Technical resumes and qualifications of our personnel can be found through the Linkedin icon at the bottom of each profile
Drew Brayshaw Ph. D., P. Geo.
Why does geoscience make a difference?
Our geoscience studies are based around processes, hazards and risks. We understand the processes and determine how those might change under different scenarios, like development or climate change. Then we evaluate hazards and risks. What's the likelihood that a boulder might fall off that cliff and hit my house? Will more sediment reach this lake if that slope over there is logged? What's going to change in this stream channel by 2080, if more rain falls in the winter and less in the summer?
Why is the study of hydrology important?
Water is fundamental to life and water management affects our lives every day. Problems arise when there is either too much water or not enough water. Water flows also always changing, so many questions about them are hard to answer except through statistical analysis. Often we have to infer beyond the data that's available - suppose we only have thirty years of lake level data but we need to evaluate the expected 1-in-500 year high lake level. And then environmental changes result in additional complexity.
What is the most interesting thing you've seen in the field?
I have seen all sorts of neat things - huge waterfalls, caves, landslides, remote places - but I would have to say the one that impressed me the most was a low stone wall in the alpine in the eastern Yukon that was dated at 5,000 years old. It was built as a hunting guide to channel caribou to a kill site and has been in continual use the whole time since it was built by the Ross River Kaska Dena First Nation.
Eryne Croquet, M. Sc., P. Geo., P. Ag.
Why do you love soil?
Soil is often referred to as the skin of the earth. It occurs all over the world and is so common that it is often disregarded or taken for granted. In fact, soil provides us with food, forests, and foundations. I love that soil connects the living components of the biosphere with the lithosphere and I love the inherent diversity we see in soils, from the vibrant colours of a Podzol to the mottled horizons of a Gleysol.
Terrain stability assessments form a large component of your professional work. What keeps them interesting?
We always have to make observations of the steepest, hardest to get to parts of proposed cutblocks. The physical challenge of the field work, coupled with the mental challenge of the analytical work means that these projects are always exciting. It is satisfying when I can use my knowledge of geomorphology and terrain stability to help land managers and decision makers make better decisions about land development.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Wasps. In the field, the geoscientist is often following the forest engineer who laid out the block. In wasp season, the person in the front might step on a mud wasp nest, angering them. The second person often encounters the nest of angry wasps. I have been stung many times when walking through the forest!
Joanna Borzecki, B. Sc., GIT
What interests you about hydrology?
What really fascinates me about hydrology is how vast and dynamic this area of study is. Not only is it critical for life, water also links everything together, whether it is ice, rivers, oceans, or the atmosphere. Different mechanisms apply to each state, yet they are all interconnected. Not one project or river is the same, so you are always accounting for different variables, adjusting your methods, or getting innovative with your approach. It is a very stimulating and rewarding field!
One aspect of your work at Statlu includes identifying and mitigating terrain hazards. How does that process differ between debris flows, debris floods, and floods?
It is fundamental to understand the factors that govern the failure mechanisms in order to correctly mitigate the consequences. The key differences between those processes are the material they carry and where they occur. Debris flows carry mostly solid material with a fraction of water and occur in steep terrain, whereas floods consist mainly of water and are more common in low gradient valley bottoms. Debris floods are a hybrid of both. Whether it’s to ensure the safety of a development or the conservation of environment, understanding what processes can affect a location allows us to prescribe appropriate mitigation measures.
What has been your most exciting moment from the field?
Watching large scale natural processes or failures is captivating (at a safe distance!). One moment that stands out is when we were working adjacent to a glacier. It was raining pretty substantially, when suddenly we heard a loud boom that sounded like thunder echoing through the valley. I turned around and saw that a huge arch of ice near the toe of the glacier had collapsed, sending chunks of ice and an instant pulse of water rushing down river.
Colton Cantner, B. Sc., GIT
What does practicing geoscience mean to you?
Geoscientists are the stewards/caretakers of Earth’s resources and the environment. To me, practicing geoscience means to follow a path of exploration and discovery in search of solutions to some of society’s more challenging questions. I study the Earth’s landforms and landscapes formed through geologic and climatic processes to solve problems related to resource management, land development, and natural hazards.
