Environmental Assessment for ConocoPhillips EL470
Principal Investigator: Marken, Sandra L (3)
Licence Number: 15100
Organization: ConocoPhillips Canada
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
Issued: Jun 27, 2012
Project Team: Margot Ferguson (Project coordinator, MWH Canada, Inc.), Jenica Von Kuster (Project manager, MWH Canada, Inc.)

Objective(s): To complete an initial scoping-level site assessment of Study Area to help inform the more detailed environmental assessment; and to assess the biophysical components including: soils, active layer, permafrost, landform, vegetation cover and composition, wildlife habitat, wildlife presence, species at risk and species of traditional use interest.

Project Description: The objectives of this research project are:
1. To perform Initial scoping-level site assessment of Study Area to help inform the more detailed environmental assessment. The research team will use helicopter access to fly over the Study Area and assess overall environmental setting, identify likely sensitive areas, and focus on potential locations for drilling, access, staging and camps. Equipment will include: airphoto and LiDAR maps, GPS, soil auger, camera, data logger/notebook;
2. To assess the biophysical components including: soils, active layer, permafrost, landform, vegetation cover and composition, wildlife habitat, wildlife presence, species at risk and species of traditional use interest. Sites will be selected based on the Scouting trip and additional airphoto and LiDAR interpretation. Approximately 25 Detailed sites will be identified and 100 mapping verification sites;
3. To conduct a pre-disturbance assessment of 3 possible well-site locations, including baseline soil sampling and soil sample collection. The site will include a detailed survey plan, mitigation methods and environmental protection plan. Soil samples will be collected at these sites for laboratory analysis;
4. To conduct bathymetric surveys on selected water bodies, and collect surface water samples from selected locations. Selected water bodies will be pre-selected for bathymetric analysis, if this information is not available from Department of Fisheries and Oceans. A boat (zodiac) and bathymetric equipment will be used to collect volumetric information and GPS will be used to document the survey location. Surface water samples will be collected from selected lakes. At this time it is estimated that bathymetry will be conducted on 20 lakes, yet to be determined;
5. To collect local and regional information to assist with the required cumulative effects assessment component of our Application and Environmental Protection Plan. This is primarily a desk-top study. However, during field program design the research team will work with ENR to consider additional information needs in the region to assist with this component of the application. This may include fly over site assessment to gather vegetation community type information and wildlife observations, within a broader regional study area. No detailed on-the-ground investigations will be conducted;
6. To apply environmental baseline assessment data and mapping to the development of an Environmental Protection Plan, as part of our drilling and seismic application. Data collected will be used to map and describe the baseline environmental conditions of the study area and identify areas of significant and sensitive status; and
7. To conduct a geological field program at outcrops in the mountains adjacent to EL470 (Mackenzie Mountains and Franklin Mountains), including rock sample collection. The 6-8 person field crew will use helicopter access to fly daily from Norman Wells to the sites of interest in the Mackenzie and Franklin Mountains. The crew will land and assess some locations of interest which may include taking small (fist sized or smaller) rock samples from the outcrops. Equipment will include: maps, GPS, rock hammers, cameras, notebooks.

Travel for Field Programs will require helicopter access and survey support, through the entire block of EL470 and the Geological Field Program area, with the exception of Three Day Lake. Fly-overs will avoid this area, including a generous buffer around the land-designation boundary. A 4-person zodiac will be used for bathymetry, which will require a small 50 HP motor. Land access will primarily use helicopter and walking. If suitable, argos and/or quads may be used, and will be barged or air-lifted to various locations within EL 470. Survey lines and other previously used access will be used if passable. Researchers will avoid traveling off of these designated routes.

A community consultation program is being planned in the communities of Norman Wells and Tulita. Within each community sessions will be held with the Land Corporations and with the general public. At this time, CPC will introduce ourselves, the study team and provide information as to CPCs overall program including a detailed description of the summer field program. In addition the research team will approach the local organizations throughout the research project, from development to completion, for regular updates and information sharing.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from June 27, 2012 to December 31, 2012.