Reconnaissance Surveys to Select Sample Sites for Detailed Biophysical Surveys in the Gwich'in Settlement Area
Principal Investigator: Green, Jeff (3)
Licence Number: 13256
Organization: Kavik-AXYS Environmental Consulting Ltd.
Licenced Year(s): 2001
Issued: Aug 03, 2001
Project Team: three additional Kavik - AXYS personnel and one Inuvialuit HTC representative

Objective(s): Imperial Oil Resources, Gulf Canada Resources Ltd, Shell Canada Ltd, and ExxonMobil Canada are planning a number of Biophysical Baseline Studies during 2001-2002 as part of a feasibility study for the Mackenzie Delta Gas Opportunity. Local knowledge & technical/scientific research, with 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, in association with Kavik-AXYS Environmental Consulting Ltd., AMEC Earth and Environment Ltd., and Golder Associates Ltd., has been retained to conduct the reconnaissance survey for all additional baseline environmental studies. The purpose of the reconnaissance surveys is to: (1) aid the selection of sample sites for detailed surveys, considering areas of interest for both local communities and the research leads for each detailed survey, as well as avoidance of sensitive sites; (2) allow discipline leads to identify specific areas of interest and to familiarize themselves with the areas which may be affected by development activities; (3) provide opportunity for RRC or community member to work with the researcher to identify areas of interest and provide advice on areas to be avoided during sampling; (4) facilitate discussions with RRC representatives.

Project Description: The research team will conduct water and aquatic, terrestrial and social reconnaissance surveys of the proposed development area. Helicopters will be used, to allow aerial examination of specific sites and, if required, to land for ground inspections. Helicopters will fly at elevations greater than 100 m above ground level (AGL), although at some sites, it may be necessary to fly at lower altitudes (50-75 m AGL) or conduct visual inspections by hovering at elevations of 35-50 m AGL. The reconnaissance survey for water and aquatic systems will be used to: (1) confirm locations of watercourses crossed by the pipeline corridor; (2) identify streams or lakes that are unmarked on existing maps; (3) identify delta lakes and watercourses that could be affected by production areas and gathering pipeline systems; and (4) determine sampling sites for detailed groundwater, surface water flows, surface water quality, and fish and fish habitat surveys. The reconnaissance survey for terrestrial ecosystems will be used to: (1) ground truth existing soil and vegetation maps; (2) determine sample sites for future sampling of soils, vegetation and wildlife; and (3) work with RRC representatives to identify areas of concern for vegetation and wildlife. The reconnaissance survey for land uses will be used to: (1) identify potentially important archaeological, cultural and traditional use sites; (2) work with RRC representatives to identify important cultural sites and traditional use areas; and (3) visually inspect and confirm current land use. Landings will only occur at sites where clearings or low vegetation would permit safe landing of a helicopter.