British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Responses of juvenile rainbow trout and benthic invertebrate communities exposed to effluents from a molybdenum mine in central British Columbia Galloway, Brendan J.; Riordan, Barb; Fraikin, Chris F.; Kovats, Zsolt E.; Robinson, Richard D.


As part of the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMER) under the Fisheries Act, mines are required to conduct a tiered Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM) program. The objective of the EEM program is to evaluate the effects of mine effluent on fish, fish habitat (i.e., benthic invertebrates), and use of the fisheries resource. Endako Mine is an open-pit molybdenum mine located on the Nechako Plateau in central British Columbia, about 160 km northwest of Prince George. For Endako’s Cycle One EEM program, a non-lethal survey of juvenile rainbow trout was conducted to assess the potential impacts of mine effluents discharged into lower Sweetnam Creek (exposure area) on fish survival, condition, growth, and reproduction relative to fish collected from a reference area (Allin Creek). Benthic invertebrate communities were sampled in the exposure area (lower Sweetnam Creek) and compared to benthic invertebrate communities sampled in two reference areas; Allin Creek and North Un-named Creek (a naturally metal-rich area). Results of the non-lethal fish survey and benthic invertebrate survey will be discussed as well as challenges associated with designing and conducting environmental monitoring programs for existing and future mining operations in this area of British Columbia.

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