Niglintgak Field Development 2005 Bathymetry Research Study
Principal Investigator: Seligman, Ben (3)
Licence Number: 13818
Organization: Shell Canada Limited
Licenced Year(s): 2005 2004
Issued: May 26, 2005
Project Team: James Williams (Chief Hydrographic surveyor), Dr. Robert Page (Medic, boat operator), two computer technicians (Data process and collecting), Harley Henton (camp manager and mechanic), wildlife monitor, environmental monitor , Darwin Monita (Project Manager and Equipment Operator)

Project Description: Shell Canada Limited will be surveying the river bottom to see if it is practical to use a barge-mounted gas conditioning facility at the Niglintgak Gas Field in the Mackenzie Delta. The researchers will do a bathymetric survey to identify locations that are not wide enough and/or deep enough for barge passage. Bathymetry is the science of measuring water depths and showing the variations in depth on a map, just like a topographic map on land that shows hills and valleys. Sonar, or sound-based, technology is a common method of obtaining bathymetric information. Sonar measures distances underwater by emitting a high frequency signal, and then measuring how long it takes for the sound signal to reflect back to the source. Transducers on the bottom of a survey boat’s hull are used both to transmit and receive signals as the boat moves forward. This high frequency sound pulses cannot be heard by marine mammals.

The researchers plan to do their survey work some time between August 1 and September 30, 2005 for the proposed Reindeer Channel route, Kittigazuit “S-bends”, Camp Farewell and the Niglintgak site. They need about 25 days for the survey, but have allowed themselves some extra days in case of equipment malfunction or bad weather. As discussed with the community groups, the researchers will not do any bathymetric surveying in the Beluga Management Zones until after August 15, and they will stop surveying if they encounter areas where harvesters are working. They will observe the minimum flight altitudes and keep the number of flights to a minimum. They will be hiring a local wildlife monitor and environmental monitor, and have invited students and community representatives to participate in the project. The field team will be staying either in mobile tent camps as they did in 2004, or on a house boat. A video and maps from the project will be displayed at Aurora College.
The study will take place in the Mackenzie Delta and near-shore areas: Reindeer Channel Route from Middle Channel to Shallow Bay and Mackenzie Bay, Camp Farewell docking site, Niglintgak barge site, Kumak Channel, and Kittigazuit “S-bends.”