Skip to main content

Lessons learned for industry awareness.

Lessons Learned: Unauthorized In-Stream Work

This incident is being shared to communicate lessons learned to increase awareness throughout industry with the goal of avoiding similar occurrences in the future.


A Fisheries Habitat and Wetland Assessment was completed for a pipeline installation project almost a year before work began in the area of this incident. There was no evidence that beavers had inhabited the area at the time of the assessment.

During the pipeline installation and stream crossing taking place in early winter conditions, activities were conducted outside of the established project right of way. This included instream work taking place outside of the originally approved work area leading to damage of a beaver dam.

The project did have an established and licensed right of way that included an approved stream crossing, however, a change in weather conditions resulted in an adjustment of the work scope for the stream crossing.

Lessons Learned:

Industry should consider opportunities for the enhancement of on-site processes and educational opportunities. Such as:

  • Assessment of work situations, being aware of real time changes in site conditions and how that affects all workers and activities on site.
  • Ensure those present on site have appropriate training to conduct and oversee work in a project area.
  • Ensure a process for communicating the work scope exists for clear direction to all workers on the project – regardless of role or position.
  • Proper visual markers should be implemented to allow for easily viewable and understandable boundaries for project work, such as survey flagging that is visible to workers in large machinery. These markers reduce the chance of work being conducted outside of the surveyed site and appropriate work area.
  • Ensure the project schedule allows for environmental sweeps close to the start of field work commencing. Large breaks in time between sweeps and the start of a job may result in changes to the landscape, such as the establishment of new wildlife features like dens and nests that must be taken into consideration for project activities.
  • Ensure personnel understand the potential wildlife and associated features in the project area, including existing environmental factors and implemented mitigation measures. This should also include an understanding of protocols to follow in the event a new environmental feature is discovered, plus a general awareness of potential encounters and precautions to take.