The Lupin Mine is located on the west shore of Contwoyto Lake, Nunavut at 65° 46” N and 111° 15’ W. The monitoring program is a requirement for Lupin Mine under the Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations (Government of Canada 2002), which is part of the federal Fisheries Act. The monitoring program will document the health of fish exposed to treated mine effluent and compare it to an area without effluent (reference area). Data will be collected in August 2019 for approximately 14 days.
The surveys will be conducted within one Exposure Area and one Reference Area. The program will consist of a Ninespine Stickleback and juvenile Arctic Grayling survey, a benthic invertebrate community survey, and supporting environmental information (e.g., water and sediment quality).
Fish will be captured using active and passive fishing gear (e.g., backpack electrofishing unit, seine nets, fyke nets and minnow traps). All non-target species will be identified, counted, and immediately live released. Field surveys will be completed in the Exposure Area and one Reference Area.
Lethal Ninespine Stickleback Survey: The goal of the lethal survey is to capture 30 adult male, 30 adult female, and 30 juveniles from each area. Lethally sampled adult fish will be measured for length, weight, age (otolith removal), external condition, gender, life stage, state-of maturity, internal condition, gonad weight, liver weight, carcass weight, stomach fullness, parasite presence/absence, and parasite weight.
Non-lethal Arctic Grayling Survey: The goal of the non-lethal survey is to capture a minimum of 100 young of the year to a maximum of 400 young of the year from each area. Non-lethally sampled fish will be measured for: length, weight, and external condition. Scales will be retained for non-lethal fish ageing. A sub-set of Arctic Grayling will be sacrificed for collection of otoliths to validate using scales as the primary ageing structure.
Benthic invertebrate samples will be collected at five stations from each sampling area. Samples will be collected using a standard (6 in x 6 in x 6 in) Ekman grab. Samples will be used for taxonomic identification and enumeration of benthic invertebrate communities.
Collection of key supporting environmental information during fish and benthic invertebrate surveys is required. These supporting data include:
•seasonal water temperature;
•field water quality variables (e.g., dissolved oxygen);
•water chemistry variables (e.g., metals); and
•sediment quality (e.g., total organic carbon).