Aggregate exploration around Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon
JDMA was retained to conduct desktop air photo exploration for sand and gravel prospects within an approximate 80km radius of three major western Canadian market areas. Study tasks included compilation of regional geological data from available maps and reports and ground water well logs, examination of the study areas using two ages and scales of stereoscopic air photos, visual field reconnaissance of prospective areas and geophysical testing of the more-promising prospects. Prospect areas were outlined on air photo and topographic maps and described with respect to landform type and aggregate potential and ranked for follow-up field testing. 20 years later the client continues to utilize the study results.
Aggregate resource management services
Since 2015, JDMA has been providing a variety of aggregate management services to the central region of MHI. Management of existing MHI aggregate resources include conducting pit inspections, pit surveying with both UAV’s and field mapping, and pit-testing and laboratory analysis. JDMA also manages the MHI’s exploration program, including preparing applications to the Ministry of Agriculture, Heritage Conservation Branch, and Ministry of Environment, negotiating access, conducting backhoe and auger testing, EM-31 testing, and the desktop assessment of hundreds of quarter sections across Central Saskatchewan.
Assessment of geological and hydrogeological factors at a high pressure gas line rupture
JDMA was retained to investigate the geological and hydrogeological setting of a rupture on a high pressure natural gas pipeline. Study tasks included compilation of regional and local geological data, review of stratigraphy and historical piezometric water levels in a network of groundwater wells, air photo terrain analysis of the site and surrounding area, collection of ground electrical conductivity data using and EM31 and EM38 conductivity meters, excavation of test holes, description of stratigraphy and material sampling, and collection of ground water and sediment samples for microbial analysis. Study results demonstrated a correlation between the rupture mechanism and fluctuating seasonal ground water levels and the local transition from ground moraine to glaciodeltaic sediments with high and fluctuating water table. Anomalous levels of microbial activity were also present at the rupture site. Data and analysis from the site were used to assist the client with assessing susceptibility to a similar type of failure elsewhere on their pipeline system.
Conawapa erosion impact assessment study
JDMA was retained to lead the assessment of shoreline erosion impacts associated with the proposed Conawapa hydroelectric generation project, a 1500MW project on the lower Nelson River in Manitoba. JDMA’s responsibilities included an assessment of erosion setbacks and eroded sediment volumes entering the reservoir over a 30 year post-project period and an assessment of downstream effects. Work entailed detailed geological and topographic mapping of the reservoir shoreline using air photos, LiDAR topographic data and field studies; development of an extensive erosion monitoring system on existing reservoirs to develop erodibility coefficients, application of JDMA’s proprietary shoreline erosion model, historical shoreline mapping in existing upstream reservoirs and downstream river channel, investigation of mass wasting processes in the lower Churchill River as well as nearshore sedimentation processes using lacustrine sediment cores from existing reservoirs. JDMA worked closely with Manitoba Hydro and other consultants to develop an overall integrated assessment that considered erosion impacts together with sedimentation processes and the biological assessment of the aquatic environment.
Evaluation of terrain and geohazards along an alternative pipeline route in BC
JDMA was retained to evaluate geohazards within a 10km long alternative pipeline corridor required to bypass a proposed mine development. The terrain within a 300m corridor was mapped with stereoscopic air photos and high resolution LiDAR data. Terrain units were delineated, including areas of bedrock, bedrock-drift complex, alluvial fan, ice-contact stratified drift, valley train, seasonally wet depressions and anthropogenic features. Slope gradient was also delineated within the corridor to help assess geohazards. Where issues were encountered possible realignments were suggested.
