British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Using multispectral remote sensing to monitor aquatic vegetation in ponds at a reclaimed mine site Borstad, Gary A.; Martinez, Mar; Larratt, Heather M.; Kerr, Randy; Willis, Peter; Richards, Mark


Multispectral remote sensing is being investigated to monitor mine-site reclamation at Highland Valley Copper, a large copper-molybdenum mine in southern British Columbia. Two examples of the application of aerial mapping to the aquatic portions of the mine are presented here: Trojan Pond, a deep tailings pond that supports a small fishery, and Highmont Tailings Pond, a shallow tailings pond and wetland. Trojan Pond has a narrow band (1 to 3 m), of benthic aquatic vegetation around its shore, because it has a rapidly shoaling littoral zone, with very little shallow area – quite typical for a shallow, small lake in this region. By contrast, Highmont Pond is shallow and supports extensive benthic vegetation that was impossible to properly sample from the ground because a very soft bottom limits access. This vegetation was well mapped by the multispectral imagery in 2001 and 2002, and was only sampled from the ground after the pond was drained in 2003 – at which time the abundant vegetation in the centre of the pond came as a surprise to ground biologists.

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