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Gold Canyon Resources, Northern Ontario
Natural sciences, agency consultation, field investigation and reporting.
To undertake the collection of the required environmental baseline data for the successful advancement and permitting for the exploration program at this remote Northern Ontario site. The baseline studies included for this ongoing program are aquatic resources (fisheries, surface water and benthics), terrestrial resources (birds, mammals, and vegetation), hydrology and Meteorological data collection.
Aquatic baseline studies were designed to evaluate current aquatic conditions with respect to surface water and sediment quality, fish habitat, and fisheries resources prior to development and to minimize future environmental impacts through proactive planning. The aquatic studies were designed to properly address the requirements of the Federal Metals Mining and Effluent Regulations (MMER) and associated permitting. The fisheries assessment program was extensive for this project and included: A fish community assessment using the Broad scale Fish Community Monitoring protocol; Fish tissue testing for metals; A presence absence survey for Lake Sturgeon; Detailed fish habitat mapping and a bathymetric survey using side-scan sonar technology. DST also carried out a fish movement study for both Lake Trout and Walleye using acoustic tags. A network of receiver stations was installed in the study area and acoustic tags were surgically implanted into mature fish of both species. The acoustic tags emit a unique signal for each fish that is captured by nearby receiver stations. Receivers identify the individual fish, its general location, and the time of observation. When a signal is captured by multiple receivers it also indicates the general direction of travel.
The hydrology program included the installation of hydrology stations paired with field measurements at selected locations both up stream and down stream of the proposed project site and at other select drainage points throughout the water shed. The stations were utilized to monitor the watershed flow patterns and to assess for seasonal flow variations.
Information on migratory and non-migratory birds, ungulates, furbearers, amphibians, small mammals, and their habitat was gathered. The terrestrial monitoring program was designed to included field surveys for large mammals, small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians with an emphasis on Species at Risk and Species of Conservation Concern. Two aerial surveys were conducted over the study area in order to determine habitat associations and relative abundance of ungulates such as woodland caribou and moose. Small mammal trapping occurred over multiple years in order to better understand the trophic role that these important species represent. Bird surveys including, marsh bird monitoring, owl surveys, waterfowl surveys, breeding bird point counts, stick nest surveys and Whip-poor-will surveys were conducted throughout the study area over multiple seasons and years to better understand the avian composition and seasonal concentrations of birds. Amphibian call counts were conducted to determine the diversity and abundance of amphibians in the study area. Wetland evaluations were carried out within the study area to determine the presence or absence of Provincially Significant Wetlands and/or rare and threatened species.
A meteorological station was installed in accordance with Environment Canada specifications by DST at the project site in order to characterize local weather conditions in support of project design and permitting. On-site meteorological data was evaluated in the context of local and regional climate and implications of climate change on weather at the project site were examined.
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