Challenges of Conducting Winter Work in Northern Canada

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EDI Completes Caribou Habitat Surveys Safely Despite Adverse Conditions

Life and work can be challenging. This is particularly true if you’re trying to conduct biological surveys in northern Canada during the winter season. EDI team member, Ryan Buck, experienced this first-hand working on caribou habitat surveys near Prince George, BC, for Sinclar Group Forest Products Ltd. “The experience was definitely a lesson in perseverance,” states Ryan.

In December 2018, EDI was tasked with conducting a field assessment of habitat attributes for mountain caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in the Parsnip River operating area northeast of Prince George. The field assessment focused on the availability of arboreal lichen (lichen growing on trees) because it is a key winter forage for caribou. “Right from the start, when we went out in December 2018, the biggest challenge was access to the site and around the site,” explains Ryan. “It hadn’t snowed much yet, and the snow that had just fallen was soft, which made snow shoeing impossible. As we trekked around doing the survey, the snow became fairly wet, making it difficult to walk.”

The limited amount of daylight hours available during the winter served as another site-access challenge. “Our team would leave for the survey location at 5 am to maximize the number of daylight hours we could work. By 3 pm, the sun was starting to dip and we had to think about leaving,” says Ryan.

A return trip to the site was planned for early February 2019. However, an avalanche warning restricted access and the trip had to be cancelled. Another attempt was made in late February, but this too was called off when snow conditions prevented the use of snow mobiles to gain access to the survey location. The field assessment was successfully completed in April 2019.

EDI team members excel at staying safe while completing tasks under challenging environmental conditions. If you would like to learn more about the types of services EDI provides, please click HERE.

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