Harris Reservoir shoreline erosion study
JDMA conducted a reservoir erosion assessment for AAFC on Harris Reservoir in Southwest Saskatchewan. In order to measure bank recession rates, JDMA used a small UAV to capture vertical aerial imagery of the shorezone. Ground control points were collected along the shore to control the imagery and an ortho-mosaic model was built in softcopy photogrammetry. The ortho-mosaicked image was compared with historic airphotos and available high resolution satellite imagery to work out bank recession rates on the reservoir. JDMA was able to help the client, AAFC, determine the amount of bank recession that has occurred as a result of this survey. This directly helped AAFC plan for engineering of the shoreline to further protect it from erosive wave action.
Historic Grave Detection – Our Lady of Lourdes Cemetery, St. Laurent, Saskatchewan
Located on a crest of land overlooking the South Saskatchewan River, Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine at St. Laurent de Grandin has played a significant role in the history of the Métis and of the Roman Catholic Church in north-central Saskatchewan for generations. The settlement was established as a Catholic Mission in the early 1870s, and by the 1880s was the educational and spiritual centre for the Métis in Duck Lake and surrounding region. The Our Lady of Lourdes Cemetery on site dates to 1872, making it one of the oldest still active cemeteries in the province, and an integral part of the Métis connection with St. Laurent. The cemetery is still active, but the large number of unmarked graves made selecting new burial plots problematic for cemetery management. In 2013 The St. Laurent Shrine Committee commissioned Canada North Environmental Services (CanNorth) to complete a detailed study of the Our Lady of Lourdes Cemetery. To help detect the unmarked graves CanNorth turned to JDMA to carry out geophysical surveys of the cemetery property. JDMA used a Noggin 250MHz Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) system to survey areas within the cemetery grounds believed to contain unmarked graves. Test surveys were run across a line of marked graves in the cemetery to give the survey team a good idea of the characteristic signature of buried remains within the local geological environment as well as allow the GPR unit to be calibrated for local soil and moisture conditions. A grid of parallel survey lines was then set up across the survey areas and GPR data collected. Anomalous returns indicating possible burials were noted in the field and their locations marked by GPS. Post-acquisition processing of the GPR data also revealed several potential burials with reflection signatures too faint to detect on the GPR’s digital display. In total JDMA surveyors detected 148 unmarked graves in the Our Lady of Lourdes Cemetery. These unmarked burials were later marked with small metal crosses, both to assist with cemetery maintenance and as a mark of respect for the individuals buried there.
History of soil salinity and agricultural land use in the Blood Tribe irrigation project area
The study, undertaken for the PFRA, was commissioned to assess trends in saline areas over time and to map changes in land use. Trends in mapped land use, precipitation, and mapped salinity were then compared. The study was carried out by mapping and studying air photos from several different time periods from 1938 to 1992 and satellite imagery from 1984 and 1988. Air photos were viewed stereoscopically and saline areas were mapped on top of them. Areas of salinity were calculated and plotted through time. These areas were compared to long term precipitation data and mapped land use through time where trends between land use, climate, and soil salinity emerged. Landsat data from the 1980's was also compared key parameters to mapping salinity from multispectral satellite data include image resolution, wave-band combination, and imagery acquisition dates. The results from this study point towards the need for the collection of long-term salinity data to support short term salinity changes. A follow up study to the first study examined salinity in the 1950's and 1980's. This additional study confirmed high levels of salinity and helped confirm trends in salinity with trends in land use and climate.
MSS Landscape Change Study – Inco Thompson Mine Stack Emissions Study
In 2004 JDMA was hired by UMA Engineering to assist with portions of an Environmental Effects study on the (then) INCO nickel mine at Thompson, Manitoba. Field and desktop studies were being carried out to assess the air and water quality, soils, vegetation, terrestrial wildlife, and landscape in the boreal forest surrounding the mine. As part of the Landscape Component of the study, JDMA was contracted to carry out a historic change detection study of the forest using multi-spectral satellite imagery. To carry out the change detection study JDMA acquired Landsat multi-spectral satellite imagery captured in 1974, 1990 and 2003 and processed them to a common projection and grid size. A basic dark target atmospheric correction (DTAC) factor was applied to minimize atmospheric scattering in the images. Inter-sensor calibration techniques were also applied to minimize differences in the spectral signature between the Landsat MSS (1974), TM (1990) and ETM+ (2003) sensors. Each calibrated image was then processed to produce a corresponding Normalized Difference Vegetative Index (NDVI) image of the study area for that year. Statistical comparisons of the NDVI measurements between years showed a continuing impact on the health and productivity of the boreal forest in areas closer to the mine site compared to forested areas farther away, a conclusion that was supported by field measurements taken in UMA’s other study components.
