Services // Natural Sciences


Hi, I’m Maddy Bolton, Practice Area Lead for Natural Sciences and Partner here at Trace Associates. At Trace, we tend to be a little more pragmatic and broader in our understanding, which helps get faster regulatory approvals. When we’re doing the work, we’re looking at the bigger picture and consulting the client to ensure everything is tying together.

Our Natural Sciences team includes a dynamic blend of registered professionals and specialists that adhere to the most up-to-date requirements and regulations. We work with you and your team to ensure your project keeps momentum by minimizing delays and keeping you safely in compliance.

Biophysical Impact

  • Inventory of soil and landscapes, vegetation communities, rare plants, wetlands, watercourses, historical resources, wildlife, and wildlife habitat
  • Address species at risk, migratory birds, and sensitive wildlife habitat
  • Wetland inventory and mapping and submission of applications to satisfy regulatory requirements including Water Act applications
  • Provide regulatory support and field level expertise throughout project development

Constraints Mapping:
Project Development

  • Constraints mapping tailored to client requirements and associated regulatory setting
  • Evaluate environmental constraints and alternatives to project location and construction
  • GIS support and initial project citing by desktop review – field verification completed only when required for verification
  • Facilitation of “live edit” processes with clients to resolve and address planning constraints with key project stakeholders


  • Mandatory bird nest searches as per the Migratory Bird Convention Act
  • Wildlife sweeps and surveys and long-term monitoring
  • Detailed mapping of nest locations
  • Assess nest activities and recommend mitigations

Soil and Terrain
Inventory and Mapping

  • Soil and terrain inventory for development, provision of soil material balances for tender purposes
  • Desktop spatial analysis and digital extrapolation processes reduce field level activity
  • Conduct pre-disturbance inventory to allow for development and design of project footprints, construction logistics, and reclamation plans
  • Soil salvage and storage recommendations and general soil handling BMP’s based on soil types and terrain
  • Provide field level construction or reclamation supervision as well as on the ground training to clients for soil identification – soil salvage purposes

Species at Risk

  • Collection and registration of rare species of trees (limber and whitebark pine), shrubs, and forbs
  • Desktop reviews to ensure compliance with the requirements of the project and applicable regulations
  • Assessing the habitat for permanent wildlife features can be conducted year-round, and targeted species-at-risk surveys can be conducted in a defined species-appropriate timing window
  • In-depth regulatory knowledge and expert field experience enables Trace to deliver data to clients and regulators without delay
  • Species at Risk Act advisory

Vegetation Inventories
and Rare Plant Surveys

  • Utilization of GIS (spatial analysis) for desktop mapping and interpretation to reduce field level efforts
  • Field assessments for rare plants and rare plant communities by professionals following provincial guidelines
  • Field level and spatial analysis expertise to provide recommendations on project citing to minimize environmental impacts and development costs
  • Offer mitigation and recommendations as per provincial requirements for rare plant disturbances, relocation or compensation
  • Consultation with regulatory bodies on relevant regulatory issues related to rare plant and ecosystem impacts

Watercourse Crossings

  • Pre-construction watercourse crossing assessments
  • Code of Practice assessments and submissions
  • Construction monitoring and reporting
  • Watercourse crossing inspections (fish passage, erosion assessment, etc.)
  • Assessments provided by Qualified Aquatic Environment Specialists (QAES)


  • Pre-purchase due diligence assessment of liability relating to presence of wetlands or historically damaged wetlands
  • Desktop review of historical background documents (spatial data and pertinent reports) related to the project area and review and interpretation of aerial photographs
  • Consultation with municipal authorities and review of regulations relevant to the site
  • Field confirmation, delineation, and classification of wetlands
  • Identification of proposed developments that may impact confirmed wetlands and determination of a net area of impact (unavoidable damage or destruction to wetlands)
  • Application to the wetland restoration agent for a request for wetland compensation proposal for impacted wetlands
  • Application to Provincial Regulators for Water Act approval

what our clients are saying

“We like Trace. We like Ron, we like Nick, and we like the relationships we’ve built on our projects with them. They have a suite of services that cover the ecological and environmental, and they have demonstrated that they understand what needs to be done, aren’t doing unnecessary work, and they make sure it gets done. Ron told me that the Trace motto is to 'consult better.' This motto is reflected in the service they provide.”

Clark | Qualico Communities

“I appreciate Trace’s candidness, honesty, and straightforwardness. The communication is strong, they are always professional, and they stay on point. They’re good at what they do and are always available when I need them.”

Confidential Client

“Trace provides a level of personal service that we don’t get from other companies. We get straightforward, open communication with Project Managers, including frequent touch-points. Trace always does what they say they are going to do.”

Neil Reid | Midstream Energy Client

“I choose Trace because of their expertise and clarity on what they will deliver, and my trust in them. We share similar values of honesty and communication. They’re very thoughtful in what they do and their expertise is very appreciated. Nothing they do or say leaves you scratching your head.”

Warn Franklin | works with Ron at Trace

“I value our relationship with Trace and can see it continuing into the future.  Having a third party come in to do environmental inspections is very helpful and gives added focus on areas that might otherwise be neglected due to the busy nature of the business. Trace's expertise in the Environmental Consultant field helps keep NorSask on a path of continuous improvement. We very much appreciate the proactive approach that Trace takes to meet our needs.”

Kelly | NorSask