Con Mine Phase 5 EEM - Periodic Monitoring
Principal Investigator: Machtans, Hilary (5)
Licence Number: 15745
Organization: Golder Associates Ltd
Licenced Year(s): 2015 2012 2009 2007
Issued: Aug 19, 2015
Project Team: Hilary Machtans (Project Director/Principal Investigator, Golder), Katherine Harris (Benthos Technical Lead/Overall Technical Advisor, Golder), Clayton James (Technical lead/Field Crew, Golder), Laura Pacholski (Technical lead/Field Crew, Golder), Tiffany Hnatiuk (Field Crew, Golder), Kelly Bourassa (Field Crew, Golder), Emily Nichol (Field Crew, Golder), Kristy Todd (Benthos crew lead, Golder), Kevin Mindus (Field Crew, Golder), Kevin Rattray (Field Crew, Golder), Tamika Mulders (Field Crew, Golder), Tatiana Leclerc (Logistics and lab lead, Golder), Anusa Sivalingam (Project Manager, Golder)

Objective(s): To carry out the second year of periodic monitoring of fish and benthos at Jackfish Bay (exposure area), Horseshoe Island Bay and Kam Bay, to determine if treated Con Mine effluent is affecting fish and fish habitat.

Project Description: The study is part of the Phase 5 Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM) program, which is requirement under the Fisheries Act, Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMER). The objective of the study is to carry out the second year of periodic monitoring of fish and benthos at the determined study locations; Jackfish Bay (exposure area), Horseshoe Island Bay (reference area for fish survey) and Kam Bay (reference area for the benthos survey), to determine if treated Con Mine effluent is affecting fish and fish habitat.

Fish Survey
A small-bodied fish survey of Ninespine Stickleback (NNST) will be conducted in late August/early September 2015 within one exposure area (Jackfish Bay) and one reference area (Horseshoe Island Bay). This survey will include lethal and non-lethal components. Ninespine Stickleback will be captured using seine nets.

For the non-lethal survey, 100 young of year fish will be captured and all fish will be released live back into the waterbody where they were captured. The following parameters will be assessed prior to release: fork length, weight and external conditions (e.g., wounds, tumours, parasites, fin fraying, gill parasites, lesions) and catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE).

The lethal adult field survey of Ninespine Stickleback has target sample sizes of 40 adult male, 40 adult female and 20 juvenile fish from each area. These sample sizes are required to detect statistical differences between fish collected at the exposure and reference areas. Lethally sampled adult fish will be measured for the following parameters: fork length, weight, age (otolith removal), external condition (e.g., wounds, tumors, parasites, fin fraying, gill parasites, lesions), internal condition (presence/absence of parasites, abnormalities such as tumours), maturity, sex, gonad weight, gonad histopathology (all samples), liver weight and CPUE. Forty liver samples (20 male and 20 female) will be analyzed for lipids (glycogen and triglycerides). The remaining liver samples (60) will be archived for possible future analyses.

The collection of Ninespine Stickleback samples is anticipated to have a negligible impact on the environment and fisheries resources in Jackfish Bay and Horseshoe Island Bay.

Benthic Invertebrate Survey
Benthic invertebrate samples will be collected at five stations in each of the following areas: Jackfish Bay near field area (exposure area), Jackfish Bay mid field area (exposure area) and Kam Bay (reference area). Samples will be collected by deploying Hester-Dendy plates during the open water season allowing invertebrates to colonize the plates, and using an Ekman grab sampler during a field survey. Samples will be analyzed for taxonomic identification and enumeration of the benthic invertebrate community. The following parameters will be analyzed: total density, richness, Simpson’s Evenness Index and Bray Curtis Index. The collection of benthic invertebrate samples is anticipated to have a negligible impact on the benthic invertebrate community, environment and fisheries resources in both Jackfish Bay and Kam Bay.

In addition, sediment quality and water quality samples will be collected from Jackfish Bay near field area (exposure area), Jackfish Bay mid field area (exposure area), Horseshoe Island Bay and Kam Bay (reference area). Water quality samples will be collected once per month in each area and additional samples will be collected for quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) purposes. In situ field parameters (temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity) will be measured at the time of water quality sample collection. In September, one composite sediment quality sample will be collected from each area with additional samples for QA/QC purposes. Water temperature will be monitored throughout the open-season using temperature loggers deployed at each area.

Plume delineation surveys will be conducted in Jackfish Bay. Conductivity will be used as a conservative tracer of the treated effluent within Jackfish Bay.

A final report will be submitted to Environment Canada no later than June 6, 2016.

Technical reports will be submitted to Environment Canada and will be available by request from Con Mine, and reports and/or community presentation if requested.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from August 20, 2015 to December 31, 2015.