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Glacier Mass Balance
An open-pit copper-gold mine in the Boundary Ranges of northwestern British Columbia plans to access an ore body under the toe of a receding glacier. The changing glacial melt rate and meltwater volume affect the design of the mine's waste treatment and hydroelectric power generation.
As part of a continuing study, Statlu has installed and monitored hydrometric gauges in steep tributary streams to the glacier and at the glacier outlet. We evaluate how much of the outflow originates from interceptable and divertable inflows to the glacier, and use this to develop a preliminary mass balance and water balance for the area. We have begun to quantify correlations between seasonal snowpack, temperature, precipitation, and runoff. These correlations allow us to accurately estimate the contribution of melting ice to the observed runoff and to estimate glacier-averaged ice loss.
Slesse Park Landslide Investigation
In late December 2015, a landslide reached Chilliwack River in an area known as the Slesse Park Clayslides in the Chilliwack River valley. We were hired to investigate the landslide, determine its causes, evaluate whether there was an immediate threat to public safety, and recommend mitigation measures.
We learned that the landslide had initiated upslope of the clayslides and that there was no immediate risk to public safety. We also determined that past mitigation works designed to stabilize the clayslides were functioning outside their design parameters and may not have been functioning as intended. We recommended monitoring of the slide to better characterize and evaluate the longer-term hazard.
Potlatch Creek Road Deactivation
Potlatch Creek is located on the west side of Howe Sound, across the sound from Porteau Cove. Several old non-status resource roads in the Potlatch Creek drainage were identified as unstable and posed a risk to a summer camp at the mouth of Potlatch Creek as well as fish habitat. The road segments were themselves partly located in unstable terrain that posed risks to workers deactivating the roads.
We developed deactivation plans to reduce the downslope risks and conducted frequent inspections to ensure that works were deactivated in accordance with the specified standards while protecting the environment, the public, and worker safety.
Wet Weather Shutdown Criteria Harmonization
People working in the coastal forests of British Columbia use wet weather shutdown thresholds to help decide when to stop working when environmental conditions become unsafe. If shutdown criteria are too stringent, work will be needlessly shut down, incurring an economic cost, and possibly making workers and managers less likely to follow shutdown procedures in future. Conversely, if shutdown criteria are too lenient workers, vehicles, and equipment will be exposed to unacceptable risk of injury, death, damage, or destruction. Finally, shutdown criteria need to be understandable and usable by workers in the field.
We synthesized information to improve existing methods for shutting down field operations during wet weather, and harmonized the methodology to work throughout southwestern British Columbia. The new standards are both scientifically sound and easier to use for workers in the field.