Peat and Drift GPR Assessment – Tazi Twé 138kV Transmission Line
Transmission tower design requires detailed knowledge of the earth materials and stratigraphy at each proposed tower site. During the routing phase of the proposed Tazi Twé 138kV interconnection transmission line in northern Saskatchewan, SaskPower planners hired JDMA to conduct ground penetrating radar surveys along the proposed transmission line right-of-way to determine the typical depth of peat and/or drift overlying the bedrock. The surveys were carried out in wintertime to facilitate access to the peatlands and other low-lying areas along the right-of-way. The JDMA field team used Sensors & Software Noggin 100MHz and 250MHz GPR systems mounted in a customized cargo sled, sturdy enough to be pulled behind snowmobiles and ATVs but portable enough to be carried in the back of a helicopter. GPR profiles were calibrated from field observations and a series of measurements taken by a 2” hand-auger at some of the test sites. The field team also collected apparent ground conductivity measurements using a Geonics EM-31 ground conductivity instrument and recorded observations on right-of-way access, local geological setting and potential construction issues at the survey locations. The results of the surveys were compiled in a technical memo and provided valuable information to the SaskPower engineers designing the transmission structures.
Physical Environment Overview Study to Assess Seepage and Salinity Problem Areas Along and Near the St. Mary Main Canal from Ridge Reservoir to Murray Reservoir
The study was undertaken by JD. Mollard & Associates to investigate the usefulness of using air photos, mapping products, and available report data to detect seepage along the St. Mary River Irrigation District main canal between Ridge Reservoir (south of Lethbridge) to Murray Reservoir (southwest of Medicine Hat). A second objective of this study was to determine how Interpretation techniques might be used to help evaluate alternative proposals for solving seepage and related land deterioration problems. The data gathered for use in this study included agricultural soil survey maps and reports, surficial geology maps, bedrock geology maps, groundwater maps and reports, PFRA borehole logs and generalized soil profiles, water well logs, 1: 50,000 NTS mapping, 1: 80,000 LIFT air photos, 1: 20,000 panchromatic air photos, and 1: 10,000 colour air photos. The three different air photo collections obtained were all from different time periods. This allowed for a comparison of seepage and salinity characteristics through time. The desktop work was supplemented by a field reconnaissance and ground-truthing trip to the site. By using the background mapping and report data in conjunction with the air photo mapping, it was discovered that seepages and salinity concerns occurred in several environmental settings that were conducive to precipitating salts and moving ground water. These environments were identified for Alberta Environment staff to target remediation efforts.
Quill Lakes watershed analysis
JDMA worked on a project to characterize the long-term changes that have occurred in the Quill Lakes watershed. Lake properties that were documented included changes in the lake levels, amount of shoreline lost to flooding, water chemistry, water balance between Little and Big Quill Lakes. Other factors that were documented include stream discharge, and upland storage of wetlands.
