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Three potential disturbances were noted on July 21, July 26, and August 3 by AREVA staff and Independent Wildlife Monitor. On July 21 2010, a low level flight (~500 ft) was flown by an AREVA helicopter along the Thelon River as part of the feasibility study for bridge and ferry. During the northbound flight, a herd of caribou was encountered on the west side of the Thelon River. Actions required by the WMMP were taken to avoid flying close to the caribou. The altitude was increased to more than 1000 ft and the helicopter avoided flying directly over the herd. Despite the distance of approximately 2000 ft from the caribou, the animals on the shore were observed climbing the riverbank. During the southbound flight, the survey was completed opposite the herd and at higher altitude for successful avoidance of the herd.
The second occurred on July 26, the Independent Wildlife Monitor recorded a disturbance when 400 caribou 600 to 700m north of the fuel cache were bedded and began walking when the helicopter landed for fuel. Following notification from the Wildlife Monitor, the pilots were informed to avoid the area until the herd moved on. The pilot later reported to the ERP Supervisor that he did not see any caribou in the area and resumed landing for fuel.
Lastly, the ERP supervisor noted one potential disturbance to caribou movement the evening of August 3 when approximately 1500 caribou approached camp heading west and caribou movement shifted southward following a helicopter flight. The flight was not deemed essential by the ERP supervisor for any safety reasons and the pilot was reminded that any unnecessary flights over caribou concentrations, even at desired altitudes, should be avoided. Collaboration between the pilots, ERP Supervisor, and Independent Wildlife Monitors greatly reduced the potential for disturbances. All wildlife monitoring and mitigative actions were reported monthly in the Wildlife Reports submitted to the Baker Lake Hunter and Trapper’s Organization (HTO), Baker Lake Conservation Officer, Government of Nunavut Department of Environment (GNDoE) Regional Biologist.