Hay River Ice Jam Study
Principal Investigator: Hicks, Faye E (12)
Licence Number: 14453
Organization: University of Alberta
Licenced Year(s): 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004
Issued: Jan 08, 2009
Project Team: Faye Hicks (Principal Investigator, University of Alberta), Robyn Andrishak (Sr. Research Engineer, University of Alberta), Joshua Maxwell (Research Engineer, University of Alberta), Chris Krath (Engineering Technologist, University of Alberta), Michael Brayall (MSc. Student, University of Alberta), Dave Watson (MSc. Student, University of Alberta), Liming Zhao (PhD. Student, University of Alberta), Shawne Kokelj (Hydrologist, DIAND), Meg McCluskie (Water Resources Technician, DIAND)

Objective(s): The objective of this research is to study ice processes on the Hay River, in order to facilitate the development of computer models to predict them.

Project Description: The objective of this research is to study ice processes on the Hay River, in order to facilitate the development of computer models to predict them. The hydraulic modeling techniques being employed also have the potential to address local issues such as the effects of berming and channel infilling on ice jam occurrence and severity. The researchers would ultimately like to be able to provide some flood warning tools to the community and to explore the impacts of development and climate variability on the frequency and severity of breakup ice jams.

In order to develop realistic models, it is important that the researchers have the opportunity to observe late winter ice and snow conditions, river breakup and, if possible, freezeup, in order to have a full understanding of the physical context of the historical data. Their primary objective for 2009 is to document the daily progression of river ice breakup, which they would do from small aircraft and also from the ground, since there are numerous road access points along the river.

Much of the relevant data is already collected by the Town Flood Watch Committee during breakup, so their primary focus is on obtaining data that is complementary to their efforts.

Members of the local community, including the Town of Hay River and the Kátl`odeeche First Nation, have been invited to accompany researchers on observational flights documenting breakup and will have the opportunity to assist with the field program. Some funding is available to hire members of these groups to aid with the field work. These groups also have the opportunity to provide input to the study in terms of information on issues and concerns that can be incorporated into the research.

Communication of results happens through personal meetings, presentations and discussions, and reports. The researchers will also do this through their Hay River Breakup web page.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from March 01 to 31, April 13 to May 15, and October 15 to December 11, 2009, along the Hay River from approximately Enterprise to the Town of Hay River.