Performance of cavity nesting birds breeding on reclaimed mine tailings

This study will assess the behaviour, physiology and reproduction of individual birds breeding on reclaimed mine tailings, and will provide a robust measure of the effectiveness of reclamation efforts on the Highland Valley Copper operating area. By examining a range of life-history traits in two ecologically distinct species, and comparing birds breeding on reclaimed mine tailings to those on land that has not historically been exposed to mining operations, we will also be capable of identifying individual measures of quality or reproductive investment that most closely track environmental disturbance. This may become the basis for future cost-effective impact assessments in all industrial sectors engaged in resource extraction, as individual responses to environmental disturbance can provide an “early warning” of future population declines. It has been argued that effective natural resource management requires the application of evolutionary principles such as selection, variation and gene flow, and this study will position Highland Valley Copper, and Teck Resources Ltd. more generally, at the forefront of this approach in the context of impact assessment.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Russell D. Dawson


Erin L. O’Brien & Liana M. Schmader


Teck Metals Ltd.


Environmental sciences


Mining and quarrying


University of Northern British Columbia



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