Unuk River Watershed Baseline Characterization Report

More than ten years of multi-disciplinary environmental baseline data have been collected in the Unuk River Watershed in support of the KSM Project. These data were collected by qualified professionals, in line with the federal, provincial, and international legislation, regulations, guidelines, and standards.

The data extensively characterizes the spatial and temporal variability in the Unuk River Watershed. Important environmental components were identified and field surveys and data analyses considered the types of questions important to Project engineering design, environmental effects assessment, and future environmental effects monitoring. Specifically, the meteorology, hydrology, and physical hydrogeology studies provide critical information for water management design and decision-making.

The aquatic habitat of the Unuk River Watershed in the Sulphurets Creek sub-watershed and downstream of Sulphurets Creek reflects erosion and glacial scour of highly mineralized rock. The environmental effect of this mineralization is evident in the poor surface water, groundwater, and sediment quality, and the low diversity of aquatic organisms, especially in the Sulphurets Creek sub-watershed. Although currently undisturbed by mining development, the Sulphurets Creek sub-watershed cannot be considered pristine given the high total suspended sediment and metal loads. The chemical signature of Sulphurets Creek carries downstream into the Unuk River, with spectacular visual confirmation in the iron-stained sediment plume frequently observed at the confluence (see below photo).

confluence

Confluence of Unuk River and Sulphurets Creek 

The baseline data characterization presented in the report forms the foundation of the pre-development characterization required to detect and assess potential future effects.

The detailed report can be found here – Unuk River Watershed Baseline Characterization Report (2007 to 2018)

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