This report documents an ecological land survey (ELS) of the Meltwater study area to inventory, classify, and map ecological characteristics for use in wildlife studies and development and mitigation planning. Discussion includes description of bird (Spectacled Eider and Tundra Swan) as well as mammals (caribou, muskox, polar bear, grizzly bear and fox).
The Meltwater survey increases the extent of the ELS conducted for the Alpine and Tarn development projects, which encompassed the Colville River Delta and portions of the adjacent coastal plain to the east. This ELS, describes terrain units (surficial geology, geomorphology), surface forms (primarily ice-related features), and vegetation, and was used to map integrated terrain units (ITU) that incorporate all three components. This approach provides great flexibility for extracting information or developing classifications for specific engineering and ecological applications (e.g., maps of ice contents, flooding regimes, wildlife habitat, or fish habitat. To reduce the complexity resulting from the large number of possible combinations, we aggregated the ITUs into more general habitat classes that emphasize characteristics useful to wildlife (primarily waterbirds). The derived classes, which were designed to account for the variability of physical, chemical, and biological characteristics across the landscape, represent more information than does any single component (e.g., vegetation).
Burgess_etal_2000_meltwater_Phillips.pdf (35.9 MB)