Vegetation, Forestry and Soils Surveys: Gwich'in Settlement Area
Principal Investigator: Bush, Dana (3)
Licence Number: 13255
Organization: Kavik-AXYS Environmental Consulting Ltd.
Licenced Year(s): 2001
Issued: Aug 03, 2001
Project Team: Dave Reid

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 baseline vegetation, forestry and soil studies. The current (1975 vintage) vegetation reports and maps describe vegetation communities in parts of the Mackenzie Valley. Detailed vegetation inventory maps are not available for the tentative pipeline corridor, hence vegetation is characterized based on the relationships to landform, drainage and soil. Detailed information on tree, shrub and groundcover species is needed to confirm vegetation communities, prepare vegetation community maps, provide forestry information, collect revegetation information, develop wildlife habitat models, map plants used for food or traditional medicines, and plan future potential rare plant surveys.

Project Description: The BC Terrestrial Ecosystem Mapping inventory standard will be used to provide a uniform method of describing vegetation, soil and terrain based on air photo interpretation and field data collection. The sites will be contained within a 1 km corridor with 'bulges' in areas of special concern such as river crossings. Surveying sites accessed by helicopter, boat, vehicle and/or on foot. To avoid conflicting with traditional land use activities, a local person wil be employed as a liaison with the Renewable Resource Councils and local residents. Sampling equipment will be restricted to hand-held items such as shovels, tree corers, clinometers, measuring tapes, GPS units, cameras and collecting bags. Limited sampling of vegetation will be done in order to facilitate the identification of difficult species and to document rare plants. A team of 2 crews, comprising of 4 people per crew, will be working in the field for 14 days. Access will be mainly by helicopter, but boat and vehicle access may be used in some areas. Sample sites will be located in typical vegetation communities. Local, qualified assistants may be hired as assistant botanists.