Esk'Etemc First Nation Road and Drainage Improvements (Alkali Lake)

Proposed road and drainage improvements on the Esk'Etemc First Nation (EFN) IR1, IR3, and IR4. The proposed project involves upgrading seven undersized culvert crossings which carry flow from Alkali Creek. The existing CSP culverts will be removed and replaced with an updated arch culvert design to better convey flow beneath the various road crossings.

Legal land description for Project/Activity:
- I.R. NO. 1, BEING ALKALI LAKE, LILLOOET DISTRICT
- I.R. NO. 3, BEING SWAN LAKE, LILLOOET DISTRICT
- DISTRICT LOT 1109, I.R. NO. 4A, BEING ALKALI LAKE, LILLOOET DISTRICT

Project Information:
Infrastructure:
The following describes existing infrastructure at each of the 7 culvert sites:
(1 & 2) The IR1-4A site consists of two crossings at the intersection of Dog Creek Road and Esket Drive, both of which are gravel roads. The crossing of Dog Creek Road is currently facilitated by two ~1.2 m diameter culverts, both of which are partially blocked with woody debris. The crossing of Esket Drive is currently facilitated by two ~1 m diameter culverts, however only one was conveying flow at the time of assessment. The second is above the water level and has been partially crushed but is likely functional as an overflow culvert during high water. 
(3) The crossing at IR1-4C consists of a single ~1.2 m diameter culvert that crosses an unnamed gravel access road in an agricultural field. There is a shed located in the field approximately 25 m from the crossing. 
(4) The crossing at IR3-1A conveys flow beneath an unnamed road approximately 2.3 km from Swan Lake FSR and consists of two ~0.5 m diameter culverts. Fencing is present across the creek both upstream and downstream of the culvert crossing.  
(5) The crossing at IR3-1B consists of two ~0.5 m diameter culverts that convey flow beneath Swan Lake Forest Service Road approximately 300 m from its intersection with Little Springs Road. Both culverts were functioning at the time of assessment. Fences cross the creek both upstream and downstream of the crossing. 
(6) The IR4-2C crossing facilitates flow beneath Long Jack Road approximately 60 m from Sonny's Meadow Road. It is a single ~1 m diameter culvert that is barely functional, with only a small trickle of water flowing through. 
(7) The IR4-2E crossing facilitates flow beneath Sonny's Meadow Road. A single ~1 m diameter culvert is present at this site.

Activities:
The seven existing culverts will be removed and replaced, followed by riprap installation upstream and downstream of the new culverts for bank erosion protection measures. The following mitigation strategies follow Develop with Care Environmental Guidelines for Urban and Rural Land Development the BC Approved Water Quality Guidelines: Aquatic Life, Wildlife & Agriculture, Guidelines for Raptor Conservation during Urban and Rural Land Development in British Columbia,  and Best Management Practices for Amphibians and Reptiles in Urban and Rural Environments in British Columbia.  If the best management practices provided below are followed, the project is unlikely to cause serious or permanent impacts to resident fish and wildlife, aquatic habitat, species at risk, and/or native plants. 
- Acquire applicable Water Sustainability Act (WSA) and Fisheries Act permits for the work;
- Retain a QEP to complete environmental monitoring during replacement of the culverts. This includes the monitoring of turbidity during construction to ensure that it doesn't exceed the provincial standard ; 
- Isolate the construction sites using silt fences or silt curtains to prevent turbidity from affecting other areas of the stream(s);
- Retain a QEP to complete site isolation and fish salvage around the culvert replacement locations prior to commencement of instream works. A Scientific Fish Collection Permit will be required to facilitate this work;
- Complete the work during the regional fisheries timing window July 22 to Aug 15 to minimize risk to fish;
- Be very conservative when clearing mature trees and native shrubs where required for equipment access and construction;
- Complete tree and shrub removal between August 31 and March 15, which is outside of the bird breeding window;
- Where possible, complete replacement planting of removed black cottonwood, Douglas fir, and ponderosa pine at a 3:1 ratio; 
- Remove invasive weeds from the site and clean machinery before using it at another job site; 
- Reseed remaining disturbed areas with a native seed mix to limit the spread of invasive vegetation;
- Minimize machine works and maintain equipment in excellent working condition; 
- Leave native wildlife, dens, and nests unharmed; 
- Report observed species at risk to the CDC (250.356.0928) and do not touch or move them;
- Clean equipment air filters and ensure they are functioning well;
- Keep a spill kit onsite in the event of a hydrocarbon spill.

