Reproductive Ecology of Tundra Swans in the Mackenzie Delta Region
Principal Investigator: Swystun, Heather (2)
Licence Number: 13184
Organization: University of Northern BC
Licenced Year(s): 2002 2001
Issued: Apr 28, 2001
Project Team: Jim Hines, Dr. Russ Dawson

Objective(s): The Mackenzie Delta is one of the most important areas for breeding ducks, geese, and swans in North America. The Delta is also an important area for oil and gas development and has experienced a significant climate warming compared to other regions of North America. Both oil and gas and waterfowl are important resources to the Gwich'in and Inuvialuit. Close monitoring of waterfowl is needed to ensure sustainable development of oil and gas resources and to identify the effects of climate change in the region. Tundra swans are an effective species by which to monitor change due to the importance of the area and climate to their nesting success. They are easily observed from the air, and are sensitive to human disturbance from the ground. One third of the Eastern population of tundra swans breeds in this region and little is known about the basic habitat requirements and biology of this species. This information is required for effective population management. The proposed study will take place in both the Inuvialuit and Gwich'in Settlement Regions and will document Inuvialuit and Gwich'in local knowledge of tundra swan distribution, abundance, and biology. A parallel science project that involves surveying and ground studies of swans will be carried out.

Project Description: Two individuals from each of the communities of Inuvik, Aklavik, Tsiigehtchic, Fort McPherson, and Tuktoyaktuk will be interviewed about their local knowledge of tundra swan biology. Information collected will educate the researcher about local tundra swan ecology and may help generate questions that are important to communities. Interview methods will follow those used by the Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Co-op. Interviewers will be hired in each of the communities and training will be provided on how to perform the interview. The same questions will be asked in each community. The identity of those people interviewed will remain confidential and results will be presented as local knowledge about tundra swans in the Mackenzie Delta. HTCs, RRCs, and Chief -in-Council's for each community will sign off on any information before it is presented. A presentation will be made to HTCs and RRCs on the results of all the interviews by the interviewee.