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Meet West Kelowna's Face of Environmental Consulting: Darryl Arsenault

For Darryl Arsenault, it is all about protecting the natural environment. “Our company’s goal is biodiversity restoration and ecosystem protection first,” says the owner and operator of Arsenault Environmental Consulting Ltd. “An inspiration for me was when I was in a waiting room before an interview for veterinary college in 1991 and I picked up a Fortune 500 magazine that said environmental consulting was the career of the future. I decided then and there that I could do better for the planet as an environmental consultant than looking after peoples’ pets.”

Thus, every project Arsenault is involved in looks for opportunities to protect and restore the natural environment. For instance, Arsenault was involved in the ‘daylighting’ of Fascieux Creek through KLO Middle School. The waterway was buried for decades until it got to see the light of day by being unearthed and allowed to flow as a natural creek, creating a nicer aesthetic for the school and a diverse habitat for wildlife. School children were pleased to see the protection and enhancement of Western Painted Turtle habitat in their school grounds.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia Group</who>

At the newly constructed H.S. Grenda Middle School in Lake Country, the former Aspen Grove golf course was turned into playing fields for two schools. Middle Vernon Creek, which runs through the property, was preserved with setbacks and enhanced flood plains as riparian habitat to reduce flood risk on school grounds and protect and enhance kokanee salmon spawning habitat. Turtle nesting areas were also preserved and enhanced. Trees that would have ordinarily been removed to a landfill to make way for the playing fields were repurposed to create wildlife habitat in a riparian zone that encompasses what was once the fourth fairway.

Darryl has an aquaculture and fisheries technician diploma from Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo and a Bachelor of Science in aquatic biology and Master of Science in fisheries ecology, both from the University of Saskatchewan.

His career started with a small biological consulting company (TAEM Ltd.) doing work in northern Saskatchewan. Baseline inventories for proposed mines
and large infrastructure projects provided ideal training in the diverse field of environmental consulting. He went on to work 19 years as an environmental
consultant with EBA and Golder, both in Kelowna.

Almost four years ago, Darryl struck out with his wife Della to create Arsenault Environmental Consulting Ltd. Their hope was to do more and more projects with clients that aligned with their company’s goals of habitat restoration and protection.

For instance, the firm is doing a lot of work with Mark Anthony Group, the owner of Mission Hill, Cedar Creek, Road 13, Martin’s Lane and CheckMate wineries, to make sure the wineries have as small an ecological footprint as possible. He has managed the restoration of two creeks and over 120 metres of shoreline at their Paradise Ranch property in North Naramata and helped to reduce erosion and enhance wildlife habitat at Cedar Creek and Martin’s Lane.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia Group</who>

Darryl also was the project manager for environmental assessment for the development of Cottonwood Cove RV Resort at the mouth of the Adams River, which preserved 10 acres of sockeye salmon spawning habitat and additional fish habitat by connecting a lagoon to Shuswap Lake. The project is a gem in the Shuswap and set precedents for environmental restoration and sensitive fish habitat protection. When Arsenault works with dock builders, they make sure fish spawning grounds and fish habitat is protected and that retaining walls can be replaced with large logs, natural gravels, and plants. He is certified as a Level 2 Green Shores Assessor.

Darryl’s wife, Della, is a partner in the business and does all the bookkeeping and account management. Their daughters, Brook and Rhees, help during the summers and retired schoolteacher Bill Miller and rare species biologist Ernest Leupin work part-time on environmental monitoring and environmental impact assessments.

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