De Beers - Gahcho Kue Environmental Monitoring Program
Principal Investigator: Langhorne, Amy (4)
Licence Number: 15024
Organization: Golder Associates Ltd.
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
Issued: Feb 26, 2012

Objective(s): To build upon current knowledge of the existing environment including aerial, aquatic and terrestrial baseline conditions.

Project Description: The objectives of the proposed studies are to build upon current knowledge of the existing environment including aerial, aquatic and terrestrial baseline conditions.

The proposed studies will include the collection of baseline hydrology, vegetation, soil, water and sediment quality, fisheries, and air and noise quality data. These study programs are designed to extend the baseline knowledge of the Kennedy Lake and adjacent watershed areas, which will potentially be affected by future mine development activities.

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; continuously monitor water elevations upstream of the lake outlets during the open water season; and monitor air temperature, rainfall, wind speed/direction and relative humidity using the climate station at the Gahcho Kué Project exploration camp at Kennedy Lake.

The work for the baseline water and sediment quality component includes collecting field measurements of physio-chemical water quality parameters will be collected throughout the water column at specific locations in the study are in both summer and winter; collecting water samples for analysis of specific water quality parameters throughout the water column at specific locations in the study are in both summer and winter; sampling plankton from various depths and locations in specific lakes; water sample collection for analysis of key parameters directly associated with plankton productivity (including chlorophyll, nitrogen and phosphorous); and collect benthic sediment samples during the summer survey from specific sampling locations in key lakes to characterize baseline sediment quality conditions.

The fisheries program is anticipated to include sampling for fish in lakes using various sampling methods, which include small-mesh gill nets, angling, baited minnow traps and shoreline electrofishing; hydro-acoustic monitoring in Kennedy Lake to estimate fish populations more reliably; sampling for fish in streams using backpack electrofishing, baited minnow traps and angling; and recording 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.

The air quality monitoring program is anticipated to include collection and processing of meteorological data from the onsite weather station at the Gahcho Kué project exploration camp at Kennedy Lake; and collection and processing of data from local sampling stations for particulate matter and dust fall.

The risk assessment portion of the study will include the collection of up to 30 co-located soil, plant, and insect samples to determine baseline metal and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon concentrations. Samples will be approximately 20 grams and will be stored in plastic bags and frozen. Sample will be shipped to a laboratory for analysis.

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 February 27, 2012 to December 31, 2012.