Forests and Vegetation Questions

6.15 Forests and Vegetation 

The proposed Ajax mine will generate aerosol particles, which when wetted at humidities below 100% will form haze, and when the humidities are 100% the aerosol particles will serve as nuclei for fog droplets(see Section 6.1). All three categories of particles will move with the wind. When the wind is from the SE, S, SW or W these particles will move downwind towards the forest on the ridge above Aberdeen. Both dry deposition of aerosols and wet deposition of haze and fog droplets will take place on the foliage of the trees and other vegetation and will move into the residential area of upper Aberdeen. As previous studies in Canada have shown (Schemenauer, 1986; Schemenauer et al., 1995) when the pH of the fog droplets is very acidic or the concentrations of major ions are high there can be acute damage to foliage and chronic changes to soil chemistry that in turn negatively affect the health of trees. Schemenauer and Cereceda (1992) also looked at major ions and trace elements including heavy metals, in aerosols and fog droplets, at a site near an abandoned iron mine in Chile. They found elevated levels of some heavy metals in the dry deposition and in the fog water. 

Schemenauer, R.S., 1986: Acidic deposition to forests: The 1985 Chemistry of High  Elevation Fog Project. Atmosphere-Ocean, 24, 303-328. 

Schemenauer, R.S. and P. Cereceda, 1992: The quality of fog water collected for domestic and agricultural use in Chile. J. Applied Meteorology, 31, #3, 275-290. 

Schemenauer, R.S., C.M. Banic and N. Urquizo, 1995: High elevation fog and precipitation chemistry in southern Quebec, Canada. Atmospheric Environment, 29, 2235-2252. 

1. What measurements have been made and/or are planned to be made to monitor the health of the forests outside of the proposed mine property (in all directions) in order to detect possible negative impacts of the mine on the forests and other vegetation? 

2. What measurement programs will be instituted to measure the chemistry of rain, snow and fog before and after the mine is constructed? 

3. What would the impact be of the death of the forest above Aberdeen on soil erosion, surface and subsurface runoff, cost in lost timber, and aesthetics? 

4. What mitigation plan is in place to preserve the health of the forest above Aberdeen?