2005 Aquatic and Marine Environmental Studies Related to Barge-Based Facilities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region
Principal Investigator: Povey, Andrew (93)
Licence Number: 13794
Organization: Mackenzie Project Environment Group
Licenced Year(s): 2005
Issued: May 03, 2005
Project Team: Gary Ash, Serge Metikosh, Anil Beersing, Zsolt Kovats, Malcolm Lowings, local assistant

Objective(s): The preliminary design of the Niglintgak Gas Processing facility requires a number of engineering and environmental studies. The development of the facility also requires several permits, many of which have an environmental component. The Niglintgak Gas Processing facility may be constructed on a seaworthy barge, transported to a staging site in the Beaufort Sea, and then towed through the Mackenzie Delta channels to a sheltered location in Little Kumak Channel where the barge set-down site is proposed. The present study will determine the environmental conditions along the proposed towing routes and at the set-down site. Specific studies will include hydrology, oceanography, hydroacoustics, water quality and sediment quality (including geochemistry), and fish and fish habitat surveys.

Project Description: This project is a continuation of work that began in 2004. The Niglintgak Gas Processing facility may be constructed on a seaworthy barge, transported to a staging site in the Beaufort Sea, and then towed through the Mackenzie Delta channels to a sheltered location in Little Kumak Channel where the barge set-down site is proposed. This study will look at the environmental conditions along the proposed towing routes and at the set-down site. Specific studies will include hydrology, oceanography, hydroacoustics, water quality and sediment quality (including geochemistry), and fish and fish habitat surveys. The aquatics field crews will consist of three Mackenzie Project Environment Group researchers and a local assistant. Access to sites will primarily be by helicopter. ATVs, snowmobiles and boats may also be used to access selected sampling locations; where these are needed, they will be hired locally. The field crews will be based in Inuvik, or possibly Swimming Point, Camp Farewell, or Tuktoyaktuk. The researchers are planning three main research programs for spring, summer and fall. The spring field program will look at ice monitoring, break-up and flood conditions, installing water level monitoring stations, spring hydrology (for channel shapes and waterflow volumes), as well as ice thickness and water depth in the S-bend area of Kittigazuit Bay. The summer field program will consist of oceanographic studies (measuring currents and conductivity-temperature-depth profiles), hydroacoustic measurements (types and depths to channel bottoms), water and sediment sampling (calibrating and baselines data), summer hydrology, and fish and fish habitat surveys (including sampling with nets and by trawling). The fall field program will be done to learn more about the hydrology of the Delta during freeze-up, and field crews will record water flows and freeze-up patterns, as we;; as taking down their water level monitoring stations for the winter. A local assistant will be responsible for advising the field team on sensitive sites during the field work. A non-technical summary will be provided to the communities.