Karst Specialist Association of BC

Elements of a Karst Assessment for Forestry Operations

Twelve Steps

Last revised January 5, 2017


1.       Review best source of geological mapping for area of interest and access the BCTS Karst Data Base for available karst data.

2.       Obtain and review all adjacent previous karst/cave assessments or surveys completed within two kilometers.

3.       Determine karst feature characteristics, bedding characteristic and depth.

4.       Estimate carbonate and non-carbonate recharge area. Estimate total past and potential hydrological flow for each watershed sub basin. Estimate spatially, intrusion zones, limestone quality and metamorphic zone states.

5.       Determine subsurface potential, concentration zones and depth and potential size of subsurface features.

6.       Determine search pattern type that offers the best probability of finding all significant karst features.

7.       Locate and map all significant karst features, important vulnerable karst areas, contact zones and fractures.

8.       Explore and survey all accessible subsurface features where pre-existing surveys are absent.

9.       Are the located features indicative of the estimated hydrological flow for the sub basin?

10.   Are the planned operational activities compatible with the known and potential subsurface features? What are the risks of surface operations to the subsurface features found or estimated?

11.   Important considerations: Referral to appropriate registered professional, such as, but not limited to: Geologist, Geomorphologist, Engineer, Biologist, Forester, Skilled subsurface exploration teams and the British Columbia Speleological Federation. Is the use of a ground penetrating radar or magnetometer warranted?

12.   It is our recommendation that all significant caves or karst features be referred to the British Columbia Speleological Federation for a complete investigation.

Liability exists on operational areas where proper karst surveys are lacking, or where field crews are not properly trained in karst surveys or feature identification. When a Karst Specialist is called into an area to assess karst features previously located by a forestry field crew, the twelve steps above still have to be considered with two important additional points that must be made known to the client.

1)       Assessing previously found karst features is not a Karst Assessment, rather a specific Karst Feature Assessment. There may be significant karst attributes elsewhere in or around the proposed operation.

2)       A predetermined random walkthrough of the unit must take place. If other new significant karst features are found on this walkthrough, it must be concluded that an insufficient karst survey was completed by the field crew. It must be recommended that a new search be implemented to locate all significant karst features that could be influenced by the proposed activity.