British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Environmental monitoring toward end land use objectives at Elkview Coal Dixon, B. M. (Brenda M.), 1952-


Three land-based parameters, land capability, land status and vegetative productivity, were selected to provide the basis for monitoring and modelling the overall productivity of the prime elk winter ranges on this south-east coal mine property. Three animal-based parameters, elk behaviour, reproductive success and winter diet quality, were monitored to provide a context for the interpretation of the land-based data. This approach is expected to provide, on an annual basis, information that demonstrates achievement of the prescribed end land use as wildlife habitat. This approach is also used to demonstrate the maintenance of wildlife habitat values while active mining is underway. To date, 39 km² of Class 1 elk winter range have been included in the ongoing assessment. A method to calculate and model the amount of winter forage available for elk was developed (the Model). The land status combined with forage productivity provides information on the total number of Animal Unit Months (AUMs) of winter grazing that is available in the Class 1 winter range areas. This calculation was used to show that there were 2,150 AUMs of grazing available in 1969, prior to extensive surface development and 2,766 AUMs in 1999. Productivity losses from ongoing development have been offset by gains from reclamation and enhancement. When long range mining and reclamation plans are complete, the Model can be used to project AUMs available at any point throughout the mine development.

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