2018 marked a busy year for North Shore’s Vegetation Management Team having serviced more than 1,500 sites for a variety of clients.

“Although the majority of our clients are within the oil and gas sector, North Shore is fully licensed to serve clients within other industries including agriculture and forestry,” says Colin Bergen, Manager of North Shore’s Vegetation Management Team.

Since the team’s inception in 2015, members of our Vegetation Management group have travelled across Canada, all the way from B.C. to Quebec to serve our clients, even accessing numerous sites in remote locations that require our teams to fly in and out to complete the projects.

North Shore’s Difference

We can provide vegetation management services to our clients either in conjunction with our environmental consulting services or as a stand-alone service.

Rather than hiring an additional contractor just to spray weeds, North Shore already employs a number of consultants certified to manage weeds, otherwise known as “invasive species.” While we are on-site completing assessments and other services, our team can recommend a vegetation management plan that will save both time and money for our clients.

“Our team always has the client’s best interests in mind and we can be very efficient by combining weed control and consulting services,” Colin says.

Man hand picking parsnip
A member of our Vegetation Management Team picking wild parsnip in Ontario.

How it Works

When North Shore arrives to a site, an on-site assessment is completed before any work begins.

If invasive species are discovered during the assessment, a management plan will be implemented based on the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles, a set of guidelines that combines a series of vegetation management practices for pest and weed control.

If there is a need to conduct weed control, North Shore has a number of methods that can be used including; hand picking, weed whipping, and herbicide application.

“With sites that have a few patches of invasive species, we typically hand spray those areas with backpack sprayers,” Colin explains. “This ensures accurate application and avoids unnecessary herbicide application in other areas of the site.”

“For other sites with more severe infestations or larger areas, we can broadcast spray with equipment including ATVs, UTVs, and trucks with mounted sprayers,” he adds.

Why it Works

When applied by properly trained applicators, herbicides are very effective at killing their target species and leaving desirable vegetation unharmed.

Woman Spraying Weeds
A North Shore team member spraying weeds on a sunny, summer day.

Herbicides used by North Shore are “systemic,” meaning the product is absorbed by the target species and then spreads through the entire weed, including the roots. This gives spraying a distinct advantage over other methods of weed control, which often leave roots or root segments that can regrow.

“Our team uses herbicides that are considered ‘reduced-risk’ products. The products are effective at treating target species, while posing very little threat to mammals, birds, insects or aquatic organisms.”

More than Weed Management

Colin says the Vegetation Management team’s abilities span further than spraying weeds and the team has experience with a range of vegetation-related projects.

“Last year we helped our clients prepare sites for tree planting, implemented annual bare ground and selective weed control programs, and completed pasture renovations, which is a form of re-seeding damaged landscapes.”

More Information

Contact North Shore to learn more about our Vegetation Management Services and how we can help with your next project.  

Wendy Margetts joined North Shore’s Biophysical Team in February 2018 as a Junior Environmental Consultant. Wendy was excited about this role, as she knew it involved spending a lot of time working outdoors.

“Any day that I get to be outside in the field is a good day,” she says.

As an avid camper and hiker, Wendy feels lucky to have a career that allows her to explore nature frequently.

Within her role, she supports a number of important tasks related to vegetation, wetlands, aquatics, and wildlife to help our clients meet regulatory requirements. One of her favourite tasks is completing on-site assessments, where she inspects potential project areas with a “fine-tooth comb” looking for anything that requires special attention.

This can include interesting plant species, bear dens, animal tracks, stick nests, etc. Once these items are highlighted and presented to our clients, it helps determine how they proceed with projects.

International Experience

Wendy and the children she was teaching on Nagtabon Beach, Philippines.

After completing her Bachelor of Environmental Science and Ecology Degree in 2015 from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Wendy spent time in Costa Rica working at a wildlife rehabilitation centre and in the Philippines teaching children’s education programs promoting marine life.

“Completing the internship in the Philippines was such an amazing experience,” she says. “Most of my time was spent teaching locals from nearby villages about environmental protection and conservation.”

“I lived there for about seven months and it was absolutely beautiful.”

When she returned to Canada she landed a role with the Calgary Zoo, where she continued teaching programs for school-aged children, but she was still on the hunt for field-based work.

“I was teaching a variety of programs surrounding environmental education for kids in kindergarten to Grade 12, but I felt like I didn’t know enough about the natural environment in Canada. I was teaching it, but I wanted more first-hand experience with it.”

Learning New Skills

In the spring of 2018, shortly after starting with North Shore, Wendy was ready for some “hands-on experience” after being sent to Northern Alberta on an emergency spill response project for a client.

