Kate Witte to Lead Hemmera’s Alberta Operations

Calgary, AB – October 26, 2018 – Hemmera is pleased to announce that Kate Witte, P.Geo. will be joining their Calgary team as Regional Vice President, leading all aspects of Hemmera’s Alberta operations.

Kate brings technical and leadership experience in environmental and engineering consulting. This valuable experience will now benefit Hemmera’s clients and our staff.

“Kate has more than 20 years of experience in contaminated sites assessment, remediation, and risk assessment – having her lead our team creates exciting opportunities as we continue to expand in the Alberta market,” says Greg Quandt, Senior Vice President, National Operations. “Her broad technical and portfolio management experience, as well as her background in a variety of leadership roles, management, and operations, will undoubtedly help us build our capacity and serve our growing clientele in Alberta and beyond.”

Kate has managed and delivered technical work for municipal government, upstream, midstream, and downstream hydrocarbon clients in Canada, for historic gasworks remediation companies in the UK, and for commercial and municipal brownfield development customers including landfill and transportation infrastructure projects.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Hemmera team,” says Kate. “Hemmera’s dedication to technical excellence and client service, and their commitment to staff, partners, and local communities is what I find most inspiring – I’m proud to be joining the Alberta family and am looking forward to growing the office and helping our customers find innovative and pragmatic environmental solutions.”

About Hemmera

Hemmera, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ausenco, is a leading Canadian environmental consultancy valued for our expertise and boutique approach. Our highly respected professionals have created opportunities for sustainable growth and balanced development for our clients. With a reputation for integrity and technical excellence, Hemmera offers progressive environmental services in Site Assessment and Remediation, Environmental Planning and Ecology, and Community Engagement and Social Sciences.

Visit www.hemmera.com.


For more information contact:

Rhoni Whyard
Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Hemmera, an Ausenco Company
T: 604-408-4019
C: 604-865-1612

eDNA Success Story: Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog

Advancing our Understanding of Elusive At-risk Species

At the edge of a cold, fast-flowing mountain stream in the Rocky Mountain foothills of southeastern BC’s Kootenay region, a tiny tan-coloured frog hides under a rock. Locating the Rocky Mountain tailed frog and learning more about its distribution in BC have been difficult and costly – that is, until recently. In 2014 a Hemmera team of researchers employed environmental DNA (eDNA), a new species inventory technique, to learn more about this reclusive species. What they learned in one short five-day field trip has advanced the scientific community’s understanding of the Rocky Mountain tailed frog and its distribution – all at a fraction of the cost of conventional survey techniques.

Determining the distribution of species in aquatic water bodies has traditionally been expensive and time-consuming. Conventional survey techniques can also be harmful to the species and surrounding environment, require special permits, and do not often yield accurate results, particularly if the species is difficult to detect. In the case of the Rocky Mountain tailed frog, researchers face additional limitations since the species is not vocal and is difficult to locate due to its small size, muted colouring, and preference for hiding, fully submerged, under rocks in the substrate of the stream. “Even the best researchers are bound to miss individuals using conventional survey methods,” explains Jared Hobbs, a senior biologist at Hemmera with more than two decades of field and study design experience. Researchers also risk harming or killing tailed frogs and their tadpoles during physical surveys.

Alternatively, eDNA survey techniques are faster, less obtrusive, less costly, and more accurate at inferring species presence or absence in an aquatic environment. A typical eDNA survey involves simply collecting a water sample; animals that spend at least part of their lives in that aquatic environment shed DNA through feces, exfoliation, mucus, and urine, which then becomes suspended in the waterbody. “We were able to identify an expanded range for this species into two other areas in the east Kootenay region, explains Hobbs. “We didn’t know these frogs existed in these areas until we conducted the eDNA water sampling. This result defines a significant range expansion for this species.”

Exciting results are also being realized on more than 20 other eDNA projects that Hemmera is conducting for a variety of public and private-sector clients, from arctic grayling, chinook salmon, and western toad studies in the Yukon to frog, salamander, toad, and Pacific water shrew studies in BC. eDNA sampling is non-invasive to the target species, reduces the risk of pathogen transfer between sites, is highly accurate for detection of species in both freshwater and still-water habitats, is effective for detecting pathogens, and is often a more accurate and cost-effective survey technique for species that are difficult to detect using traditional methods. Hemmera’s initial eDNA studies on the Rocky Mountain tailed frog was one of the first commercial applications of this method in Western Canada.

