benthic invertebrate community structure and drift (abundance, species composition, diversity, standing crop), and fish behavior and physiology (hierarchy, feeding, respiration rate, loss of equilibrium, blood hematocrit and leukocrit levels, heart rate and stroke volume). The Before-After-Control-Impact (BACI) approach, which is often applied in Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM), is recommended as a basis for impact assessment, as is consideration of site-specific sensitivities, assessment of significance, and cumulative effects.

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Correspondence to Lucie M. Lévesque.

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Lévesque, L.M., Dubé, M.G. Review of the effects of in-stream pipeline crossing construction on aquatic ecosystems and examination of Canadian methodologies for impact assessment. Environ Monit Assess 132, 395–409 (2007).

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