Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) is a system gaining great popularity among many companies, the Kinder Morgan Canada Limited (KML)being one of them in its expansion project known as the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project (TMEP). This system is gaining popularity because it goes beyond the traditional ways of solving problems by considering the entire ecosystem rather than groups like a single species. Therefore, to make a decision on whether KML was successful or not in the incorporation of EBM, six key aspects were analyzed against the operations of the expansion project. KML successfully managed to incorporate four of the aspects and failed at two that dealt with the responsibility of the company towards promoting a safe environment. However, they legally failed in the incorporation of the two. Meaning, they had the legal rights of not adhering to them, which is definitely a brave action hence KML is termed as a company that has successfully incorporated the EBM system.

EBM as A Business Practice

EBM is an acronym for Ecosystem-Based Management System. According to Karen and Heather (2012), an “Ecosystem-Based Management is an integrated approach to management that considers the entire ecosystem, including humans” (p. 4). The two scholars further express that the objective of EBM is to ensure a healthy, resilient, and productive ecosystem so that there is the provision of services to human needs and wants. Further, several scholars have presented that EBM has started gaining popularity at the international level and that it is the main system used in the management of natural resources as well as the environment(Daniel, James, Robert, & Deepak, 2012; Rachel, Anthony, & Robert, 2015). In other words, EBM is a revolutionary system that goes beyond traditional practices and requires “the use of multiple disciplines and multiple objectives, dealing with technically unresolvable management problems of complex adaptive systems and expanding scope from management to governance”(Fikret, 2011). Therefore, to consider the success or failure of EBM business practice, six key aspects have to be considered. They include: the consolidation of ecological, economic, and social goals and identification of humans as the ecosystem’s key constituents;Contemplation of not only political but ecological boundaries; Accounting for the complications surrounding social systems and natural processes, and making use ofthe approach of adaptive management when uncertainties are predicted; Involving many stakeholders to ensure collaboration in defining problems and finding solutions; Assimilating the understanding of processes in the ecosystem and how these ecosystems respond to perturbations in the environment; Concerned with the integrity of the coastal-marine systems’ ecologyas well as the sustainability of ecological systems and humans. This essay discusses the practice of EBM in the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project (TMEP) of Kinder Morgan Canada Limited (KML). Particularly, it gives supported arguments of whether the EBM practice was a success or failure in the expansion project using the key aspects mentioned above.

Incorporation of EBM by KML

KML is a company that started a very huge and vital project in Canada and has successfully incorporated the EBM. It is a company in Canada, headquartered in Houston, Texas, United States, that deals with the operation of terminal facilities and pipeline systems. The terminal facilities include the many terminals found in Edmonton, Alberta and the Vancouver Wharves terminal found in British Columbia while the pipeline systems include the Cochin – Canadian Portion, Jet Fuel, Puget Sound, and the Trans Mountain pipeline systems(KML, 2017) as shown below.

Figure 1: KML Operations in Canada

KML anchors aroundoffering a stable and transportation based on a fee and well as storage of energy and just in line with EBM goals; it works on utilizing the assets available and conducts its operations in a way that is environmentally responsible and safe. The operation of concern, in this case, is the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project. This project was approved on November 29, 2016, by the Government of Canada and was reviewed for twenty-nine months by the National Energy Board (NEB). Recently, May 29, 2018, the KML board announced that the same government has purchased the TMEP with the goal of offering continuous services and national economic benefit since the project had been receiving threats of being derailed by the British Columbia(Government Of Canada, 2018). Being a major project in Canada, the ways in which EBM has been incorporated in the TMEP by KML is discussed below.

Consolidation of Ecological, Economic, and Social Goals and Identification of Humans as the Ecosystem’s Key Constituents

This section discusses how KML, with its TMEP operations, has ensured there is a peaceful coexistence of living things in their physical environment(Victor, Rute, & Turner, 2012). In other words, how living things, human beings included, have been considered as central to the TMEP operations. One way in which peaceful coexistence is considered key is the aspect creation of good jobs that are well-paying. This aspect is seen in the fact that the Government of Canada saved the TMEP by purchasing it so that the middle class could still maintain their jobs(Government Of Canada, 2018). These jobs help the middle-class people to grown and strengthen them as well. The other aspect is in the fact that the TMEP makes use of Canada’s resources and presents the results to the world efficiently and safely(Government Of Canada, 2018). Meaning, the Government of Canada found this projecta peaceful and beneficial operation of making use of resources hence the reason why the purchased it. Lastly, Canada is presented as a good place for business by its government as discussed in the agreement of selling the TMEP(Government Of Canada, 2018). A good business environment comes in because of a peaceful coexistence, which KML through TMEP seems to have integrated very well. Clearly, there is a successful integration of ecological and socioeconomic goals as well as recognition of human beings as the ecosystem’s key constituents.

Contemplation of Not Only Political but Ecological Boundaries

In as much as KML has considered the political boundaries, it has done this consideration with the ecological aspect in mind. By way of explanation, its projects operations ensure there are no distractions politically and still maintain the aspect of having good relations among living things in and outside Canada. This is clearly shown when the Government of Canada stepped in to save the TMEP from derailment by the British Columbia but still had a goal of ensuring international businesses(Government Of Canada, 2018). The Government of Canada did not want another political body to take over and disorient operations within its political boundary but still had the aim of working with other political territories, including the threating political territory. Therefore, it can be said that KML integrated EBM by not only considering political boundaries but also ecological boundaries.

