Geomorphology

Using insight from the past to develop innovative solutions for the future

Geomorphology is the study of landforms and the processes that shape them. At Palmer Environmental Consulting Group Inc. (PECG), our geomorphologists leverage their knowledge of river, hillslope and glacial processes to reveal insights that enable our clients to advance their projects more efficiently and more confidently.

We provide expert terrain/soils mapping services to mining and infrastructure projects, and specialized river erosion assessment and channel design services to land development projects.

Our 20 years of combined geomorphological experience has enabled us to complete projects from British Columbia to Labrador and across northern Canada in five core disciplines:

Terrain/Soils Mapping

A terrain/soils map distinguishes areas according to surficial materials, textures, landforms and geomorphological processes.

At PECG, we generate our maps using digital ‘softcopy’ photo-interpretation workstations to take advantage of data overlay analyses and optimized on-screen stereo-viewing.

Our team leverages experience gained from mapping projects in British Columbia to Labrador to help clients in mineral exploration, mine permitting and pipeline engineering planning.

Our maps provide a basis for Soil Sampling Suitability mapping, terrestrial ecosystem mapping, aggregate (sand/gravel) resource assessment, archaeological site predictive modelling, infrastructure site and route selection, and geotechnical engineering planning.

Geohazard Characterization

Geohazards such as landslides, snow avalanches, floods and permafrost degradation may pose risks to existing or proposed infrastructure. PECG’s geomorphologists work closely with project engineers to identify, characterize and develop strategies for mitigating such risks.

We have developed a unique specialty in mapping and interpreting permafrost hazards through our continued involvement with government-led research on the implications of climate change in zones of discontinuous permafrost.

We have expertise in a number of distinct areas, including terrain stability mapping, local-scale permafrost distribution and hazard mapping, outburst flood hazard assessment, geomorphic impact assessment of landslide-generated waves, and Erosion and Sedimentation Risk Assessment.

Geoarchaeology Interpretation

Geoarchaeology uses geological and geomorphological insight to optimize archaeological investigations.

PECG’s geomorphologists have completed detailed interpretations of landform habitation suitability and land disturbance history along hundreds of kilometres of proposed pipeline corridors in Alberta and British Columbia, in support of archaeological assessments and predictive modelling.

Our expertise in Quaternary geology enables us to form a clear picture of landscape evolution and ‘rule out’ areas for detailed investigation where the preservation potential of archaeological artifacts is low.

Our interpretive contributions support Archaeological Overview Assessments, real-time (on-site) field interpretation and paleontological studies.

River Erosion Assessment

River bed and bank erosion is a natural process, yet it may pose a risk to bridges and culverts or nearby property if not properly accommodated or mitigated. The ability to predict future trends in river adjustment is particularly important in areas of new or expanding development.

PECG’s expertise in fluvial geomorphology has enabled us to complete erosion and meander belt assessments, in support of land development projects, and provide recommendations for mitigating continued erosion while maintaining or enhancing existing aquatic habitat values.

We have applied our expertise in river erosion to studies of meander belts and 100-year erosion allowances, channel stability and erosion thresholds, and historical channel adjustments.

Natural Channel Design

Streams provide critical habitats for diverse communities of aquatic and terrestrial species. Where impacted, the productivity of these habitats may be compromised.

An understanding of fluvial geomorphology is the cornerstone to effective, self-sustaining ‘natural channel designs’ developed for channel realignments and habitat restoration and enhancement initiatives.

PECG’s fluvial geomorphologists and fisheries biologists work together using a watershed-based approach and base our designs on natural analogues in order to restore the form, processes and ecological functions of impacted reaches.

We have applied our expertise to aquatic habitat restoration, fish habitat offsetting (compensation), fish barrier mitigation and bioengineering.