Environmental Baseline Study for the Thor Lake Beryllium Project
Principal Investigator: Digel, Mark (3)
Licence Number: 12958
Organization: Golder Associates Ltd.
Licenced Year(s): 1998 1997
Issued: Apr 17, 1998
Project Team: Matt Kennedy, Hilary Machtans

Objective(s): The objective of the proposed baseline program at the two sites is to establish baseline environmental conditions pertaining to water quality and aquatic resources. The information gathered during this sampling period will be used to 1) assess environmental changes that may occur due to mining operations and 2) to establish the backgound environmental condition for comparison to monitoring data to be collected in the future. Knowledge of environmental conditions will allow possible environmental effects from the project to be monitored during the lifetime of the project and after closure.

Project Description: Water quality field work involves drilling with an ice auger on four small lakes in the Den Lake watershed to determine if water is present below the ice, and if so, the depth of the water. The concentration of dissolved oxygen will be measured to determine the lake's potential to support overwintering fish. The results of this late winter survey will be used to identify the need for further fisheries investigations during the open water season. Similar water quality investigations will be conducted in the Hay River upstream of the town of Hay River. Fisheries investigations, including habitat identification and possibly gill netting, will be conducted in the lakes. In lakes with fish, will collect 10 fish (up to two species) to establish baseline fish health, including tissue metal burdens. Fisheries investigations will be undertaken in the vicinity of the proposed process water discharge in the Hay River. Water & sediment quality samples at Thor Lake site collected & analyzed from each of 7 lakes. Water and sediment quality will also be monitored in the vicinity of the proposed process water discharge at the Hay River site, either in the Hay River or in Great Slave Lake. Wildlife studies involve observation of species and habitat. Soil & vegetation will be sampled and mapping will be conducted. Transportation will be by helicopter or light plane. At site, 4-wheel drive quad used along existing haul road and by boat on lakes. A traditional knowledge component will be incorporated into this study in cooperation with the Lutsel K'e Dene Band and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. This will include consultation with the Elders, local hunters and trappers and the youth. Local people will be hired and trained when possible in various aspects of this research project.