2002 Aquatic Studies: Sahtu Settlement Area
Principal Investigator: Povey, Andrew (93)
Licence Number: 13278
Organization: TERA Environmental Consultants
Licenced Year(s): 2005 2004 2003 2002
Issued: Mar 22, 2002
Project Team: Serge Metikosh, Gary Ash, Deborah Chan-Yan, Tania Baxter, Orest Tokarsky

Objective(s): Imperial Oil Resources, CONOCO Canada Resources Limited, Shell Canada Limited, and ExxonMobil Canada initiated a number of Baseline Studies during 2001 as part of a feasibility study for the Mackenzie Delta Gas Opportunity. These studies are being continued in 2002. Local knowledge and technical/scientific research, in combination with a synthesis of existing technical information, is being 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 & Environmental Ltd., and Golder Associates Ltd., has been retained to conduct the baseline studies. This portion of the project is the aquatic studies in the Sahtu Settlement Area, and includes fish and fish habitat, hydrology, water quality and hydro-geology studies. Traditional knowledge as it relates to aquatic systems will also be collected. This will help complete the overall record of fish species and habitat within the study area, as well as identifying long term trends in fish population, water levels and changing stream channels.

Project Description: The research team proposes to collect information about fish habitat features and use on watercourse crossings located within the tentative pipeline corridor in the Sahtu Settlement Area. Surveys of fish and fish habitat will be made at 62 permanently flowing watercourses, as well as 15 intermittent streams. These studies will include hydrology and water quality work as well. All of the aquatic studies will be conducted by three or four-person crews. Each crew will include a local researcher or Renewable Resource Council (RRC) representative. Depending upon accessibility, sites will be accessed by helicopter and an inflatable boat. Where conditions permit, sites will be accessed by 4 x 4 truck, snowmobile or quad. 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. More details on the proposed studies are available upon request. Traditional knowledge will be identified, gathered, and validated through participative, community driven research methods. Participative processes will be employed to ensure that stakeholders who hold valuable information are consulted. Study methods may involve community workshops, individual and group interviews, and site visits to significant biophysical or cultural locations. Participation in the study is voluntary, and all participants will sign a consent form before being interviewed.