Biological Impact Assessment & Monitoring

Biological Impact Assessment & Monitoring


Cambium employs a team of experienced biologists with expertise in both aquatic and terrestrial ecology who have completed inventories, assessments, and restoration projects across Canada. Our team specializes in identifying the extent, condition, and composition of natural heritage features in order to make accurate recommendations to mitigate potential impacts from development. We assist our clients in obtaining development and site alteration permits/approvals and assess compliance of proposed developments with existing policy and legislation. Our biology team has performed countless assessments and impact studies for a wide range of projects - from single residential dwellings to large scale industrial/commercial development or expansion.

Each ecological assessment – commonly referred to as an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) - is uniquely dependent on legislation, the mandate of the regulatory agency, the type and scale of development and the natural characteristics of the site surroundings.  Cambium works with a variety of clients including planners, developers, Conservation Authorities, private land owners, industrial stakeholders, and all levels of government. We have proven experience working with local, regional and provincial regulators and in balancing the requirements of regulators with the needs and capabilities of clients.

We provide many different EIS services, including: stream assessment; fish and fish habitat assessment; vegetation inventory and classification; amphibian, reptile and mammal surveys; benthic invertebrate sampling; and, channel morphology assessments.  All inventories and assessments are completed using standard protocols, by our trained personnel. We strive to achieve mutually beneficial solutions to challenging natural heritage and species at risk situations to ensure environmental quality. Our biological and ecological consulting services include:


Environmental Impact Studies and Natural Heritage Evaluations

Cambium will provide an objective assessment of potential impacts to the existing environment as a result of a proposed development project and recommend ways to avoid or minimize potential adverse effects. Evaluations of the existing environment are routinely required by municipalities and Conservation Authorities when the proposed development has the potential to negatively impact significant natural heritage features or their ecological function. We can provide related services for many different areas including, but not limited to:

  • Natural Heritage Assessments (for the Renewable Energy Approval process)
  • Natural Heritage Evaluations (for properties on the Oak Ridges Moraine)
  • Environmental Impact Studies
  • Aquatic and Terrestrial Habitat Assessments
  • Natural Heritage Management Plans and Recommendations
  • Invasive Species Management

Species at Risk Assessments

The Endangered Species Act (ESA; 2008) affords legal protection to designated species at risk (SAR) and their known habitats. The onus is on the landowner to ensure that their actions do not have a negative impact on these species or their habitat.  Species at Risk Assessments are increasingly becoming a requirement of municipalities prior to building permit issuance, in areas of known or suspected species at risk habitat.

Cambium is experienced in the assessment of SAR populations and critical habitat for both aquatic and terrestrial environments. Identification and assessment of SAR, including: habitat characterization, threat assessment, population inventories, management plans, and obtaining permits for the safe handling and relocation of individuals, have all been key features of recent project work. Staff are trained in provincially recognized protocols for SAR monitoring and are skilled at applying them on varying landscapes as required. Cambium has experience using both a general scan to sweep all habitat types in a focus area, and also a targeted approach intended to look for a particular species of interest.

Cambium will assist landowners in meeting their obligations under the ESA.  Where it is determined that impacts to an at risk species are likely to occur, Cambium can prepare mitigation and habitat management plans, make recommendations for compensation habitat and/or guide the client through the permitting process where allowable under the ESA.


Biological Monitoring (Biomonitoring)

Biomonitoring of terrestrial, wetland and aquatic systems is becoming a common addition to traditional monitoring programs for municipal and private sector clients. Biomonitoring involves an assessment of changes to the biotic community occurring over time as a result of alteration to the surroundings; such as a new development or an environmental rehabilitation project. Biomonitoring is frequently used to detect impacts to water quality from point and non-point sources. Cambium’s expert staff will help you design a biomonitoring program to suit your individual needs.

Aquatic Assessment, Inventory, and Relocation

Cambium has experienced personnel certified as Class 1 Electrofishing Crew Leaders that are able to conduct assessments of aquatic, wetland and terrestrial habitats, with a particular focus on central and southern Ontario. Our biologists are experienced in the identification of fish and other aquatic organisms.  Our trained biology team are able to design a site specific fish assessment based on evaluation of habitat characteristics and availability, fish presence/absence, and logistical factors.  Cambium personnel are experienced in the capture and release of fish and other aquatic or amphibious organisms, and can assist construction teams with relocation of these species from working areas (i.e. fish rescue/relocation).  Cambium crew leaders have obtained the standardized provincial training to undertake this highly specialized task.