De Beers - Gahcho Kué 2014 Environmental Monitoring Program
Principal Investigator: Chisholm, Veronica (2)
Licence Number: 15847
Organization: De Beers Group of Companies
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
Issued: Mar 30, 2016

Objective(s): To collect data on air quality, geochemistry, hydrology, sediment quality, fish, aquatic resources, dustfall, vegetation, and soil information in the Kennady Lake and adjacent watershed areas.

Project Description: The objective of the proposed studies is to continue to describe the existing environment, and obtain information once Project activities commence to determine potential project effects.

The proposed studies will include the collection of air quality, geochemistry, hydrology, water and sediment quality, and fish and aquatic resources, dustfall, vegetation and soil information. The studies are designed to monitor the area around Kennady Lake and adjacent watershed areas, which has the potential to be affected by the mine. A series of lakes in the Kirk Lake watershed will be used as reference lakes to provide reference data to support future long-term monitoring programs for the Project. The remainder of the main basin of Kennady Lake and a small unnamed lake (referred to as Lake D1) will be fished-out during the 2015.

The air quality monitoring program will include:
•collection and processing of meteorological data from the onsite weather station; and
•collection and processing of data from local sampling stations for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

The geochemical monitoring program will include:
•site audits; and
•collection of supplemental samples for geochemical testing.

The Aquatics Effects Monitoring Program (AEMP) will include studies on hydrology, water and sediment quality, plankton, benthic invertebrates, and fish health, and a downstream flow program. These programs were designed to monitor aquatic effects of the Mine, verify and update the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) predictions, and inform management decisions made by the Mine.

The hydrology component may include:
•snow course surveys;
•hydrometric surveys including water level and discharge measurement; and
•bathymetric surveys.

The water and sediment quality component may include:
•collection of seasonal water quality data; and
•collection of sediment quality data in the open water season.

The plankton component may include:
•collection of phytoplankton, zooplankton and chlorophyll over three sample periods during the open water season.

The benthic invertebrate component may include:
•collection of benthic invertebrates during the open water season.

The fish health component may include:
•small-bodied fish health surveys in lakes and streams using various sampling methods, such as small-mesh gill netting, angling, baited minnow trapping and shoreline electrofishing; and
•fish tissues and whole-body samples may be collected and archived during the fish surveys for possible future chemical analyses.

The downstream flow component may include
•visual assessments and physical measurements of depth and velocity following the start-up of pumping (dewatering) and following the shut-down of pumping during the open water season.

Phase 2 of the fish out program will focus on removal of the remainder of fish from Kennady Lake and an small unnamed lake (Lake D1) to assess the accuracy of the population estimates, as well as targeted effort to capture fish not likely removed using Phase 1 capture techniques (i.e., gill nets), to achieve the program objective of removing as many fish as possible from the lake by using additional sampling techniques. By removing as many additional fish as possible, it will reduce the potential risk of fish kill incidents in dewatered zones and in water management areas during construction and operations. The program may include:
•removing as many fish as possible using a variety of sampling methods (e.g., set lines, gill nets, angling, boat/backpack electrofishing, trap/fyke netting, seining, and minnow trapping).

The dust, vegetation, and soil monitoring program may include:
•collection of dustfall from May to September for the analysis of total dust and metals composition; and
•revisiting vegetation and soil monitoring site to record plant species composition and abundance and assess local soil microclimate conditions

De Beers Canada Inc. has been proactive in providing information to local communities. Surrounding communities have the opportunity to participate as field assistants, where possible, in the implementation of the various environmental monitoring programs, as described in this application. These communities include, Yellowknives Dene First Nation, Tlicho Government, the North Slave Metis Alliance, the Northwest Territories Metis Nation, and the Lutsel K'e Dene First Nations.

De Beers has and will continue to host meetings in all affected communities to provide updates.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from March 30, 2016 to December 31, 2016.