Environment

Protecting our environment is one of Nanaimo Airport Commission’s key corporate values, and a pillar of our sustainability. Our environmental responsibilities are major factors in all of our business decisions.

We are proud to have designed and implemented unparalleled programs and policies to protect the airport ecosystem. Our programs are in addition to our compliance with all federal environmental laws and regulations.

Our eco-friendly practices include everything from conserving habitat, to recycling materials, to reducing water usage. By devoting resources and training our staff, we have created an environmentally-aware culture.

Here are some of the ways in which we help to preserve our environment:

Follow a pro-active Environmental Management Plan

Using a “Plan, Do, Check, and Act” model, our Environmental Management Plan (EMP) sets priorities and direction for improving our environmental performance.

It covers all of our water and land resources, natural habitat, aeronautical noise, energy and climate change, and waste management. The plan controls and documents airport activities through an integrated environmental management system. This ensures that we are pro-actively protecting the environment.

Guided by our EMP, we monitor and correct risks before they result in unsafe conditions, accidents or harm to the environment.

Monitoring and protecting water resources

We conduct ongoing sampling from eight monitoring locations as part of our duty to protect the Cassidy Aquifer, which lies under the airport. The data helps us detect potential changes in water quality, and to address them quickly.

We also regularly review our wastewater drainfield. It continues to operate without causing undue environmental impact.

To further protect surface and groundwater resources, we have management strategies for preventing leaks and spills of harmful substances, and for controlling airport drainage and water consumption.

Enhancing fish habitat

For 10 years we have been part of a very successful environmental partnership with community organizations to enhance fish habitat in the lower reaches of Haslam Creek. The work helps ensure the sustainability of coho, pink, and chum salmon and cutthroat and rainbow trout that live in the 25-km creek, which is a major tributary to the Nanaimo River.

We support, monitor and maintain the restoration project through careful stewardship of the land. Our involvement is part of our work to balance the maintenance of a safe airfield with the management of the land as a habitat for species that can safely coexist with aircraft.

Conserving avian habitat

We have actively assisted the conservation of the habitat and population of the Coastal Vesper Sparrows, ever since the birds were first spotted years ago on the airport site.

Our partners in this mission over the years include Canadian Wildlife Services (CWS), the Vertebrates-at-Risk Recovery Action Group of the Garry Oak Ecosystem Recovery Team, and other local interest groups.

Our staff helped CWS develop a conservation and enhancement guide that plans and manages protection activities for the sparrows, a species that intersects with airport operations and aviation safety. We provide the aviation expertise needed to facilitate species monitoring.

Carefully managing vegetation

To sustain a safe and reliable airport it is necessary to manage vegetation height. Successful vegetation management uses a systematic approach to ensure there are no intrusions in the OLS.    In most cases this will require the topping of the tree on an ongoing rotation. The program protects our flight path to enhance safety, and sets strict guidelines to ensure the sustainability of our environment.

Keeping our shorelines clean

A team of Nanaimo Airport volunteers annually makes a difference in our communities by participating in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. Doing their part in the national program to eliminate shoreline trash, our team scours the upstream area of Haslam Creek.

Their work prevents trash from entering the waterway and the fragile aquatic ecosystems.