QAES (Qualified Aquatic Environmental Specialist)

A QAES may include a private individual, consultant or employee of a company that owns, plans, or constructs pipeline crossings. A QAES is a person who possesses a post-secondary degree in biological sciences, a technical diploma in biological sciences, or educational equivalencies; they must be a biologist. In addition to their educational background, a QAES must have knowledge of aquatic environments, experience in fisheries and aquatic environment assessment methods, and experience determining mitigation measures required to maintain aquatic habitats. A QAES is employed when a crossing results in a disruption or alteration of the bed or banks of a fish bearing water body and/or when fish passage requirements must be incorporated into the watercourse crossing design.

QAES’s are defined under the Guide to the Code of Practice for Pipelines and Telecommunication Lines Crossing A Water Body


A QAES should be able to defend & rationalize any specifications and recommendations made. Information regarding the experience and qualification of a qualified aquatic environment specialist can be requested of them. However there is no regulatory body, testing, or official designation for becoming a QAES; this designation is determined solely by an individual’s experience and education.

The specifications and recommendations prepared by the QAES may include mitigation and compensation measures related to the harmful alteration, disruption and destruction of fish habitat (HADD). Watercourses are defined by QAES’s dealing with Water Act COP issues. QAES assessment should include: Schedule 4 of the Code of Practice (COP) for Pipelines (pg 26), Schedule 2 of COP for Watercourse Crossings (pg 24), or Schedule 4 of COP for Outfall Structures (pg 30), depending on the crossing assessed.

A QAES is not the person you need for a wetland assessment unless your wetland is fish bearing. For a wetland assessment you would require a Qualified Wetland Science Practitioner (QWSP).

Aquality offers QAES services, more more information click here