Waste Generation:
Due to the operation of heavy machinery in close proximity to the streams, there is potential for a hydrocarbon spill into the waterbodies. As discussed in the SER Environmental Mitigation section, a spill kit will be kept onsite in a easily accessible location in the event a spill.

Permits, licences or other authorizations:
Water Sustainability Act (WSA) Notification;
DFO Request for Review; and
Scientific Collection Permit.

Land Use:
Current Land Use:
Agricultural and Residential.

Current Adjacent Land Use:
Agricultural and Residential.

Fauna and Flora:
Wildlife species at risk: The BC Conservation Data Centre (CDC) maps several wildlife species at risk within 1.5 km of the Alkali Lake community. These include a masked species, the red-listed American badger (Taxidea taxus) and American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), and the blue-listed American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus), bobolink (Dolichonyx orzyivorus), fringed myotis (Myotis thysanodes), long-billed curlew (Numenius americanus), and spotted bat (Euderma maulatum). The American badger and masked species are both mapped within the IR1-4A and IR1-4C crossing locations. 
American badgers live in dens with elaborate underground tunnel networks and are solitary with relatively large home ranges. Disturbance to the species is unlikely as no dens or badger sign was observed during the site assessment.
American white pelican breed mainly on isolated islands in freshwater lakes and forage in shallow water on lake or river edges and in wetlands where they feed primarily on small fish. Alklali Creek and Kirkpatrick Creek may serve as good feeding ground for the American white pelican. While the species was not observed within the project footprint, a pair was sighted on Alkali Lake during the assessment. Since pelicans are a migratory species, negative impacts can be avoided if work is completed outside of the bird breeding window.
The American bittern is a migratory bird species that prefers marshy habitat with tall vegetation for breeding. They nest in shallow cattails, bulrushes and sedges, feeding on aquatic invertebrates, amphibians, and small fish. Disturbance to the species is highly unlikely as this habitat type was not observed during the site visit and culvert replacement should be completed outside of the bird breeding window.
Bobolink, another migratory bird species, breed in large grassy fields and meadows before migrating to southern marshes and coastal habitats. Bobolinks forage for invertebrates and seeds from non-woody vegetation during breeding season. Although the neighboring agricultural fields may serve as good breeding habitat for the species, works should occur outside of the bird breeding window.
The long-billed curlew is a migratory shorebird that spends the breeding season in marshes or short grassy areas, moving to taller grasses as their fledglings leave the nest. Within the grassy fields and marshy areas, curlews forage for aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates such as earthworms, shrimp, and beetles. As with the bobolink, the agricultural fields observed during the site assessment may serve as opportune nesting habitat, but works should be scheduled outside of the bird breeding window. 
The spotted bat and fringed myotis often roost in deciduous and coniferous forests, as well as riparian areas. Although no sign of bats was observed during the site visit, clearing of mature trees and native shrubs will be very conservative during the work.

Migratory birds:
A pair of red-listed American white pelican were observed feeding on Alkali Lake, the lake is located approximately 2.6 km southwest of the first proposed culvert replacement. Although the species was observed adjacent to the project footprint and the nearby habitat may be suitable for nesting, negative impacts will be avoided if mitigation strategies outlined in the SER are followed. 
Several species of songbird were observed and heard at the seven proposed culvert replacement sites, most species were likely migratory. The surrounding forest and shrub habitat may provide suitable nesting habitat during breeding season. 
The Environmental Mitigation section of the SER states that tree and shrub removal is to occur between August 31 and March 15, which is outside of the bird breeding window, and that clearing of mature trees and native shrubs where required for equipment access and construction will be very conservative. If these best management practices provided in the SER are followed, the project is unlikely to cause serious or permanent impacts to migratory bird species.

Migratory birds (or their eggs or their nests) likely to be captured, harmed, killed or destroyed:
Since the culvert replacements are scheduled to occur outside of the bird breeding window, harm to migratory birds (or their eggs or nests) should not occur. If a raptor nest is encountered during the culvert replacements, a buffer in which no disturbance is to occur will be flagged around the nest. The size of the buffer will be established according to the Guidelines for Raptor Conservation for Urban and Rural Land Development in British Columbia (2013).

