De Beers Snap Lake Project -2007 Monitoring Program

Regions: North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: contaminants, environmental assessment, aquatic ecosystems, biology, environmental monitoring, mining impacts

Principal Investigator: Huebert, Ed (2)
Licence Number: 14112
Organization: De Beers Canada Inc.
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2015 2014 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 2001 2000 1999
Issued: Feb 14, 2007
Project Team: Paul Vecsei (Fisheries Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Amber Lahti (Fisheries Technician, Golder Associates Ltd.), Paula Smith (Fisheries Technician, Golder Associates Ltd.), Sophia Granchinho (Environmental Chemist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Sharon Vogel (Environmental Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Hilary Machtans (Fisheries Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Edward Lem (Fisheries Technician, Golder Associates Ltd.), Christopher Pullen (Fisheries Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Katherine Gerein (Aquatic Ecologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), John Virgl (Senior Wildlife Ecologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Damian Panayi (Wildlife Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Kelly Bourassa (Wildlife Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Chris Madland (Air Quality Scientist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Richard Schryer (Senior Fisheries Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Brent Topp (Senior Hydrologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Mark Ealey (Senior Ecologist/Reclamation Specialist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Chad Willms (Vegetation Ecologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Lasha Young (Wildlife Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Margaret Squires (Water Quality Specialist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Ken DeVos (Hydrogeochemist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Bill Purdy (Senior Geotechnical Engineer, Golder Associates Ltd.), Mark Digel (Senior Environmental Specialist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Allison Humphries (Water Quality Specialist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Jean Bussey (Archaeologist, Points West Heritage)

Objective(s): The objective of this environmental monitoring program is to meet requirements under the Snap Lake Project's Environmental Agreement, Land Use Permit, Water Licence, and Fisheries Authorization, as well as to meet De Beers' corporate commitments to the environment. Information collected during field sampling and observations will build on existing data and will be used towards: 1) contributing to monitoring data available for assessing and managing future potential environmental effects during construction and operations; 2) determining the natural range of variability for a number of environmental parameters; 3) identifying potential mitigation to reduce impacts to the surrounding environment; 4) refining the monitoring program for measuring environmental effects associated with the Snap Lake Project; and 5) contributing to regional studies for assessing and managing potential cumulative effects.

Project Description: The objective of this environmental monitoring program is to meet requirements under the Snap Lake Project's Environmental Agreement, Land Use Permit, Water Licence, and Fisheries Authorization, as well as to meet De Beers' corporate commitments to the environment. Information collected during field sampling and observations will build on existing data and will be used towards: 1) contributing to monitoring data available for assessing and managing future potential environmental effects during construction and operations; 2) determining the natural range of variability for a number of environmental parameters; 3) identifying potential mitigation to reduce impacts to the surrounding environment; 4) refining the monitoring program for measuring environmental effects associated with the Snap Lake Project; and 5) contributing to regional studies for assessing and managing potential cumulative effects.

The monitoring program will cover an assessment of aquatic and wildlife resources, vegetation, and air quality. Aquatics assessment will involve monitoring of water quality, zooplankton and phytoplankton communities, benthic communities, sediment quality, and fish health as outlined under the Aquatics Effects Monitoring Program (as stipulated in the Water Licence). Wildlife resources assessment will consist of a monitoring program which incorporates all Valued Ecosystem Components, involving the evaluation of direct and indirect effects of mining activity on caribou, grizzly bear, wolverine, wolf, and falcons through visual surveys (ground and aerial). Vegetation assessment will occur within Ecological Land Classification units and will involve monitoring permanent plots in test and control areas to determine species composition and plant health, as well as the effects of various reclamation methods on re-vegetation and soil properties. Air quality assessment involves operation of dust samplers on site, the collection and processing of meteorological data, and the collection of lichen and vascular plants to measure contaminant uptake levels from areas in proximity to dust fall.

Transportation for these various activities includes truck, foot, helicopter, fixed-wing planes, snowmobiles, and boat. Results of these studies become part of the public record following review and acceptance by the appropriate government agencies, along with the Snap Lake Working Group (which is made up of government agencies and aboriginal community members). All affected communities will receive reports of the monitoring results.
The monitoring program will take place from February 14 to December 31, 2007 in the following locations: Snap Lake (63? 39' 9.5" N 110? 59' 39. 4"W); Northeast Lake (63? 39' 31.2" N 110? 46' 40.1"W); King Lake outlet (63? 46' 19.0" N 110? 38' 36.3"W); and Stream 47 (63? 36' 7.3" N 110? 57' 26.3"W).