To learn more about Hemmera’s eDNA projects, contact Jared Hobbs at jhobbs@hemmera.com.

A Spotlight on Hemmera’s Human Environment Team

Hemmera’s Human Environment team has earned a reputation as an industry leader providing exceptional First Nation consultation and negotiation, public and umen, and socio-economic services and expertise to municipal, regional, provincial, territorial, and national governments, as well as major corporations and independent project proponents.

Our primary strength is the inter-disciplinary capacity that we bring to a project as one of the only teams in Canada to deliver Human Environment expertise within a broader company of environmental scientists and technical specialists. Our unique approach incorporates a wide range of Human Environment offerings that complement our environmental site assessment and remediation teams.

Highlighted Projects

Sustainability for 7 Generations: A Toolkit for Evaluating Net Benefits in KFN Traditional Territory, Kluane First Nation



Hemmera and Kluane First Nation (KFN) worked together through a community-based approach to document KFN’s current sustainability-related values and develop a Sustainability Toolkit to help evaluate and monitor the net benefits of proposed natural resource management projects on KFN’s Traditional Territory. The project’s community-based approach was critical to its success, and included conducting community meetings, one-on-one interviews and meetings with Elders, youth, and Chief and Council. Information shared by KFN citizens was used to develop the local-level Criteria and Indicator framework, as well as a set of tools that can be used to measure and monitor KFN’s progress in achieving sustainable natural resource development on its Traditional Territory.

Casino Mining Corporation, West-central Yukon



Hemmera has recently assisted Casino Mining Corporation (CMC) with an intensive consultation program with the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation (LSCFN). In this role, Hemmera led community consultation related to all aspects of the proposed project. Key responsibilities included the development and design of consultation materials, coordination and facilitation of community meetings, and gathering of community information related to interests and concerns on the proposed project. Hemmera served as a liaison between CMC and LSCFN to ensure effective communication and transparency in the consultation process. This included all logistical aspects of the community work, preparing meeting summaries and an overall summary of the consultation process for submission to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB). Furthermore, Hemmera worked closely with Casino’s legal team to satisfy the requirements of the consultation agreement between both parties.

In addition to the consultation and engagement services noted above, Hemmera has also undertaken socio-economic and traditional use services, provided negotiation advice, and has served as an advisor to CMC in their navigation of the YESAA process.

LNG Canada (Shell), Kitimat, BC



Hemmera provided advice and support to Shell with respect to their Public and First Nations consultation program for the LNG Canada Project, located in Kitimat, BC. The LNG Canada Project received its Environmental Assessment Certificate in 2015. Leading up to this milestone, Hemmera provided a range of services including leading and supporting regulatory consultation activities with First Nations and the public, and providing strategic advice and regulatory guidance to the project team. In coordination with Shell and the broader environmental assessment team, our staff helped build relationships within local communities, and supported discussions regarding the project as well as its potential effects and opportunities for local communities.

TransCanada Pipelines – Coastal Gaslink and Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Projects



These two projects, both of which have received their Environmental Assessment approvals, are proposed to transport and deliver gas to LNG proponents in the Kitimat and Prince Rupert areas. Hemmera staff have supported TransCanada in a variety of ways, primarily in relation to their ongoing work associated with engaging the many First Nations in the planning and approval processes associated with each of the projects. For both projects, George Meadows was retained in the capacity of Chief Negotiator to represent TransCanada in project-based negotiations with a number of First Nation communities along each of the proposed pipeline corridors. Several additional Hemmera staff played a variety of engagement and consultation related roles for TransCanada in support of their efforts to engage and establish support for the respective projects.

Our Team

George Meadows, Vice President of Hemmera’s Human Environment team, is a recognized leader in the field of Aboriginal relations and negotiation. He acted as Chief Negotiator for TransCanada Pipeline’s Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Line project as well as the Coastal GasLink Pipeline project. George is backed by Vancouver-based Business Leader Chris Heard, as well as an impressive team of experienced engagement, consultation, and socio-economic specialists working out of our Vancouver, Victoria, and Whitehorse offices.

Canadian Mining and Energy: Exploring eDNA

BC Innovation Council awards Dr. Helbing of University of Victoria and industry partners Maxxam Analytics and Hemmera funding to explore environmental monitoring through eDNA.