De Beers - Gahcho Kue Environmental Monitoring Program
Principal Investigator: Faithful, John (1)
Licence Number: 15191
Organization: Golder Associates Ltd.
Licensed Year(s): 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
Issued: Jan 31, 2013

Objective(s): To build upon current knowledge of the existing environment including aerial, aquatic and terrestrial baseline conditions.

Project Description: The objectives of the proposed studies are to build upon current knowledge of the existing environment including aerial, aquatic and terrestrial baseline conditions.

The proposed studies will include the collection of baseline air and noise quality, hydrology, vegetation, soil, water and sediment quality, and fish and aquatic resources data. These study programs are designed to extend the baseline knowledge of the Kennedy Lake and adjacent watershed areas, which will potentially be affected by future mine development activities. Additionally, 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 work for the hydrology component includes tasks that will:
• characterize the hydrological regime of the watershed;
• quantify annual and seasonal water yields and lake water level regimes;
• continuously monitor water elevations upstream of the lake outlets during the open water season; and
• monitor air temperature, rainfall, wind speed/direction and relative humidity using the climate station at the Kennedy lake exploration camp.

The work for the baseline water and sediment quality component will include:
• collecting field measurements of in situ physico-chemical (field) water quality parameters from lakes and streams at specific locations in the study area in both summer and winter;
• collecting water samples for analysis of specific water quality parameters from lakes and streams at specific locations in the study are in both summer and winter, including parameters directly associated with plankton productivity (including chlorophyll, nitrogen and phosphorus);
• collecting benthic sediment samples during the summer survey from specific sampling locations in key lakes to characterize baseline sediment quality conditions.

The lower trophic community (plankton and benthic invertebrates) program will include obtaining lower trophic community baseline data in core lakes and streams to inform and support future monitoring programs.

The fisheries program will include:
• large and small bodied fish surveys in lakes and streams using various sampling methods, such as small-mesh gill netting, angling, baited minnow trapping and shoreline electrofishing;
• recording fish habitat information, where required, which will include substrate and bank/shoreline characteristics, depth/width measurements, in situ physico-chemical water quality measurements, and
• in-stream discharge/flow measurements.

The air quality monitoring program will include:
• collection and processing of meteorological data from the onsite weather station at the Gahcho Kué project exploration camp at Kennady Lake and;
• collection and processing of data from local sampling stations for particulate matter and dust fall;

The vegetation, soils, and wetland monitoring program will include:
• sampling dust, soils, vegetation and wetlands on the proposed project site and in areas identified as potential long-term monitoring sites in the immediate vicinity of the site;
• for the 2013 sampling program, one transect will be established and it will consist of 11 sampling areas where both vegetation and dust will be measured. Sampling areas will be set up at 0 m, 50 m, 150 m, 500 m, 1 km, 1.5 km, 3 km, 10 km, 15 km, 20 km and 40 km beginning at the edge of the Project footprint. The 40 km sampling area will be used as a reference for future monitoring;
• lichens will be collected in each sampling area and analyzed for concentrations of metals;
• the 2013 soils monitoring plan will establish soil nutrients, minerals, trace elements, metals and organic matter characteristics along the same transect as outlined for vegetation;
• twelve random wetlands will be selected in the Kennady Lake watershed and 6 wetlands will be located in the reference watershed. Three permanent vegetation sampling plots will be set up for each wetland to support long-term monitoring. These plots will be used to estimate plant species percent cover for all rooted vascular plant species.

De Beers Canada Inc. has been proactive in providing information to local communities and will continue to host meetings in all affected communities to provide updates. These communities include, Yellowknives Dene First Nation, Tlicho Government, the North Slave Metis Alliance, and the Lutsel K'e Dene First Nations.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013.