Ekati Engineering and Environmental Monitoring Programs

Regions: North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: physical sciences, water quality, fish habitat, air quality, vegetation, hydrology, fish, aquatic ecology, sediment quality

Principal Investigator: Pacholski, Laura J (1)
Licence Number: 16221
Organization: Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation
Licenced Year(s): 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Issued: Jan 25, 2018
Project Team: Laura Pacholski (Environment Advisor – Fisheries and Aquatics, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Harry O'Keefe (Team Leader Environment Projects, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), April Hayward (Superintendent Environment , Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Claudine Lee (Head of Environment, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), David Bruce (Environment Field Operations Team Leader, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Richard Ehlert (Environment Field Operations Team Leader, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Dustin Chaffee (Environment Advisor – Compliance , Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Kristina Oliver (Specialist - Compliance, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Matt Hoover (Specialist - Compliance, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Mark Wasiuta (Specialist – Operations, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Eli Nasogaluak (Specialist – Operations, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Laura Corey (Environment Advisor – Wildlife, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Lukas Novy (Team Leader – LOM Planning, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Annie Larrivee (Environment Advisor – Mine Waste and Wastewater, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Kurtis Terfry (Junior Reclamation Specialist, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Blair Green (Environment Specialist – Sable, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Misty Sinclair (Wildlife Technician, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Jefferey Mantla (Wildlife Technician, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Cody Drygeese (Wildlife Technician, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Graeme Reid (Wildlife Technician, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation), Veronique Theriault (Fisheries Biologist, ERM ), Tonia Robb (Project Manager, ERM ), Leanne Elchyshyn (Aquatic Biologist, ERM ), Rebecca D’Onofrio (Aquatic Biologist, ERM), Erin Forster (Aquatic Biologist, ERM), Cortney Blackburn (Field Assistant, ERM), Kathryn Kuchapski (Fisheries Biologist, ERM ), Kathy Chambers (Fisheries Biologist, ERM ), Sadiq Mohammed (Field Assistant, ERM ), Mark Nelson (Geochemist, ERM), Adam Chateauvert (Aquatic Biologist, ERM), Elizabeth Boyle (Aquatic Biologist, ERM), Soleil Switzer (Aquatic Biologist, ERM), Holly Buehler (Environmental Scientist, ERM), Michael Stamford (Fisheries Biologist, ERM), Nicola Zargarpour (Fisheries Biologist, ERM), Joel Crawford (Field Assistant, ERM), Jeremy Jackson (Toxicologist, ERM), Alan Hobson (Fisheries Biologist, ERM), Lora McAuley (Fisheries Biologist, ERM), Michael Soloducha (Hydrotechnical Technologist, ERM), Cameron Evans (Hydrotechnical Technologist, ERM), Daniel Casanova (Atmospheric Scientist, ERM), Jem Morrison (Atmospheric Scientist, ERM), Patricia House (Restoration Engineer, ERM), Kirsten Seymour (Senior Fisheries Biologist, ERM), Kerry Marchinko (Senior Fisheries Biologist, ERM), Geneviève Morinville (Senior Fisheries Biologist, ERM), Christine Rock (Wildlife Biologist, ERM), Brian Milakovic (Wildlife Biologist, ERM), Amy Wiebe (Aquatic Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Ashley Eckford (Fisheries Technician, Golder Associates Ltd.), Bryce Pippy (Aquatic Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Cameron Stevens (Fisheries Scientist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Crystal Anstey (Aquatic Ecologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Curtis VanWerkhoven (Water Resources Engineer, Golder Associates Ltd.), Haley MacPherson (Aquatic Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Hillary Topps (Water Resources Specialist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Jade Laycock (Aquatic Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Jamie Weir (Fish and Wildlife Technologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Jason Inkster (Aquatic Technician, Golder Associates Ltd.), Jeffrey Kwok (Geotechnical Engineer, Golder Associates Ltd.), Kasey Clipperton (Fisheries Scientist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Ken Allen (Fisheries Technician, Golder Associates Ltd.), Kevin Rattray (Environmental Engineer, Golder Associates Ltd.), Kristine Mason (Fisheries Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Kristin Salzsauler (Geochemist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Linh Nguyen (Environmental Scientist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Mackenzie Bromstad (Geochemist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Michael Herrell (Geochemist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Nathan Schmidt (Water Resources Engineer, Golder Associates Ltd.), Tiffany Hnatiuk (Aquatic Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Daniel Coulton (Wildlife Biologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), John Virgl (Senior Ecologist, Golder Associates Ltd.), Golder contractors (Scientists, Engineers and Specialists, Golder Associates Ltd.)

