Aquatic Assessment

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: environmental impact, biology, fish, habitat, aquatic resources, seismic activities, mitigation

Principal Investigator: Monita, Darwin (1)
Licence Number: 13252
Organization: Inuvialuit Environmental & Geotechnical Inc.
Licenced Year(s): 2001
Issued: Sep 06, 2001
Project Team: Cynthia Pyc, one fisheries technician, one wildlife monitor

Objective(s): Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has requested that Operators within the Mackenzie Delta provide details on their proposed seismic programs that will allow adequate assessment of potential impacts on aquatic resources. Chevron Canada Resources will be conducting the proposed 2001/2002 seismic programs on behalf of the Mackenzie Delta Joint Project Team, whicht includes BP Canada Energy Company, Chevron Canada Resources and Burlington Resources Canada Energy Ltd. The current strategy for mitigation of potential aquatic impacts during these 2001/2002 seismic operations involves the use of a known technology with proven capabilities to achieve depth requirements, monitoring of overpressure during seismic activities, and a focussed aquatic assessment. The proposed research will involve the completion of baseline studies on a subsample of waterbodies within proposed seismic operation areas, to determine the potential effects of these proposed programs on fish and fish habitat characteristics.

Project Description: The aquatic assessment is scheduled for September and October, 2001, and will focus on three lakes in the Chevron Canada Resources 2001/2002 seismic program areas in the Ellice 3-D, Mallik 3-D and Ogruknang 3-D blocks. All lakes examined will exceed 400m in width. No field camps will be used, all garbage will be packed out, and all human waste buried. The field crew will include a senior fisheries biologist, a fisheries technician and an Inuvialuit Wildlife Monitor. The lakes will be accessed either by inflatable boat, float plane or helicopter. A variety of chemical and physical parameters will be examined in the completion of the proposed study. Chemical parameters will include the following: dissolved oxygen, carbon dioxide, pH, conductivity, total suspended solids and nitrogen levels. The physical characteristics of the lakes, including steam flow and lake bathymetry (determined through the use of a multibeam ecosounder), will be determined and digital image recordings made at each lake. Fianlly, while the capability of the lakes to support fish will be evaluated, because the low conductivity of the lake waters preclude the application of electrofishing techniques (which increases the potential for fish mortalities during the collection program), no fishing program will be carried out.