Environmental Baseline Surveys for the Fortune Minerals Limited NICO Project
Principal Investigator: Schryer, Richard P (2)
Licence Number: 16068
Organization: Fortune Minerals Limited
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2006 2005 2004 2003
Issued: Mar 22, 2017
Project Team: Dr. Rick Schryer (Lead researcher), (Technician), (Technician)

Objective(s): To complete the Supplemental Baseline Monitoring Plan for water quality, fish population and benthic invertebrate programs.

Project Description: The objective of this project is to complete a Supplemental Baseline Monitoring Plan (SBMP) for water quality, fish population and benthic invertebrate programs.

The SBMP contains two major study areas: Burke Lake, Reference Lake and the Marian River. Burke Lake will be the exposure area and Reference Lake will serve as the reference area for the SBMP. The exposure area for the Marian River water quality will be downstream of the confluence with Burke Creek and upstream of the confluence with Tumi Creek, while the reference area for the Marian River water quality will be upstream of the confluence with Burke Creek. Water quality, quantity and flow sampling - will be conducted at Burke and Reference lakes as well as in the Marian River.

For the water sample collection, sample bottles and caps will be triple rinsed prior to water collection. Bottle preparation will occur immediately downstream of the sample site to ensure there is not sediment contamination in the containers. Water samples for laboratory analysis will be collected at least 15 cm below the water surface by hand directly into the sample bottles. To ensure no sediment contamination all sample bottles will be slowly placed into the water facing upstream. If any signs of bottom disturbance are seen the sample will be discarded and recollected.

Parameters to be analyzed will include: total depth, sample depth, temperature, pH, specific conductivity, dissolved oxygen, total alkalinity (as CaCO3), specific conductivity, hardness (as CaCO3), total dissolved solids (TDS), turbidity, colour, bicarbonate, calcium, chloride, fluoride, magnesium, potassium, sodium, sulphate, total organic carbon (TOC), dissolved organic carbon (DOC), total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), ammonia as N, nitrate, total phosphorus (TP), total dissolved phosphorus (TDP), orthophosphate, aluminum, antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, bismuth, boron, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, silver, strontium, thallium, tin, titanium, uranium, vanadium, and zinc.

Water quantity and flow in the Marian River in the project area will be monitored using continuous stage recording water level sensors (i.e., level loggers) during the open water season. Lake levels will be recorded in both Burke Lake and Reference Lake.

Fish Surveys - Ninespine Stickleback and Lake Whitefish are the sentinel fish species proposed for the SBMP in Burke Lake and Reference Lake. In Burke Lake sampling for Ninespine Stickleback will primarily be focussed close to the inlet from Peanut Lake for the near-field exposure area and close to the outlet of Burke Lake to Burke Creek for the far-field exposure area.

Twenty sexually mature males and 20 sexually mature females of each sentinel species (Ninespine Stickleback and Lake Whitefish) will be captured and sacrificed from each sampling area. All captured fish will be non-lethally processed and those not retained for the lethal survey will be released, after being measured for weight and length. A full health assessment will be completed on all lethally sampled fish, and an external health assessment will be completed on non-lethally sampled target fish species.

Minnow traps will be used to sample Ninespine Stickleback and gill netting will be used to sample Lake Whitefish. The gill nets will be checked frequently to minimize mortality of non-target Lake Whitefish or other species.

Detailed observations will be recorded for any features of the fish that do not appear normal (i.e., wounds, tumors, parasites, fin fraying, gill parasites or lesions). When possible, information on maturity, sex, and overall health will be recorded. This information will be verified later for lethally sampled fish, during the internal examination.

The research team will give presentations to the Kwe Beh working group and the Tlicho Advisory Group. Meetings will be held with North Slave Metis Alliance.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from April 15, 2017 to July 31, 2017.