Biodiversity consultancy

We work in that controversial grey area where large scale industrial projects (such as oil & gas and mining developments) overlap with wildlife conservation sensitivities.

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Louise Johnson is an independent biodiversity and environmental management specialist with over 25yrs experience in the Extractives sector (Pre-Feasibility, Exploration & Production Operations and Decommissioning). She specialises in the effective integration of biodiversity management needs into the application of the mitigation hierarchy by developers, concentrating on avoidance and mitigation of impacts on biodiversity, including offsets. She works with, and on behalf of, a variety of lending institutions, conservation NGOs, responsible businesses and government agencies, on a range of projects at global, national and site levels.

Core specialisms:

  • Implementation of the mitigation hierarchy related to biodiversity and natural resources, ecological management and monitoring/evaluation, biodiversity offsets, ecosystem services, reinstatement/regeneration, invasive species management, induced access mitigation.
  • Providing independent expertise in assessing due diligence and compliance of major oil&gas/mining projects with implementation of Lender Standards, such as IFC Performance Standards 1 & 6, through risk review, audit and monitoring.
  • Focusing on systematic attainment of best practice and implementation of the mitigation hierarchy at appropriate levels and project phases, especially with regard to avoidance and management of impacts on biodiversity related to oil & gas, mining and renewable energy development.
  • Advising, developing and managing projects wherever wildlife and humans interact, when biodiversity, development issues and sustainability can come into conflict.

Projects undertaken within the last few years include:

  • Independent Biodiversity Expert on behalf of Lenders to Guinea Alumina Corporation bauxite mining project (mine site, reservoir/dam, rail/road and port), performing Due Diligence review against Lender requirements (Guinea).
  • Independent Biodiversity Expert on behalf of Lenders to Anadarko Mozambique LNG E&P project (onshore/nearshore), performing Due Diligence against Lender requirements (Mozambique).
  • Independent Biodiversity Expert on large Exxon Mobil LNG E&P project (onshore production, onshore/offshore pipeline, onshore terminal), assessing construction & production phase compliance against Lender requirements, via field-audit and assessment of practice against operational environmental & social management plans (Papua New Guinea).

    Community dialogue session, Papua New Guinea

  • Review of Critical Habitat Assessment, Bujagali HEP refinancing (Uganda)
  • Development of HSE framework and fisheries program risk assessment (Myanmar)
  • Critique of offshore Rigs to Reef programs (NE Atlantic)
  • Independent Biodiversity Expert on behalf of Lenders to Newmont Ahafo South gold mining project (mine site reservoir/dam), assessing project compliance against Lender requirements, via field-audit & assessment of practice against operational environmental & social management plans (Ghana).
  • Project management of biodiversity studies related to the Pre-Feasibility and Feasibility stages of the Glencore-Xstrata Zanaga iron ore mining project, including management of: ecological baseline field-surveys; compilation of sensitivity analyses relating mine/rail/port impacts on biodiversity; initial assessment of impact mitigation hierarchy and biodiversity offset planning; establishing a pilot bushmeat study; and developing wildlife/habitat impact monitoring programmes (Republic of Congo).
  • Development of model Terms of Reference protocols to establish EIA and SEA best practice, focussing on direct/indirect impacts on biodiversity from major industrial developments (Gabon).
  • Co-Author of the BBOP Standard on biodiversity offsets, Chair of BBOP Assurance Working Group, development of assurance evaluation & verification protocols, trialling with BBOP pilot sites (Global).
  • Principal consultant leading an independent review & evaluation of various Ugandan oil development EIAs, to assess progress made in addressing biodiversity and wider environmental impacts (follow-up to my 2006 review); recommendations for additional improvement and capacity building (Uganda).

Mozambique fishing community near LNG site

  • Technical review of environmental and conservation impacts from soda ash production (Tanzania).
  • Development and provision of training courses and workshops on Uganda EIA practice and the oil & gas industry: for local & central government agency staff & EIA practitioners; multi-stakeholder workshop to scope the Oil SEA; and workshops to improve civil society engagement with the EIA process (Uganda).
  • Development and production of interactive DVD training tool to build capacity of wildlife conservation & environmental professionals in responsible oil/gas development (Africa & S. America).
  • Establishment of a long-term mechanism to evaluate and monitor how environmental impacts from oil/gas & mining developments are managed, and how civil society is engaged in the process. Established and evaluated the current baseline for future trend assessment (Norway, Uganda, Madagascar, East-African Marine Eco-region).
  • Implementation of US-AID funded Oil Impacts Management programme focussing on raising capacity of civil society and govt. agencies to minimise impacts on wildlife and communities; encouraging good practice and relationship-building between government, business & conservation NGOs; sensitivity atlas initiation; plus exploring initial biodiversity offset opportunities (Uganda).
  • Principle consultant undertaking independent review of initial EIAs & energy-related impacts; led site reconnaissance fieldtrips for key government agency & NGO staff; provision of EIA training to statutory authorities & NGO’s (biodiversity & environmental impacts, mitigation & monitoring) (Uganda).
  • Co-managed basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) research project on large-scale multi-year summer surveys, determining hotspots, distribution baseline and trends. Logistical management and coordination of volunteer-based research via effort-corrected transects and observation of species in-situ; identification of potential impacts to sharks and their habitat; navigation, charter planning, coordination of volunteer tasks and data management; photography, film and photo-identification.
  • Editorial review of Making Blue Energy Green, the IUCN Guidance document for the offshore renewable energy industry, managing offshore marine environmental risks (Global).
  • Supporting the ongoing development of The WiSe Scheme, the UK eco-tourism standard in training & accreditation mechanisms for minimising impacts from marine wildlife-watching; development of independent evaluation and assessment processes (UK).
  • Performed commissioned research into opportunities for developing partnerships for managing the environmental aspects of the commercial and leisure marine sector (UK).
  • SEA Steering Group member of both the UK and Irish ‘Offshore Energy Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)’ government groups, guiding the licensing of offshore blocks. Provided expert assessment and formal review of the Offshore SEAs and the government process (Ireland & UK).
  • OSPAR Offshore Industries Committee (OIC) representative – official observer rep. for marine environmental protection in the North East Atlantic. Focus on minimising impacts from climate change & ocean acidification, CCS, chemicals discharge, cuttings disposal & produced water (Atlantic/North Sea)
  • General: Authored works on energy environmental impacts analysis (oil/gas, offshore renewable, mining, geothermal, hydropower), climate change impacts and biodiversity offsets in the marine environment, CO2 capture and storage in geological reservoirs, oil & gas industry best-practice, and SEA.