Evaluation of extreme events (ice jams) and deep scour holes on Mackenzie Delta Channels

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: flooding, ice thickness, ice jams

Principal Investigator: Prowse, Terry D (12)
Licence Number: 14294
Organization: National Water Research Institute, Universiy of Victoria
Licenced Year(s): 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004
Issued: Feb 29, 2008
Project Team: Dr. Daniel L. Peters (Research Scientist, Environment Canada/W-CIRC/UVic), Dr. Spyros Beltaos (Research Scientist, Environment Canada/CCIW), Dr. B.G. Krishnappan (Research Scientist, Environment Canada/CCIW), Mr. Tom Carter (Research Technician, Environment Canada/NHRC), Mr.Laurent de Rham (Physical Scientist, Environment Canada/W-CIRC/UVic), Ms. Holly Goulding (Graduate Student -, Department of Geography, UVic)

Objective(s): The objective of this study is to quantify the frequency and magnitude of ice jams in the Mackenzie River Delta; the hydroclimatic conditions controlling the occurrence of ice jams and associated floods; to develop a hydraulic model of ice jamming for the Mackenzie Delta, and to investigate the importance of deep scour holes in the Mackenzie River.

Project Description: The objective of this study is to quantify the frequency and magnitude of ice jams in the Mackenzie River Delta; the hydroclimatic conditions controlling the occurrence of ice jams and associated floods; to develop a hydraulic model of ice jamming for the Mackenzie Delta, and to investigate the importance of deep scour holes in the Mackenzie River.

Quarterly field trips are scheduled for mid-March, May/June, July/August, and late September, depending on conditions. Skidoos towing Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) gear will be used to qualify the stratigraphy of the scour holes at select sites, to quantify ice thickness, and investigate any anomalous ice formations. Ice cores will be taken using power augers. Sediment cores will be extracted from the channel bed at the scour hole sites. Detailed channel cross-section surveys (GPR, Sonar, total station, etc.) will be conducted at ice jamming sites, and historical flood levels will be georeferenced. The sites will be revisited during the open-water period to perform additional surveys.

Result will be presented and a demonstration of Ground Penetrating Radar will be offered to interested students and community organizations. There is a possibility of hiring a local guide and equipment. Copies of research publications will be sent to Aurora Research Institute library.
Fieldwork will be conducted from March 01 to October 31, 2008 at known ice jamming and flooding sites (e.g., Aklavik) and at hydrometric stations downstream of Arctic Red. The scour hole portion of the study will concentrate on the East Channel of the Mackenzie River between Tsiigehtchic and 10km downstream from Swimming Point. Specific locations are: Middle Channel near Horseshoe Bend (68 18'N, 134 25'W), East Channel (Scour Hole #10, 68 14' 3"N, 133 49' 9"W) near Willy Simon's cabin south of Inuvik, and Tsiigehtchic (67 27' 23"N, 133 45' 13"W).