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Jasper National Park of Canada

Marmot Basin Ski Area Site Guidelines for Development and Use

5.7 Snowmaking and Support System

Ski Area Management Guidelines

"Expansion, modification or introduction of snowmaking can be considered. Long-term decisions on snowmaking will be made in the long range planning process. Where applicable, long-term water withdrawal limits and protocols will be established to ensure minimum stream flows are maintained and a healthy aquatic environment. Limits and protocols will be subject to review and adjustment based on the hydrological information available at the time the application for a water permit is sought. Ongoing monitoring will be required. Snowmaking operations will be addressed as part of the Best Management Practices component of the Long-Range Plan."

Page 4 and 5, Ski Area Management Guidelines , Minister of Environment, December 7, 2006

Park Management Plan Direction

  • Ensure in-stream flow needs for aquatic and riparian systems take precedence over withdrawals or diversions of surface and ground water.

Objectives

  • Reduce/minimize impacts on vegetation, aquatic environments and wildlife.
  • Provide early season coverage to contribute to a successful Christmas season and quality visitor experience.
  • Ensure the highest levels of efficiency in terms of power demands and emissions and fuel consumption related to machine grooming time.
  • Explore use of alternate water sources.

Existing Situation

  • Increased snowmaking is desirable to assure good opening conditions, particularly over the Christmas holidays.
  • Water supply is limited to collected snow melt and rain water. This is also the same supply for potable and wastewater needs.
  • An interim snow making system is now operational and covers the lower runs.

Site Guidelines

5.7.1 A review of the interim snowmaking system will take place as part of a Long-Range Plan to determine its effectiveness for long-term operation. Expansion of snow making capacity and making the interim system permanent (including burial of piping) can be considered subject to the results of the review of the interim snow making system. Map #6 indicates the existing area covered by snowmaking and the expanded area Marmot Basin wishes to pursue and that can be considered. A strategy for water withdrawal and water management, proposals to make the interim system permanent and any proposal for expansion of the terrain covered by snow making will be addressed through a Long-Range Plan. The water management strategy will addresses the following:

  • The ecological management parameters (see section 5.2);
  • Results of the assessment of the interim snowmaking system including the application of specific mitigations identified in the environmental assessment for the project;
  • Approaches to using different water sources to support snowmaking, potable water and waste water management requirements;
  • Water conservation;
  • Riparian community water requirements (specific investigations on the aquatic and riparian wildlife biota will be needed to determine habitat needs and limitations - see SEA);
  • Water quality for Basin and Portal Creeks (baseline information will need to be obtained - see SEA);
  • Review on-hill drainage channels; restore natural downstream flows in Basin Creek (see SEA);
  • In-stream flow volumes, seasonal flow patterns natural drainage patterns and erosion and sedimentation (specific hydrological studies will need to be undertaken to adequately determine requirements - see SEA);
  • Potential adjustments that may be necessary as a result of climate change; and
  • Potential use of snowmaking additives. No chemicals or other additives of any form will be introduced into the snowmaking process without the approval of Parks Canada. Exploration of the positive benefits of additives in reducing water and energy requirements should also be addressed in the environmental management system.

5.7.2 Water use limits and protocols will be determined in a Long-Range Plan. A water permit will be established.

5.7.3 Water transfers from off-lease will not be permitted.

5.7.4 Alternate water storage can be considered.

5.7.5 Below tree line, structures to reduce snowmaking requirements can be considered.

5.7.6 On an exception to policy basis as set out in Section 4.0, the potential construction of a mid-mountain reservoir can be considered, subject to the results of the water management strategy, to minimise the power demands associated with pumping water uphill and to address broader ski area water requirements. If a proposal is advanced, the reservoir will be designed in accordance with ecological management parameters (see section 5.2) and to collect water flow during high water flow times allowing for seasonal variations in downstream water flow that correspond to the needs of aquatic and riparian communities.

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