Reclaiming placer mining settling ponds
Placer mining, the mining of stream bed deposits for gold, is an important economic driver of Yukon’s economy. Settling ponds are used as part of the placer gold mining process to separate out sediment, and are often reclaimed to open water and marsh wetlands once operations are complete. While there is no specific end goal for reclaimed ponds and no established methods for evaluating reclamation success, these ponds are often used by waterfowl for breeding and migration. To better understand what makes a reclaimed settling pond attractive from a breeding waterfowl perspective, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) has partnered with the Klondike Placer Miners’ Association and the Yukon Government to examine whether characteristics of existing ponds (e.g., size, depth, substrate, etc.) are correlated with waterfowl breeding pair and brood use. Identifying these characteristics will help define best management practices to maximize attractiveness and productivity of future reclaimed settling ponds to breeding waterfowl. Field work, including waterfowl surveys, will take place during spring and summer of 2017 in the Indian River valley near Dawson, Yukon. Final results are expected in early 2018. This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change.
For more information about this project, please contact Jamie Kenyon with DUC.