Enhancement of Permafrost Monitoring Network and Collection of Baseline Terrain Information in Mackenzie Valley Corridor, NWT

Regions: Gwich'in Settlement Area, Sahtu Settlement Area, Dehcho Region

Tags: physical sciences, geology, ground temperature, permafrost, pipeline corridor, topography

Principal Investigator: Smith, Sharon S (16)
Licence Number: 14088
Organization: Geological Survey of Canada
Licenced Year(s): 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
Issued: Dec 08, 2006
Project Team: Sharon Smith (Principal Investigator, GSC), Larry Dyke (Advisor, GSC), Mark Nixon (Team Member, GSC), Dan Riseborough (Team Member, GSC), Shiqiang Ye (Primary Contact, Team Member, GSC)

Objective(s): This project aims to provide baseline knowledge of permafrost and terrain conditions (specifically ground temperature, ground ice and geotechnical soil properties) and improve characterization of terrain sensitivity in the Mackenzie Valley. Project work will focus on monitoring ground temperature and active layer to detect changes in permafrost conditions resulting from surface disturbance or climate change with the goals of improving prediction of future response, and providing information which contributes to environmental impact assessment and mitigation of northern development, land use planning and climate change assessments. This is Year 2 of the project.

Project Description: Forty-four sites will be monitored during the course of the project: four sites in Gwich'in Settlement Area, twenty-two sites in the Sahtu Settlement Area and eighteen sites in the Deh Cho Region. Preferred locations will be chosen near existing highway/winter roads or the existing pipeline, trail and cutlines, for continuous site accessibility and to minimize disturbance to the environment. One or two boreholes up to 20 m depth will be drilled at each site in order to capture local environmental variability. Air rotary drills will be used and no drill fluids will be required. Temperature cables will be installed in boreholes. Data loggers connected to the cables will provide a continuous record of ground temperatures and reduce the need for frequent site visits. Soil samples will also be obtained from selected boreholes to characterize the ground ice and geotechnical conditions. In total up to 80 boreholes will be drilled in 2007. Additional instrumentation may be installed at select sites to record climate related information. Contracts for operations will be awarded upon receipt of all necessary permits and approvals and an access crew will be mobilized shortly thereafter (with drilling expected to commence in February, 2007). The crew will be mobilized and operated from nearby communities, such as Fort Simpson, Tulita, Norman Wells, Fort Good Hope and Inuvik. No camping will be required. For sites close to the highway and winter road, a truck-carried drill rig will be used, travel between the communities and the sites will be by truck. For sites around and south of Fort Simpson and north of Fort Good Hope, a heli-portable, light drill rig will be used; the crew will travel to sites by helicopter. It is estimated that site access and preparation will require up to one day and drilling operations and installation of instruments will take one to two days for a total of two to three days for each site. The total duration of fieldwork will be up to three months.

Following site establishment, on an annual basis, a short visit (a few hours at each site) will be required to retrieve data from instrumentation. Access to these sites will be by helicopter and/or road (if near town, or in winter) and by foot. NWT communities will be informed of the findings of the study through the Scientific Research Licence application process and through the land use permitting process within land claim areas. Data generated by the project will be made available through Geological Survey of Canada publications and permafrost temperature data will be disseminated through the Canadian Permafrost Monitoring Network website (www.canpfnetwork.com). Publications from this study will be sent to the regional regulatory organizations. Presentations will also be given at community meetings.
The study will be conducted from January 1 to December 31, 2007 at the following locations:
Norris Creek (68° 23'59.18"133°18'30.86"), Campbell Lake (68°14'35.31" 133° 5'45.50"), North Caribou (68° 8'52.21" 132°56'13.38"), Thunder River Airstrip (67°29'4.09" 130°49'34.06"), Little Chicago (67°17'46” 130°20'9”), Little Chicago Creek (67° 5'16" 129°59'47"), Lake Yelta (66°45'27" 129°26'32"), Loon River (66°29'40" 128°51'37"), Hare Indian River (66°18'49" 128°32'15"), Jackfish (66°17'12" 128°51'37"), Fort Good Hope South (66º12'32" 128º29'43"), Snafu Creek (66º00'05" 128º20'54"), Chick Lake (65 º53'35" 128 º14'24"), Donnelly River (65 º 52'07" 128 º 11'21"), Gibson Lake (65 º 44'48" 127 º 53'17"), Hanna River (65 º 40’15" 127 º 49'50"), Elliot Creek (65 º 31’20" 127 º 37'13”), Oscar Creek (65 º 26'24" 127 º 26'29"), Billy Creek North (65 º 24'09” 127 º 19'06"), Vermillion Creek (65 º 05'41" 126 º 08'06"), Police Island-2 (64 º 52'46" 125 º 06'35"), Police Island-1(64 º 50'09"125 º 00'48"), Old Fort Point (64 º 39'09"124 º 50'50"), Little Smith (64 º 25'59"124 º 44'24"), Saline River (64 º 17'37"124 º 30'56"), Steep Creek (64 º 11'06" 124 º 22'11"), Blackwater (63°55'13.49" 124° 7'6.84"), Ochre River (63°29'56.92" 123°37'40.06"), Smith Creek(63° 8'42.73" 123°15'28.28"), South of Smith Creek (63° 2'14.70" 123°11'35.82"), river between two mountains (62°56'30.96" 123°11'53.34"), McConnell (62°48'50.13" 123° 7'36.39"), Willowlake River (62°42'11.84" 123° 4'54.89"),
Willowlake River South (62°37'35.96" 123° 3'7.99"), Ebbutt Hill(62°18'59.32" 122°24'19.85"), Trail River (62° 5'25.00" 121°45'53.46"), Harris River (61°52'36.77" 121°17'25.58"), Manners Creek (61°37'35.69" 121° 6'17.87"), Jean Marie Creek (61°26'4.59" 120°56'40.40"), Trout River (61° 1'5.58" 120°35'16.55"), Trout Road Crossing (60°50'3.60" 120°29'3.94"), Trainor Lake (60°32'7.76" 120°14'41.51"), Kakisa Sources (60°16'10.60" 120° 0'13.25"), and Kakisa River (60° 3'34.74" 120° 0'26.34").