Resource roads have historically led to terrain instability. What is a geoscientist’s role in safeguarding the environment and the public from natural resource-related development?
I assess the stability of an area by identifying the geology and morphology of the surrounding terrain. With this information, I can quantify the terrain stability hazard and, by taking into account downslope features and resources, the potential risks, environmental impacts, and public safety risk. I then provide appropriate recommendations related to the proposed development that will reduce the likelihood of terrain instability, whether that be timber harvesting methods or road construction techniques.
Can you describe a time where you were worried or scared in the field?
A few years ago, while working in the British Columbia interior, I came over a short rise only to come within 20 feet of a large black bear. Startled, I made myself look big and created lots of noise. As I alerted other people working within the area of the bear’s location over the radio, I slowly began to back away only for the bear to walk in a parallel direction as me, still maintaining its distance. Thankfully, the bear eventually lost interest and wandered off.
Ryan Kremsater, M. Sc. Candidate
You studied landslides for a large part of your education. Why are you passionate about landslides and why are landslides important to understand?
I have always been fascinated with how the natural world changes through time and landslides are a geomorphic process that has the potential to produce large-scale changes to the landscape. The term landslide incorporates all events that involve earth materials moving downslope under the influence of gravity. Landslides can range in size from meter-scale rotational slumps in steep soil slopes to kilometer-scale collapses of entire mountain sides. The velocity of the landslide events range from barely perceptible creeps that move a centimeter per year to destructive rapid events that move several kilometers in under a minute. Researching how the complex interaction of geologic structures and environmental conditions influence the stability of mountain slopes to produce different types of landslides has fascinated me ever since I was young. Understanding how external factors such as climate change and human activity influence the evolution of potentially unstable terrain is important for protecting the surrounding environment. Development in British Columbia and Western Canada is expanding further into mountainous terrain increasing the risk posed by hazardous terrain. By researching landslide processes, the risk to human life and infrastructure, and natural environment can be mitigated.
You are one of the most recent additions to the Statlu team, what are you looking forward to and anticipating in your geoscience career?
I anticipate and look forward to exploring different areas of British Columbia and western Canada and learning about the hydrologic and geomorphic processes that shape the landscape. Every site I get to work on is a chance to learn something new and increase my experience. British Columbia contains a large variety of geologic and climatic conditions which is a great opportunity to test my current knowledge and continue learning more. I hope to encounter interesting geoscience problems that present an opportunity for further research and improve how scientific knowledge is applied in the consulting world.
The Statlu team members specialize in earth and water disciplines and there is debate about which is more interesting. As the fifth member of the Statlu Geoscience team, do you prefer earth or water?
I do not think I can choose a favourite because earth and water work together to create the majority of the stability problems I have encountered. If all the water in British Columbia vanished, the frequency of landslides and stability issues would drastically decrease. Similarly, if British Columbia was entirely composed of water, there would be no terrain for stability issues to occur on. The interaction between earth and water is fascinating!
What is your role at Statlu?
My role at Statlu varies but includes being the Office Manager and Safety Coordinator. I am responsible for providing general office administrative support, payroll and bookkeeping, administering our quality management program, and coordinating Statlu’s worker safety program. I am responsible for documenting Statlu’s safety program, maintaining best practices, and a safer work environment. We are now OQM certified by Engineers and Geoscientists BC and I am partly responsible for managing this program
What is it like working with geoscientists?
Most days it is quite enjoyable listening to the high level conversations, project discussions, and general office banter. During these times I try my best to keep up; however, most often I need to follow-up with what are likely obvious questions to them. I am intrigued and excited to learn more from each of my colleagues and choose to research what I don’t understand. It is my pleasure to come to work here at Statlu.
What brought you to Statlu?
After 17 years in the Financial Industry, I was looking to make a career change. I enjoy helping people and I am very comfortable in an office setting. When I heard that Statlu was looking for someone to step into this role, I was intrigued. After researching who they were and what they did, I knew I had to pursue this opportunity. After meeting the team and learning more about Statlu, I knew right away that I would fit well into the team.
What’s the best thing about being Statlu’s official dog?
“Bark, woof, bark”
(I love it when it’s a field day and I get to fetch sticks, but I’m really just in it for the treats.)