Seasonal Electrical Ground Conductivity Surveys Between MLV 31 and MLV 32
This study was undertaken to assess the relationship between sessional fluctuations in electrical ground conductivity and stress corrosion cracking (SCC) in TransCanada’ Pipeline’s Main Line Valve section 31 (MLV 31) located near Brandon, MB. The study involved acquisition and analysis of seasonal electrical ground conductivity data (collected with Em38 and Em31 instruments) along MLV 31 in November, February, May and August. Analysis suggested that there may be an association between seasonal changes in electrical ground conductivity and seasonal fluctuations in soil moisture at pipe depth. Geological and hydrogeological conditions at the Brookdale SCC failure site, and at other known SCC sites in MLV 31, led to the hypothesis that the development of SCC at these sites was in part influenced by fluctuating water table and soil moisture. This hypothesis was validated by evaluating the condition of pipeline at several locations and relating it to the site conditions defined by EM survey data. The study showed that, with the exception of the Brookdale site, all known significant SCC sites could be differentiated from non-SCC and insignificant SCC sites by distinctive ranges of EM38dd vertical (1.5 m depth) and EM31-MkII vertical (6 m depth) conductivity values. Application of these criteria to the entire study area were then used to identify locations where there may be a higher likelihood of finding significant SCC. Based on study results, several suggestions were made for follow-up studies to further improve the understanding of factors affecting SCC susceptibility in MLV31 and models to locate sites with higher SCC susceptibility.
Study of soil salinity and agricultural land use in the Avonlea area
The purpose of this study was to track changes in known saline areas through time using air photos and to relate these changes to agricultural land use practices. Information on changing soil salinity conditions were used to establish trends for correlation with other parameters such as climate, grain prices, and production costs. The focus of the study was on sites where the PFRA staff have conducted on-farm salinity investigations in the Avonlea, Sk. area. Air photos were collected from 1947 to 1991 and Landsat satellite imagery was acquired from 1984 and 1990. Salinity areas were mapped and salinity ratings were applied. A cyclic trend in severity of salinity was revealed likely due to differing climactic conditions through time. Other patterns noted in soil salinity had to do with the landscape position of the sites. Soil salinity sites were located on plainstransitional, uplands/ side slopes, and bedrockcontrolled areas. The study sites located at different landscape positions also showed differing trends of soil salinity severity through time.
Terrain mapping and land use suitability mapping and assessment for infrastructure development on First Nations lands
Desktop terrain analysis and land use suitability studies were carried out for 24 First Nations in southern Saskatchewan. Each study consisted of detailed terrain analysis using large scale stereoscopic air photos and creation of 1:10,000 scale air photo maps showing terrain units and interpreted soil parent material composition and texture, depositional environment, surface landforms and limiting conditions for infrastructure development (for example, seasonal flooding, foundation conditions, surface drainage, etc.) The suitability of each terrain unit was evaluated for the following types of infrastructure development: light foundations, road subgrade construction and maintenance, traffic gravel source, liquid waste disposal, septic tank effluent disposal, deep trenching for water and sewage utilities and groundwater sources.
Terrain Sensitivity Mapping – the Great Sand Hills, southwest Saskatchewan
In 2005-2006 JDMA was part of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) conducting the Regional Environmental Study (RES) of the Great Sand Hills in southwestern Saskatchewan. The RES had been commissioned by the Saskatchewan Minister of the Environment following the recommendations of a 2004 report by the Great Sand Hills Land Use Committee, which had highlighted concerns about the ecological integrity and sustainability of the Great Sand Hills in the face of increased human activity. JDMA was responsible for mapping the economic geology and water resources within the RES review area and for assessing the sensitivity of the physical landscape to human activities (in particular, those activities associated with oil and natural gas exploration and development). To assess the relative level of sensitivity of the landscape in the Great Sand Hills to human disturbance, JDMA used LiDAR survey data (acquired by Saskatchewan Environment) and information from existing land cover and surficial geology studies to develop a GIS-based ‘terrain sensitivity’ model. The terrain sensitivity model considered several factors including soil type and texture, depositional environment, slope, aspect, existing landcover (including type and extent of vegetative cover) and current land use practices (which included identifying and mapping local ATV and truck trails not captured by the existing road network datasets). The resulting terrain sensitivity not only identified the areas potentially most sensitive to human activities but were also used in planning many of the field studies undertaken by other SAC members.