Proposed Helicopter Reconnaissance – Spring and Summer Programs 2014 for Proposed Aklavik West Road and Bridge

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: road construction, site reconnaissance

Principal Investigator: Kors-Olthof, Rita I (2)
Licence Number: 15521
Organization: Nehtruh-EBA Consulting Ltd. (on behalf of the Hamlet of Aklavik)
Licenced Year(s): 2014 2011
Issued: Jul 28, 2014
Project Team: Karla Langlois (Biologist, Nehtruh-EBA Consulting Ltd. / Tetra Tech EBA Inc.), Eddie Noton (Biologist, Nehtruh-EBA Consulting Ltd. / Tetra Tech EBA Inc.), Gabriella Prager (Archeologist, Points West Heritage Consultants Ltd.), TBC (Geotechnical/Transportation Engineer, Nehtruh-EBA Consulting Ltd. / Tetra Tech EBA Inc.), TBC (Local Environmental/Wildlife Monitor, Ehdiitat Gwich'in Renewable Resources Council)

Objective(s): To describe the environmental conditions present along the trail and bridge site and to develop a plan to avoid, minimize, and/or mitigate potential impacts to the natural, resource, and cultural features along the proposed road and bridge alignment.

Project Description: The overall goal is to describe the environmental conditions present along the trail and bridge site for planning purposes to avoid, minimize, and/or mitigate potential impacts to the natural, resource, and cultural features along the proposed road and bridge alignment. The priority for observations will be between the turn-off from Bickish Avenue to about 800 m west of the proposed bridge location, which is the approximate extent of the current mapping. More details about the scope of work will be attached, if possible, or sent by email.

The helicopter, an AS350B2 – A-Star, will fly from Inuvik on each day of reconnaissance (Spring and Summer Programs). The estimated helicopter flying time is about 4 hours on each day, plus 0.8 hours of helicopter ferry time from and to Inuvik. Minimum flight elevation rules will be respected. Photographs will be taken at points of interest in order to record observations during the flight, and GPS coordinates will be recorded for the photo locations.

In addition to flying time, there may be a few stops on the ground along the route to inspect various points of interest or concern. The number of stops will depend on whether suitable safe landing sites can be found nearby.

The fisheries program will identify watercourse crossings where fish are likely to be present, stream crossings will be described and photographed, and suitable stream crossing structures will be recorded. Observations of fish and fish habitat will be recorded. Areas where special design is needed will be identified for stream crossings, or to protect nearby water bodies from siltation resulting from erosion or ground thawing due to bridge or road development.

The wildlife and vegetation program will assess potential wildlife habitat and vegetation on or near the proposed road alignment. Wildlife sightings or observable sign will be photographed, including trails, raptor nests, carnivore dens and/or antler sheds. Although all wildlife species are will be noted, caribou are of particular interest, since the EISC is concerned about caribou.

The geotechnical and transportation engineering program will confirm a preferred route and possible route alternatives particularly between Bickish Avenue and the bridge site, observe and record terrain, identify sensitive and challenging features, identify possible borrow source locations, and consider road design including stream crossing requirements. Because the bridge is likely to be constructed before the road is completed, access for bridge construction will be specifically considered.

Sections of the trail that may need special care or preparation before bridge construction will be noted, and ideas to make access easier will be considered. For example, there are sections of the trail with turns that might be too tight to fit the proposed bridge length and sections of the trail with humps or dips that might be large enough to cause difficulties in moving materials or equipment. Tight areas can be checked on the ground to see what widths and lengths of brushing and/or snow-plowing might be needed to make the trail wide enough to get the construction materials and equipment to the bridge site. Steep areas can be checked to see what thicknesses of snow road might need to be built up to smooth out the access trail in winter.

Each portion of the work will have a report associated with it that will be incorporated into the Project Description Report. Posters with the results will be presented to the community. A summary will also be provided to the Aurora Research Institute and the community will have an opportunity to comment at a community meeting and feast.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 28, 2014 to August 22, 2014.