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  • NIRB File No:


  • Application No.:


  • Project Type:

    Scientific Research

  • Project Name:

    Watershed and permafrost responses to a changing climate in the Resolute Bay area

Completed Screening

  • Queen's University
  • Queen's University, Scott Lamoureux
  • Department of Geography and Planning MC D201
  • Kingston, ON K7L3N6 Canada
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As climate warms, permafrost degradation is accelerating, with numerous impacts on ground stability and soil erosion. Simultaneously, precipitation regimes are expected to shift toward more rainfall and less snow, affecting late summer water quality and sediment transport in rivers. The modification of hydrology is a concern for water quality and availability in Arctic communities and will directly impact freshwater ecosystems, which are among the most vulnerable yet the most poorly understood in North America. This project is aimed at investigating potential effects of permafrost degradation and of increased rainfall on the hydrology, water quality and sediment dynamics of the McMaster River near Resolute Bay, Nunavut. This research will act as a parallel study to the watershed the community is using as a water source, and will provide crucial knowledge of permafrost and hydrological conditions in and around the community. Fieldwork will performed by Michel Paquette, and based at the Polar Continental Shelf Program (PCSP) in Resolute Bay. The field sites will be accessed by ATV during the month or so of operation. Water sampling of 2L of water for ion, DOC, isotopic composition and sediment concentration will be conducted bi-weekly, and during intense precipitation events at major junctions of the river. Samples will be filtered in the Dr. Roy M. “Fritz” Koerner Laboratory at PCSP, and prepared for further analysis at the Facility for Biogeochemical Research on Environmental Change and the Cryosphere of Queen’s University upon return. Permafrost coring will be performed in 6 locations (including Resolute Bay) using a modified portable earth auger, in order to determine ground ice content and ice composition in selected environmental settings. The cores will be described in-situ and transported to the Geocryolab at the University of Montreal for analysis.Research is conducted near Resolute Bay, where concerns arose in the community concerning permafrost stability since a landslide event occurred in 2017. The facilities and support of PCSP as well as the expressed interest in the community make it an ideal occasion to provide key information to decision makers, while also producing general scientific knowledge. Employment of community members, and general outreach and communication with the community during the field season will provide essential feedback to our research. Community involvement could result in permafrost coring and permafrost temperature monitoring in the hamlet of Resolute Bay, possibly in partnership with the population and/or the local school.Data will be used to publish papers in scientific journals, as well as to provide information to local officials. We will provide feedback to the community on our finding during the 2019 field season, and potentially during the winter months if research funding allows a visit.

Assessment Phase / Activity
  • Application screening started 2018-07-04
  • Commenting period 2018-07-16
  • Received Comment submissions from Parties: Notice re comments received 2018-07-17
  • Board voting 2018-08-03
  • Board voting 2018-08-04
  • SDR Issued 2018-08-08
  • NOI Issued 2018-08-08
  • Application screening completed 2018-08-08
  • Received Project Licences, Permits and Authorizations from AA 2018-08-10
  • North Baffin
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