Accounting for the Complications Surrounding Social Systems and Natural Processes, and Making Use of the Approach of Adaptive Management When Uncertainties are Predicted

KML owning the TMEP owns a very complex system in the natural and social environments with so many uncertainties but it managed to pull through using adaptive management. According to Christopher, Tyron, Brooke, Alan, & Steve(2016), adaptive management is the approach of making decisions when there is uncertainty with the aim of reducing it. Adaptive Management (AM) is also referred to as Adaptive Environmental Assessment and Management (AEAM) or Adaptive Resource Management (ARM). Generally, AM is all about making adjustments to ensure effectiveness is enhances as illustrated in the figure below.

Figure 2: Adaptive Management Cycle, adapted from CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research(Reef Resilience Network, 2018)

Handling on energy by KML included handling of natural resources while management of the whole TMEP involved so many people, institutions, and groups interacting in a social system. However, it reached a point where KML was facing challenges and became uncertain about the future hence ended up using adaptive management of signing an agreement with the government for support(Jeffrey, 2018). It was still not a guarantee that the involvement of the legal body would help reduce the risks but the fact remains that the approach for help with the aim of TMEP enhancement is a form of AM.

Involving Many Stakeholders to Ensure Collaboration in Defining Problems and Finding Solutions

According to Jeffrey(2018), KML involved several stakeholders so that they could work together to help solve the problem that TMEP was facing. KML was facing risks associated with the selling of pipeline systems and the expansion project. To help solve this problem, it managed to convince the government into purchasing the project. This engagement was some sort of collaboration in as much as the government was to be part of the project for a very short time. Additionally, the agreement stated that the government was to help any private sector that would come in the reduction of risks(Jeffrey, 2018). This is a plan for collaboration as well as it will involve different stakeholders working together to find a solution to the risk problem. Another aspect of collaboration is in the fact that even though the Government of Canada purchased the TMEP, KML still had a responsibility of managing the strategic infrastructure portfolio in Western Canada. Meaning, KML did not sell the project to do away with it but to create an environment of working together as different stakeholders. Lastly, KML was still tasked with looking for other stakeholders even after the purchase made by the Government of Canada(Government Of Canada, 2018). Meaning, there will be more stakeholders hence more collaboration. With that explanation, it is without a doubt that KML successfully integrated EBM through establishing the collaboration of stakeholders to explicate problems and find solutions.

Assimilating the Understanding of Processes in the Ecosystem and How These Ecosystems Respond to Perturbations inthe Environment

KML seem to neither incorporate the understanding of the ecosystem process nor the ecosystems’ response to environmental perturbations. Meaning, this could be one of the few aspects where KML has failed in practicing EBM. To begin with, little is explained on their website about the effects that the TMEP has on the ecosystem. The company has chosen to hide that understanding from the public. For instance, in the agreement report between KML and the government, risks are mentioned and collaboration is established to end the risks that only deal with the earnings that the company makes from the projects. Instead, there could have been other goals aiming at that respond to environmental perturbations such as spills(Tristin, 2018). KML should make people aware of the ecosystem process and its relation to the KML TMEP such that they would even contribute to the incorporation of the response strategies. Evidently, KML has failed in practicing EBM when it comes to this aspect of incorporating the understanding of the ecosystem and responding to perturbations in the environment.

Concerned with the Integrity of the Coastal-Marine Systems’ Ecology as well as the Sustainability of Ecological Systems and Humans.

This aspect is similar to the just discussed aspect, as KML has also failed in showing concern for ecological integrity of marine systems along the coast and sustainability for both ecological and human systems. This failure now beats logic why the British Columbia Government is against the TMEP. The TMEP is now aimed at transporting bitumen instead of crude oil, which is a threat to the environment(Tristin, 2018). Reason being, crude oils is a heavy substance, therefore, sinks once an oil spill occurs yet for crude oil it is always easy to skim the oil from the surface of the water. To make matters worse, it is not yet known on what the effect that bitumen can have on salt water. Moreover, an oil spill is pollution, as it is known to cause the death of living things in the coastal marine system. Tristin (2018), further adds that the fact that bitumen is heavy, the vessel seems to add make more noise pollution which causes the death of some sea animals such as orcas. Lastly, there is the aspect that KML cannot be liable for any marine spill as soon as a tanker leaves the port. This is devastating as big companies such as KML with big projects such as the TMEP cause most oil spills. Not holding any liability for oil spills shows no concern for ecological integrity. This definitely acts as a threat to the ecological system and human beings. It is unfortunate thatKML is not concerned with the integrity of the coastal-marine systems’ ecology yet it greatly contributes towards the pollution of coastal marine systems.





Ecosystem-Based Management is a system that is greatly gaining popularity as it goes beyond the traditional processes of dealing with complex situations. The Kinder Morgan Canada Limited is one of the companies that have tried to adopt EBM through its project called the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project. This means that for one to determine whether the incorporation EBM was successful or not, six key aspects have to be analyzed. From this study, KML successfully incorporated four of the aspects (the first four listed in the introduction) and failed in incorporating two (the last two listed in the introduction). In as much as the two aspects were not incorporated, KML was bright enough to ignore the incorporation legally. Ensuring they have no liability whatsoever for any damages caused. Consequently, KML can be said to have achieved a successful incorporation of the EBM system.


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