2005 Terrestrial Studies in the Gwich’in Settlement Area
Principal Investigator: Povey, Andrew (93)
Licence Number: 13847
Organization: Mackenzie Project Environment Group
Licenced Year(s): 2005 2004 2003 2002
Issued: Jun 10, 2005
Project Team: Dave Reid (AMEC Americas Ltd., Earth & Environmental Division), Paul Cavanagh (AMEC Americas Limited, Earth & Environmental Divis)

Project Description: The 2005 terrestrial studies include vegetation mapping, rare plant surveys, rare plant mitigation planning, timber cruising, and landform, soil and permafrost investigations. All of the studies will be conducted by three- or four-person crews supported by helicopter. A local assistant will be included as part of each terrestrial survey team to assist in observing and recording data taken at survey sites and informing the study team of sensitive or important areas.

Mapping of vegetation will occur at potential infrastructure sites, roads, borrow -pits, the anchor fields, and at select locations along the pipeline where further information is still required. Surveys will consist of visual observations from a helicopter to confirm vegetation types for mapping. Sampling equipment will include hand-held items such as GPS units and cameras. Rare plant surveys will also be conducted at these locations and in areas identified as having higher potential to support rare plant species during previous studies. Rare plant specialists will survey each site. The vegetation community will be described, rare plant species searched for, and all species encountered will be recorded. Local assistants may be requested to help identify plants of cultural or traditional importance. Where plants cannot be identified, a sample of the plant will be collected, if the population is sufficiently large enough to allow sampling. Where rare plant species have been observed a thorough search of the area will be undertaken to determine the extent and characteristics of the population. A field timber cruise will be undertaken to determine average timber volumes for each mapped vegetation type that supports trees. Tree height and density will be measured for each type of tree at each site. Soil samples may be collected at select sites within the proposed study areas. At each site, a soil pit will be excavated with a spade/auger to a depth of about 0.5 m, or to the top of permafrost. At some locations, soil samples will be collected for analysis at a lab. At select locations hand probes will be used to determine the depth of the active layer and to characterize the permafrost immediately beneath it.

Researchers will provide information from the various surveys to the communities in the form of a non-technical summary and report regularly to the RRCs. When the final report is completed, a copy of the document will be provided to the communities.
The study will be conducted at sites located along the pipeline study corridor in the Gwich’in Settlement Area (GSA).