Scott Base Redevelopment CEE environmental monitoring report: Year one (January 2019)
[ERI-139] O'Neill - Scott Base Redevelopment CEE Environmental Monitoring Report_Year One_January 2019.pdf
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O’Neill, T. 2019. Scott Base Redevelopment CEE environmental monitoring report: Year one (January 2019). Environmental Research Institute Report No. 139. Client report prepared for Antarctica New Zealand. Environmental Research Institute, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. 52pp. ISSN 2463-6029 (Print), ISSN 2350-3432 (Online).
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/15035
An understanding of the soils and the underlying permafrost surrounding Scott Base is important to detect impacts of environmental change or human activities, such as the redevelopment of Scott Base, on the unique soil communities and on geomorphological processes. The Scott Base Redevelopment (SBR) is the largest project ever undertaken by New Zealand in Antarctica. It is a requirement of the Environmental Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty and New Zealand's Antarctica (Environmental Protection) Act (1994) that an environmental impact assessment be completed prior to any activity taking place in Antarctica. A Comprehensive Environmental Evaluation (CEE) of the project is being completed in order to support decision-making with an assessment of predicted environmental impacts linked with the redevelopment. A comprehensive monitoring programme was set up to verify the accuracy of the environmental impact assessment presented in the CEE and to detect unforeseen impacts or impacts that are more significant than expected. The soil monitoring sites were established in January 2019 to assess current levels of biodiversity and abundance of invertebrates and microbial communities, along with soil chemical characteristics, and visual characteristics within the wider Scott Base redevelopment area. These 25 soil monitoring plots establish a baseline against which future changes can be detected. My role in the project was to determine the chemical characteristics of soil from the monitoring plots, undertake visual site assessments around each monitoring plot, measure depth to ice-cement, and install 12 passive dust samplers adjacent to the monitoring plots. This report will give background information on the general characteristics of Scott Base soils, including information on active layer, permafrost, soil moisture, soil organisms, and evidence of natural and human induced changes to the soil-permafrost environment. This will be followed by an explanation of the methodology, results and discussion, on my aspect of this multidisciplinary project.
Environmental Research Institute, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand