Throughout the process, NPS consulted with the Partner First Nations (Tataskweyak Cree Nation, War Lake First Nation, York Factory First Nation and Fox Lake Cree Nation) to provide multiple options for developing marsh habitat in the Gull Rapids Creek area.
Concept design for the 12 ha mitigation goal was established to replace off-system marsh habitat. Wetland concept designs containing several different options were also developed for a 100 ha rapids area to be dewatered with dam impoundment.
Deliverables included a site reconnaissance and review of regional data, such as borehole logs, soil physical and chemical parameters, watershed dynamics, topography, bathymetry, terrestrial surveys and imagery available. This background research was used to prepare site-specific wetland concept designs, as well as revegetation and installation strategies appropriate to the area.
Incorporating the Partner First Nations’ vision for the site, including education, hunting, habitat and ecotourism opportunities, was key as the communities are long-term partners in the project. It is the Partner First Nations’ goal for the site that it be developed for use by the elders, youth and community. NPS has also worked with the Partner First Nations to develop future community involvement opportunities following the wetland design phase, such as seed collection of the native plant species that will be required for planting, preparation of the sites for plant growth, and opportunities for plant installation and monitoring in the future. A risk assessment and ranking exercise with the Partnership helped refine the wetland concept designs presented. Recommendations for construction sequencing, and key next steps for proceeding to final design and construction, were made.