Objective(s): To determine if the Ekati Diamond Mine is having an effect on the surrounding aquatic environment and air quality, and to provide baseline data for areas where mine development may occur in the future.

Project Description: The main objectives of the field work for 2018 will be to determine if the Ekati Diamond Mine is having an effect on the surrounding aquatic environment and air quality, and to provide baseline data for areas where mine development may occur in the future.

In winter, water samples will be collected under ice using a 2.5L Niskin (a cylindrical PVC water sampler). During the week of spring freshet, hydrology and meteorology stations will be set up and data loggers will be serviced approximately once a month until the end of the field season.

In summer, sampling equipment will include: multi-parameter water chemistry meters (for in situ measurement of pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and specific conductivity), water column samplers (a cylindrical PVC GO-FLO for collection of water samples for laboratory analysis of parameters such as major ions, nutrients, and metals), and sediment samplers (K-B corer and Ekman grab sampler for collection of surface sediment samples for laboratory analysis of parameters such as particle size and metals). Samples will be taken during the open-water and under-ice seasons.

Lower trophic organism data will be collected as near-shore littoral, mid-depth, and deep water benthic invertebrate samples. Zooplankton samples will be collected using a conical mesh net towed through the water column. Lake benthos and sediment quality samples will be collected using an Ekman grab sampler (surface areas 0.0225 m2) and additional sediment quality samples will be collected using a K-B corer (top 1-2 cm) to potentially assess the most recent deposition. Stream benthos samples will be collected using up to two methods, artificial substrates (Hester-Dendy samplers), which consist of nine plates stacked vertically with a total surface area of 0.09 m2, to evaluate short-term colonization; and/or Surber samplers, which will provide a whole community snapshot at the time of sampling. Supporting benthic information including water quality parameters and depth-integrated chlorophyll a and nutrient data will also be collected using standard lower trophic procedures and lower trophic sampling equipment.

Fish and fish habitat information will be collected from lakes and streams within the Ekati Claim Block. Fyke nets, gill nets, dip nets, minnow traps, angling, fish boxes, electrofishing and 1.5 inch sinking gillnets may be used to sample fish. When required, fish tissue samples will be collected from fish for analyses. Large-bodied fish sampling is scheduled to occur every six years; the next sampling period will be in 2018. A maximum of five lake trout will be lethally sampled for these tissue analyses, the remaining obtained from tissue biopsies taken from live-sampled fish. Round whitefish will be lethally sampled for their tissues and will be generally limited to 20 mortalities per sampled lake. Slimy sculpin, a sentinel species of the program, will also be lethally sampled, but at an interval of every three years, currently set to occur in 2018. A total of 30 slimy sculpin will be euthanized for laboratory analyses including metals.

For the Air Quality Monitoring Program air samples are collected via Partisol sampler methods where large volumes of air are pulled through a filter that collects total suspended particulates. Dustfall monitoring stations are constructed and situated in accordance with the methods outlined. Snow samples are collected using a Mt. Rose sampler (corer). Vegetation are monitored using distribution surveys.

The Wildlife Effects Monitoring Program (WEMP) focuses on monitoring wildlife species and habitats that were identified during the Environmental Assessment Review Process (EARP) as being of social or economic importance or of particular ecological or conservation concern (i.e., caribou, grizzly bears, wolves, wolverines, breeding birds, raptors and habitat). The WEMP uses scientific methods and traditional knowledge as a source of information regarding wildlife and local ecology.

Each year, results from the program will be made publicly available through Diavik Diamond Mine Ekati Corporation and will be presented in a Summary Report that describes highlights of the program.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from January 25, 2018 to December 31, 2018.