Her role was to help assess the environmental impacts of a suspected pipeline leak. Having never been part of a spill project before, Wendy jumped at the chance to work in the field for three weeks.

“I went up there initially to be a helping hand; to sample soil and water, or whatever they needed, but they ended up asking me to be part of creating the vegetation management plan.”

 A task she gladly took on.

Since pipelines are deep underground, detecting a leak is often quite difficult. The spill response team looks for a variety of evidence that can point towards a leak – including stressed vegetation.

“Through my discoveries, I was able to show where the spill path was based on what the vegetation looked like,” she says. “On this particular project we were looking for wilted leaves and discolouration.”

“Once the specific areas were noted, the spill team worked with the client to finish the project.”

Volunteering in Nature  

Wendy’s passion for nature is also present in her volunteer efforts. Through the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), she runs educational programs for newcomers to Canada to help them better understand the Canadian landscape, particularly with local parks, water systems, and bear safety. 

“It is just so fun!” she says.

“There are people from all over the world. In my last group there were people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Brazil,” she explains. “We want them to know they have free access to parks and they can take advantage of camping, hiking, and fishing, because back home they might not have been able to do those activities recreationally.”

“I love to connect with them and I love to learn about their cultures as well. It definitely goes both ways!”

Wendy plans to bring her passion for volunteering to the workplace by setting up a group opportunity for North Shore employees to give back in 2019.

More Information

Contact North Shore’s experienced group of specialists from our Biophysical Team to find out how we can support your next project.

From a young age, Jessie Berzins has always been an animal lover. She began riding horses at the age of 12 and it was her passion for animals that lead Jessie to pursue a degree in Biological Sciences with a focus primarily on zoology and genetics.

Jessie and her horse, Cadence.

Following graduation from the University of Calgary, she took a role with a gold mining facility in Manitoba, which was in need of an environmental program. It wasn’t the animal-focused job she was hoping for, but the role ended up helping Jessie grow her career in an entirely different direction.

“I was brought on as an Environmental Coordinator and I did a lot of water monitoring for the tailings ponds, as well as some air quality monitoring,” Jessie says. “It was a brand new department, so there was quite a bit of ground to cover,” she adds.

After about a year of working in the Northern Manitoba facility, Jessie moved on to a job in Calgary where she took a position as an Environmental Advisor for a power generation company. It was there she found her calling and enthusiasm for regulatory reporting.

Data Analysis

“I know it sounds weird, but I really like data,” she laughs. “I’m interested in historical trending and finding anomalies.”

“If there is an increase in the emissions tracked, I look to find out why and I’m particularity interested in the National Pollutant Release Inventory. I love working with it!”

The NPRI is an annual public report available to all Canadians that tracks more than 8,000 businesses and the quantity and type of emissions their facilities release.

Jessie’s interest in historical data and staying up-to-date with the latest regulatory requirements was exactly what North Shore was looking for when she joined the Air, Emissions & Regulatory Team in January 2018 as an Emissions Specialist.

“Jessie is a key member of our team and does a great job providing air and emission services to our clients,” says Cody Halleran, Senior Manager, Air Quality & Regulatory Compliance. “She brings significant experience to North Shore and also brightens up the office with her fun, positive attitude.”

Regulatory Changes

With the ever-changing realm of environmental reporting, many of our clients rely on the expertise of the Air, Emissions & Regulatory Team to help them navigate through the reporting process.  

New reporting requirements were introduced in January 2019 under the Air Monitoring Directive; specifically new form requirements and the new Annual Emissions Inventory Report.

“Some of our clients have been asking about the impacts these new changes will have on their organizations,” Jessie explains. “Our team has reviewed the changes and new processes, and we are ready to work with our clients and guide them through the new reporting requirements.”

The data Jessie complies and organizes is reported to the government both monthly and annually to ensure our clients are compliant and following regulatory processes.

“I really like the fact that we get to work with a variety of industries since North Shore’s client base is so diverse. There is so much to learn and I am always up for the challenge,” she says.

Jessie hiking with her dog, Brandy.

Jessie’s personal life has allowed her to incorporate her love for animals in her day-to-day activities. A few years ago she took her love for horses one step further and acquired an Equine Science Diploma.

In her spare time she enjoys hiking with her dog Brandy in the mountains and riding her horse, Cadence, a Dutch Warmblood.

More Information

North Shore’s Air, Emissions & Regulatory Team is ready to provide support and guidance on all aspects of regulatory reporting.