De Beers Snap Lake Mine: 2012 Wildlife Effects Monitoring Program

Regions: North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: mining impacts, traditional knowledge, wildlife, wildlife monitoring, species distribution

Principal Investigator: Hood, Alex (1)
Licence Number: 15204
Organization: De Beers Canada
Licenced Year(s): 2013
Issued: Feb 14, 2013
Project Team: Alex Hood (Project Lead, De Beers), Jamison Romano (Project Manager, Golder Associates), Lisa Bridges (Project Manager, Golder Associates), various (Environmental Technician, De Beers), various (Field Assistant, To Be Determined), various (Aquatic Biologist, To Be Determined)

Objective(s): To obtain and determine annual variability of the following information in the study area:
•the relative abundance, distribution, group composition and behaviour of caribou;
•the relative activity of grizzly bears;
•the relative activity of wolverines;
•the presence and production of wolves; and,
•the presence and production of falcons nesting.

Project Description: The objective of this annual monitoring program is to obtain and determine annual variability of the following information in the study area:
•the relative abundance, distribution, group composition and behavior of caribou;
•the relative activity of grizzly bears;
•the relative activity of wolverines;
•the presence and production of wolves; and,
•the presence and production of falcons nesting.

This section provides an overview of the methods that will be used to study each wildlife species of interest. All studies will take place within a study area of 31 km radius from the Snap Lake Mine.
•Caribou aerial surveys along established transects, spaced 8 km apart, to monitor caribou abundance, distribution, group composition, and behavior.
•Ground surveys of caribou to document their behavior.
•Grizzly bear hair snagging surveys at established plots to document activity of grizzly bears.
•Snow track surveys to document wolverines activity.
•Helicopter survey for active wolf dens to monitor presence and production of wolves.

Assistant(s) from surrounding communities will be hired to assist with the field programs and to provide local knowledge input into the studies.

The Snap Lake Project has had an ongoing community consultation program since 1998. It is the intent of De Beers to continue this dialog during the life of the Mine. Discussions held to date include meetings with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, Tlicho Government, the North Slave Métis Alliance, and the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation. Consultation has focused on updating the communities on the activities at Snap Lake and the program results to-date, arranging for site visits by community members (if desired), and including members as assistants in field programs where possible. Discussions regarding traditional knowledge began in 2000 and this input was reflected in this program’s study design.


The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from February 14, 2013 to December 31, 2013.