Fish or fish habitat:
Kirkpatrick Creek is a tributary of Alkali Creek, its confluence is located within the Esk'Etemc IR1. Alkali Creek flows westward through Place Lake and Alkali Lake before its confluence with the Fraser. Fish species documented in Alkali and Kirkpatrick Creeks by the BC Fish Inventories Data Query include chinook salmon, lake chub, longnose dace, and rainbow trout. The following describes fish habitat at the proposed culvert replacement sites:
The stream at most existing culverts were of glide and riffle morphology, some sites having sections of riffle-pool and cascade characteristics. Habitat upstream of the IR4-2C culvert is characterized by wetland habitat, with highly braided channels, low flow velocity, and abundant wetland vegetation. Substrates at most culverts were primarily comprised of fines with some gravels and cobbles, abundant to moderate woody debris, plentiful overhanging vegetation for litterfall and shade, and aquatic vegetation at a few sites such as IR3-1B, IR4-2C, and IR4-2E.
Due to the silty substrate and lack of gravels, the stream does not provide suitable spawning habitat for chinook salmon or rainbow trout at the assessed culvert locations. Although spawning gravels lack, stream morphology, the abundance of overhanging vegetation, and plentiful woody debris provide good habitat for resident fish. Due to the suitable habitat observed and the documentation of fish presence in Alkali Creek and Kirkpatrick Creek, mitigation strategies were outlined in the SER to prevent harm or death to fish, including:
- Isolate the construction sites using silt fences or silt curtains to prevent turbidity from affecting other areas of the stream(s);
- Retain a QEP to complete site isolation and fish salvage around the culvert replacement locations prior to commencement of instream works. A Scientific Fish Collection Permit will be required to facilitate this work;
- Complete the work during the regional fisheries timing window July 22 to Aug 15 to minimize risk to fish;
- Be very conservative when clearing mature trees and native shrubs where required for equipment access and construction.

Predominant vegetation on and adjacent to the site:
The following describes predominant vegetation at each of the seven proposed culvert replacement sites:
(1 & 2) The riparian vegetation at culvert sites IR1-4A (1) and IR1-4A (2) was comprised of a shrubby understory dominated by red osier dogwood and rose, with disturbed patches populated by invasive reed canary grass. Other species included dandelion, horsetail, black cottonwood, choke cherry, clover, field mustard, paper birch, and willow.
(3) The crossing at IR1-4C consisted of a narrow riparian area due to agricultural works. The low-lying understory included plant species such as red osier dogwood, rose, smooth brome horsetail, paper birch, clover, and willow. 
(4) The riparian vegetation at IR3-1A was dominated by an overhanging willow understory with a canopy of mature Douglas fir, Engelmann spruce, and lodgepole pine. Interspersed understory plant species identified were common juniper, rose, and water sedge, while disturbed areas also contained invasive common burdock.
(5) The culvert crossing at IR3-1B had a narrow riparian zone as the channel meanders through agricultural fields. Willow was the primary riparian vegetation observed at the site with some Douglas fir interspersed. Instream vegetation was dominated by water sedge.
(6) The riparian area of IR4-2C was narrow but diverse. Sections along the stream consisted of agricultural field, sedges, shrubby understory, and mature conifer overstory. Plant species identified were Douglas fir, Engelmann Spruce, lodgepole pine, water sedge, willow, and yarrow.
(7) The IR4-2E riparian area was also narrow due to agricultural fields, but consisted of a densely shrubbed understory and coniferous overstory. The understory was comprised of willow, false Solomon's seal, field mustard, gooseberry, hookedspur violet, rose, saskatoon berry, water sedge, and invasive reed canary grass. The overstory was dominated by Douglas fir and Engelmann spruce.

Plant species at risk: No.

Traditional/Cultural Uses:
Cultural, historical or archaeological: Unknown

Traditional use areas: Unknown.

Note: Information provided by Western Water Associates Ltd. and TRUE Consulting (on behalf of Esk'Etemc First Nation).

 


Disclaimer

This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.

 

Latest update

August 27, 2022 - Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) issued its Notice of Determination and determined that the project:
is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

Contacts

Indigenous Services Canada
Fasih Siddiqui, Senior Engineer
1138 Melville Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6E 4S3
Telephone: 604-376-0802
Fax: 604-775-7149
Email: Fasih.Siddiqui@sac-isc.gc.ca


  • Location

    • Alkali Lake 1; Swan Lake 3; and Alkali Lake 4A (British Columbia)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Other, not otherwise specified
  • Assessment Status

    In progress
  • Start Date

    2022-07-27
  • Proponent

    Esk'Etemc First Nation
  • Authorities

    • Indigenous Services Canada
  • Assessment Type

    Project on federal lands
  • Reference Number

    83853

Nearby assessments

..within 200 kilometres
Date modified: