Lower McIntyre Creek: an urban stream within the City of Whitehorse
Background: McIntyre Creek and the proposed Porter Creek subdivision
Your team will be asked to conduct a variety of environmental monitoring activities and surveys along the stretch of McIntyre Creek that falls between the Alaska Highway and Mountain View Drive. See the image to the left for a visual description of the area. This region of McIntyre Creek has been the subject of considerable attention.
McIntyre Creek is joined by Fish Creek where it emerges from both the power plant and Icy Waters Ltd char farm. Icy Waters has been placing untreated waters into McIntyre Creek for more than 20 years. It has been argued that this effluent has given rise to algal blooms on Pumphouse Pond and through the downstream course of McIntyre Creek. The Creek flows down the valley adjacent to the Fish Lake road, under the Alaska Highway, through the green belt between Yukon College and the Porter Creek subdivision, under Mountain View Drive, past the old site of the City of Whitehorse city dump and then into the Yukon River. McIntyre Creek surrounds has been, and continues to be the focus of considerable public attention.
The City of Whitehorse submitted a plan in 2005 for a subdivision that extended an existing section of the larger Porter Creek subdivision. This plan was withdrawn. The City of Whitehorse resubmitted a development plan in late 2011. This plan was generally accepted by the Whitehorse City Council as a focus for additional study. In September 2011 Yukon College requested the valley of McIntyre Creek adjacent to the existing Yukon College lands be set aside for college use. This is not a new issue. In 2006, the then Community Services Minister Glenn Hart said, "We want to hear the public's views on how best to use this land. There has been an interest in protecting this land while developing some of it, as well as a desire for creating endowment lands for Yukon College. These proposals were never acted upon by previous governments and its now time to move this issue forward. We are consulting, in accordance with our commitment in the legislature, with Porter Creek residents, the City of Whitehorse, the Kwanlin Dün and Ta'an Kwach'an First Nation governments, Yukon College, and other stakeholders to provide a resolution to these outstanding issues." The most recent steps by the City, increases the possibilities for change to the valley of McIntyre Creek.
Information Provided on the website
You have been given maps of both the 2005 and the 2011 proposed subdivisions and the related road developments.
The EDI Report on the McIntyre Creek Wildlife Corridor Assessment Report
Yukon Water Board Reports on McIntyre Creek
Porter Creek Bench Environmental and Special Places Background Report
A number of public statements respecting proposed developments within the valley of McIntyre Creek
Pine Street Extension Porter Creek Feasibility Study September 2005
Water Theme: Water quality from the confluence of McIntyre Creek and Fish Creek to the confluence of the Yukon River
Task 1 Your group will be given lab results for samples taken from McIntyre Creek above and below the study area. Based on these lab results, the amounts of phosphates in the water, you are asked to speculate about possible upstream treatments.
Task 2 Your group is to conduct samples of the aquatic invert populations between 20 to 50 meters above and below the two bridges within the study area. Treat the lower as a water quality baseline assuming storm sewers from the proposed subdivision empty untreated into McIntyre Creek.
Task 3 Your group is to conduct turbidity tests along the course of McIntyre Creek. throughout the study area. If change or no change, speculate why this is the case.
Task 4 Your group is to conduct a visual analysis of the creek throughout the study area to assess possible sources of water pollutants. If any possible sources are identified, explore ways of addressing such pollutants.
Forestry Theme: Forestry: species distribution, riparian growth rates, carbon sequestering and ground cover and ecosystems riparian zones and upland zones
Task 1 Run a 100 meter transect from the riparian zone through to the upland area proposed for the subdivision. Along this transect, identify and map the location and species and DBH of all trees greater than 5 cm DBH within 5 meters either side of the transect line. Take a core sample of the largest of spruce and pine tree within the plot.
Task 2: Go to: http://www.cfl.scf.rncan.gc.ca/calculateurs-calculators/biomasse-eng.asp to determine the total above ground dry biomass for each tree cored, add 26% of the total weight for the root system. Calculate the net tree dry biomass. Then calculate the rate at which the pine and spruce sequester carbon.
Task 3: Use4 a 1 meter square quadrat plot at the 0 and 100 meter. Identify the ground cover, and giver the % cover of each.
Task 4: Record all invasive species within 1 meter of either side of the 100 meter transect line and a 50 meter transect line established along the proposed road. Use the key to identify the species and counts each of the species. Speculate on the source of the identified exotic plants and recommend ways of managing each of the exotics identified.
Theme: Soils: McIntyre Creek, drainage capacity, and possible runoff problems associated with the proposed subdivision plans.
Task 1: Identify the soils found in various locations throughout the proposed subdivision. Conduct soil analysis, identifying the nature of soil layers within the top 40 cm, give measures for all the characteristics identified on the soils chart.
Wildlife theme: McIntyre Creek as a wildlife corridor in an urban environment
Task 1. Identify through, scats, tracks, browse evidence the different animals that use the study area.
Task 2 Outline a process that you could establish a way of more accurately determining wildlife use of the area. (You may wish to study the report on the wildlife corridor for ideas.)
Task 3 Identify possible areas of conflict between wildlife and human use of the study area. Comment on the impacts of the proposed subdivision.
Task 4 Identify possible areas of conflict between wildlife and human use of the area focusing on the proposed road development.
Land Use Theme: Impacts of urban developments throughout the McIntyre Creek study area.
Task 1: Your task is to map the riparian zone within the study area and overlay this over images showing the proposed subdivision and road systems.
Task 2: Map existing disturbances in the area. This should include roads, quad tracks, trails and buildings. overlay this over images showing the proposed subdivision and road systems.
Task 3: Identify changes between the 2005 and the 2011 subdivision plans.
Task 4: Map areas your team identify as potential conflict areas with other interest groups, wildlife or environmental concerns.
Task 5: Conduct a survey of existing users of the area for their views on proposed developments. You may wish to include discussions with City planners, Yukon College administration and staff that use the area. (ie Renewable Resource Program)
Task 6: Describe the population projections for the area, considering the possibilities of differing baseline population counts. Reconcile these with the projections for expanded development and highway system.
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