British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Biodiversity management : establishing pre-mining baseline conditions on historical mining disturbances to derive back-casted wildlife habitat suitability model metrics Knopff, Kyle. H.; Franklin, C. W.; Luini, G. L.; Vasiga, D. J.


Teck Coal Limited (Teck) is aiming towards a Net Positive Impact (NPI) on biodiversity in the areas where they operate. Teck’s NPI target applies to a condition prior to commencement of major mining activities at each operation, and biodiversity losses are measured from this pre-mining condition. Because mining at most of Teck’s five Elk Valley operations in southeastern British Columbia has been ongoing for decades, detailed pre-mining ecosystem mapping and inventory and wildlife habitat suitability prior to mining are unavailable. We recreated pre-mining ecosystem conditions using a modified Terrestrial Ecosystem Map (TEM) based on historical aerial imagery combined with available pre-mining data. The TEM permitted further investigation of pre-mining habitat conditions for ten wildlife species using species-specific Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) models. This novel approach led to a comprehensive understanding of ecosystem conditions and wildlife habitat in the pre-mining landscape, which enables Teck to quantify biodiversity losses. Mitigation, such as reclamation, will be applied to rehabilitate terrestrial ecosystems that provide habitat function for a wide range of wildlife species, similar to the pre-mining condition. This work provides the foundation for Teck’s pursuit of NPI in the Elk Valley and integrates with other novel approaches Teck implements to measure and mitigate adverse impacts to biodiversity.

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