Environmental Assessment for Exploratory Drilling Project
Principal Investigator: Melton, Derek (7)
Licence Number: 13013
Organization: Golder Associates
Licenced Year(s): 1998
Issued: Nov 27, 1998
Project Team: Carol Stefan, Matt Kennedy, Hilary Machtans, Mark Ealey and community assistants from Fort Liard and Nahnni Butte

Objective(s): Golder Associates has been contracted on behalf of Suncor Energy to conduct preliminary baseline studies at Suncor's proposed well sites. The objective of this study is to determine the presence or absence of fish habitat and wildlife in the vicinity of the proposed project. A literature search for registered archaeological sites within the proposed project area has been initiated. The information form these surveys will be part of an environmental assessment for the planned drilling project. Currently there is little information on fish and wildlife in the immediate vicinity of the project area. Main vegetation types as determined from air photo interpretation will be ground truthed. All data would be compiled and interpreted in an Environmental Assessment summary document which would highlight all key environmental issues, including fisheries and wildlife, that are related to the project. The objective of the wildlife work is to record wildlife, habitat and wildlife sign in the study area. The proposed aquatics work consists of two components: fish habitat and water quality. A fish habitat assessment will be completed on the relevant water bodies in the project area. The objective of the water survey is to document baseline water quality from waterbodies near the proposed well sites.

Project Description: The objective of the study is to determine the presence or absence of fish habitat and wildlife in the vicinity of the proposed project. A literature search for registered archaeological sites within the project area has been started. A helicopter will be used to access the four well sites and the proposed access routes. The development area will be surveyed by foot. All wildlife observations (mammals and birds) will be recorded and their GPS location noted if necessary. The emphasis of the survey will be on raptors and their nests, moose and other ungulates, black and grizzly bears, wolves and other carnivores and their dens. Wildlife information will be done by observational methods by the study team wildlife biologists. Animals will not be captured. A literature review will be done to find any existing information on fish populations in the region. A survey of the physical, chemical and biological features of the relevant water bodies will be done. Aquatics field work will be done using a small boat or by foot; sites will be accessed by helicopter. A fish habitat assessment will be done on the relevant water bodies in the area. Little is now known about the water bodies in the area. Where a winter road is proposed to cross streams greater than 5m in width, fish habitat will be assessed at that crossing. Water samples will be collected form each relevant water body. Surface water samples will be collected from creeks or streams. Samples would be gathered from mid-depth in lakes. The water would be analyzed for metal content, nutrients, alkalinity, hardness and major ions. Standard limnological parameters would also be collected from each water body. A directed traditional environmental knowledge study (TEK) is being discussed with Band representatives from Nahanni Butte and Fort Liard. A meeting is to be held to confirm scope and intent of this work. This TEK would build on information gathered by a TEK study conducted in July, 1998 in both communities.