The depth of icy permafrost below the active layer in northeastern British Columbia has been mapped in subparallel north-northwest and south-southeast zones, the thickest permafrost occurring in organic terrain near the Alberta border. Across the Rocky Mountain foothills in the west of the study area organic terrain does not contain icy permafrost, and permafrost occurs only on gentle northeast facing slopes. Slopes are the lands most sensitive to damage from line clearance operations, and the thawing of any icy permafrost present in the substrate increases erosion by water intercepted from the natural drainage, especially by warm pipelines. The water needs to be redirected back into the natural drainage systems.

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