2002 Terrestrial Studies in the Sahtu Settlement Area
Principal Investigator: Povey, Andrew (93)
Licence Number: 13281
Organization: TERA Environmental Consultants
Licenced Year(s): 2005 2004 2003 2002
Issued: Mar 22, 2002
Project Team: Tim Van Egmond, Dana Bush, Dave Reid

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. The proposed research program involves terrestrial studies in the Sahtu Settlement Area to be conducted during 2002. These studies will include vegetation and soils investigations as well as the collection of traditional knowledge regarding terrestrial resources (vegetation and wildlife). Investigations to classify the vegetation along the study corridor in the Sahtu Settlement Area begun in 2001 will be continued. In 2002, work initiated on Crown lands will be completed on Sahtu private lands. In addition, in the event that a pipeline route is surveyed and staked, rare plant surveys will also be conducted in the Sahtu region. Detailed information on tree, shrub and groundcover species, which is needed to confirm vegetation communities, prepare vegetation community maps, provide forestry information, collect revegetation information and develop wildlife habitat models, will be developed. Soil classification and profiling, which will follow the Canadian System of Soil Classification, will be completed.

Project Description: The vegetation component of the 2002 baseline studies will focus on completion of the vegetation typing surveys. Initially, a reconnaissance flight will be required over Sahtu Private Lands along the study corridor. This flight will be used to identify sites for detailed sampling. Sites will be selected to represent the major ecological land units. Where possible, sample sites will be grouped to reduce helicopter time. Following the Reconnaissance survey, a detailed vegetation study will be conducted. 18 detailed ground inspections and 72 basic ground inspections are required to complete the classification for the region. Data collected will include tree height, age (for determination of old growth forest), percent cover and diameter (where trees are present), shrub height and percent cover, herb percent cover, as well as a list of all the plant species present in the site. Soil and terrain characteristics will also be described, according to the Canadian System of Soil Classification. Sampling equipment will include hand-held items such as: shovels, tree corers, clinometers, measuring tapes, GPS units, cameras and collecting bags . In the event that a potential pipeline route is surveyed and staked in 2001, rare plant surveys will be conducted along its length. Each study team will consist of senior personnel familiar with the flora of the survey regions, as well as a local assistant hired as part of the vegetation survey team to assist in observing and recording data taken at survey sites, informing the study team of sensitive or important areas and, if necessary, searching for and recording occurrences of rare plants as well as helping to identify plants of cultural or traditional importance. Traditional knowledge studies will be incorporated throughout the terrestrial studies being conducted. 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.