De Beers - Gahcho Kue Environmental Monitoring Program

Regions: North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: mining, environmental monitoring, environmental baseline

Principal Investigator: Langhorne, Amy (4)
Licence Number: 14894
Organization: Golder Associates Ltd.
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
Issued: Mar 28, 2011
Project Team: Nathan Schmidt (Water Resources Engineer, Golder Associates Ltd.), John Faithful (Water Quality Specialist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Kristine Mason (Fisheries Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Chris Madland (Air Quality Specialist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Damian Panayi (Wildlife Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd.)

Objective(s): The objective of the study is to describe the existing environment.

Project Description: The objective of the proposed studies is to describe the existing environment.

The proposed studies will include the collection of baseline hydrology, water and sediment quality, fisheries, and air and noise quality data. These study programs are designed to extend the baseline knowledge of Kennedy Lake, and adjacent, watersheds areas, which will potentially be affected by future mine development activities. The data will also provide a basis for assessing the impact of mine development to these biophysical environments.

The data derived from the baseline hydrology program will contribute to the water quality and aquatic ecology assessments. The work for the hydrology component includes tasks that will:
• characterize the hydrological regime of the watershed;
• quantify annual and seasonal water yields and lake water level regimes;
• to continuously monitor water surface elevations upstream of the lake outlets during the open water season; and
• monitor air temperature, rainfall, wind speed and direction and relative humidity using the climate station at the Gahcho Kué Project exploration camp at Kennedy Lake.

The data derived from the baseline surface water and sediment quality program will contribute to the aquatic ecology assessments. The work for this component includes tasks that will:
• complete a winter field survey to determine baseline water quality conditions in key lakes during under-ice conditions through field measurements and water sample collection. Field measurements of physico-chemical water quality parameters will be collected throughout the water column at specific locations in these lakes , and water samples will be collected for analysis of specific water quality indicators;
• complete a summer field survey to determine baseline water quality conditions in key lakes and lake outlet streams during open-water conditions. Field measurements of physical water quality parameters will be collected throughout the water column at specific locations in these lakes and outlet streams, and water samples will be collected for analysis of specific water quality indicators; and
• collect benthic sediment samples during the summer survey from specific sampling locations in key lakes to characterize baseline sediment quality conditions.

The data derived from the baseline fisheries program will contribute to the aquatic ecology assessments. The work for this component includes tasks that will:
• sampling for plankton, benthic invertebrates and fish in the Kennady Lake watersheds, and adjacent watersheds;
• sampling for fish in lakes using various sampling methods, which include small-mesh gill nets, angling, baited minnow;
• traps and shoreline electrofishing;
• undertaking a hydro-acoustic monitoring survey in Kennady Lake to more reliably estimate fish populations (i.e., fish number);
• sampling for fish in streams using backpack electrofishing, baited minnow traps and angling;
• recordimg fish habitat information, where required, which will include substrate and bank/shoreline characteristics, depth/width measurements, in situ physio-chemical water quality measurements, and in-stream discharge/flow measurements;
• sampling for plankton from various depths and locations in specific lakes, and will include water sample collection for the analysis of key water quality parameters directly associated with plankton productivity, which includes chlorophyll and nitrogen and phosphorus nutrient parameters; and
• sampling for benthic invertebrate from various locations in key lakes using sediment sampling and sorting techniques.

The air quality monitoring program will includes tasks that will:
• collection and processing of meteorological data from the onsite weather station at the Gahcho Kué ;
• project exploration camp at Kennady Lake; and
• collection and processing of data from local sampling stations for particulate matter and dust fall.

De Beers Canada Inc. has been proactive in providing information to local communities. Surrounding communities have the opportunity to participate as field assistants, where possible, in the implementation of the various environmental monitoring programs, as described in this application. These communities include: Yellowknives Dene First Nation, Tlicho Government, the North Slave Metis Alliance, and the Lutsel K'e Dene First Nations.

De Beers has and will continue to host meetings in all affected communities to provide updates.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from March 29, 2011 to December 31, 2011.