Present and Past Hydrology, Ecology and Climate of the Mackenzie Basin Deltas
Principal Investigator: Wolfe, Brent BBW (8)
Licence Number: 13801
Organization: Wilfrid Laurier University
Licenced Year(s): 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002
Issued: May 11, 2005
Project Team: Roland Hall (Co-Investigator, University of Waterloo), Tom Edwards (Co-Investigator, University of Waterloo), Mike Sokal (Graduate Student, University of Waterloo), Maggie Adam (Graduate Student, University of Waterloo), Bronwyn Brock (Graduate Student, University of Waterloo), Cherie Mongeon (Graduate Student, Wilfrid Laurier University)

Project Description: Summer 2005 field activities will focus on continuing multi-year studies of the modern hydrology and ecology of the Slave River Delta. The aim of this research is to improve knowledge of changes in lake water balance and chemistry and the subsequent responses of aquatic plants over seasonal and inter-annual time-scales under varying climatic and hydrological conditions. Overall, this information is critical for 1) establishing the range of modern hydrological and ecological conditions that currently exists in the delta, 2) testing and refining hypotheses on relationships between lake water balance, chemistry and aquatic plants, and 3) interpreting lake sediment records obtained from the delta.

Hydro-ecological research will focus on continued sampling and monitoring of lakes in the Slave River Delta. Lake water samples from six main study lakes will be collected in small bottles for analysis of physical and chemical properties with the aid of a local field assistant once/month by boat. Data loggers will be installed in these lakes to obtain continuous records of lake level fluctuations. In mid-summer, aquatic plants will be collected along transects of the six lakes to assess aquatic productivity. Detailed sampling and monitoring efforts will be placed into a regional hydrological context generated from three delta-wide lake water sampling campaigns in which over forty lakes will be sampled for physical and chemical properties. These samples will be obtained in mid-May, mid-July, and late September using a helicopter.

Itinerary: Fieldwork will be led by graduate students Mike Sokal, Maggie Adam, Bronwyn Brock and Cherie Mongeon, all of whom have extensive field sampling experience in the Slave River Delta from previous summers. Teams of students will conduct three sampling visits to the delta in mid-May, mid- July and late September. Data collected will fulfill major components of the graduate students’ thesis research. Dr. Brent Wolfe will be in the field in mid-May to assist the graduate students and to meet with and update the Fort Resolution Environmental Committee, the Deninu Kue First Nation and interested community members regarding research progress and plans, and receive input and feedback from the community. As in past years, the researchers intend to set up a sample preparation lab in the Deninu School, and expect to be able to provide lab tours and give slide shows to several classes of school children. The researchers will hire a local resident of Fort Resolution as a field assistant.
The study will be conducted on the Slave River Delta (61N; 133W) near Fort Resolution, NWT.