De Beers Canada Snap Lake Mine Environmental Monitoring
Principal Investigator: Hood, Alexandra E (6)
Licence Number: 15784
Organization: De Beers Canada Inc.
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2015 2014 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 2001 2000 1999
Issued: Dec 02, 2015

Objective(s): To conduct environmental monitoring of wildlife, vegetation, air quality, hydrology and aquatic effects in the Snap Lake study area.

Project Description: To meet regulatory requirements from the Snap Lake Environmental Assessment and under the mine's Water License, Land Use permit and Environmental Agreement.

The objectives of this research project are:
1) 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
2) to collect data on the aquatic environment including benthos, plankton, sediment and water; and
3) to conduct other research including air quality and vegetation.

This is 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.
For the aquatic resources, research is conducted by boat and helicopter in and downstream of Snap Lake, as well as at the two reference lakes. For air quality research is conducted through passive sampling.

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.

Sample results are communicated through the various annual reports submitted by the mine to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board and Snap Lake Environmental Monitoring Agency. These include the Wildlife Effects Monitoring Program Report, the Air Quality Annual Report, the Vegetation Annual Report, the Hydrology Annual Report, the Aquatic Effects Monitoring Program annual report and the Water License Annual report.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.