2001 Fish and Fish Habitat and Water Quality Surveys: Gwich'in Settlement Area
Principal Investigator: Metikosh, Serge (3)
Licence Number: 13247
Organization: Golder Associates Ltd.
Licenced Year(s): 2001
Issued: Aug 08, 2001
Project Team: Dr. Gary Ash, RRC representative

Objective(s): Imperial Oil Resources, Gulf Canada Resources Limited, Shell Canada Limited, and ExxonMobil Canada are planning to initiate a number of Biophysical Baseline Studies during 2001-2002 as part of a feasibility study for the Mackenzie Delta Gas Opportunity. Local knowledge and technical/scientific research, in combination with a synthesis of existing technical information, will be used to develop a suitable knowledge base for planning, assessment of impacts and development of environmental protection plans. TERA Environmental Consultants (TERA), in association with Kavik-AXYS Environmental Consulting Ltd., AMEC Earth and Environment Ltd., and Golder Associates Ltd., has been retained to conduct the baseline fish and fish habitat and water quality studies. At present, only limited information concerning fish habitat in the region is available. Site-specific information on fish habitat in waterbodies which could potentially be affected by the project will be developed to: (1) better understand the existing status of fish and fish habitat in the study area; (2) predict environmental effects; and (3) support the preparation of environmental protection plans. In general, the proposed fish and fish habitat and water quality baseline studies will include consultation with community residents (e.g., RRCs), the Gwich'in Land Administration, the Gwich'in Renewable Resource Board, other government agencies (e.g., GNWT Wildlife and Fisheries Division, CWS), and independent researchers.

Project Description: The research team proposes to collect information about fish habitat features and use on 111 watercourse crossings along the tentative pipeline corridor in the Gwich'in Settlement Area. The amount of work to be completed at each watercourse crossing will be determined during the reconnaissance level survey and will largely be driven by their size and flow characteristics. Smaller watercourses (that are intermittent or ephemeral) will be photographed from the air, and their channel width and depth recorded. At larger, permanently flowing watercourses, habitat measurements that will be made will include: (1) bathymetric features (depth, width, water surface elevation,etc.); (2) hydrologic features (presence of inflow or out flow, velocity, stage, discharge, etc.); (3) water quality (temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity/TSS, etc.); (4) composition of channel-bed material (% silt, sand, gravel, cobble, boulder, etc.); and (5) shoreline features (height, slope, vegetative cover, % under cut etc.). Although the baseline studies will focus on the collection of fish habitat data, some sampling of fish will be required. Fish sampling will be done primarily to confirm historic information, confirm fish presence/absence and to confirm habitat use. Non-lethal fishing methods such as electrofishing, seining, or setting baited minnow traps will be used. All fish captured will be identified to species and life stage, measured to fork length and released at the location where they were captured.