Hydrological Studies, Mackenzie Delta Region

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: physical sciences, hydrology, prediction models, water level, snow, snowmelt

Principal Investigator: Marsh, Philip (30)
Licence Number: 14498
Organization: Environment Canada - National Water Research Institute
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
Issued: Apr 08, 2009
Project Team: Cuyler Onclin (Field Party Chief, Env Can), Philip Marsh (Principal investigator, Env Can), Kelly Best (Field party member, Env Can), Newell Hedstrom (Field party member, Env Can), Heather Haywood (Field party member, Env Can), Mark Russell (Field party member, Env Can), Stefano Endrizzi (Field party member, Univ. Saskatchewan)

Objective(s): The objectives of this project are: (1) to develop improved understanding of, and ability to, predict snowcover formation and melt, as well as stream discharge in northern regions, and (2) to develop an improved understanding of, and ability to, predict water levels in the lakes and channels of the Mackenzie Delta.

Project Description: The objectives of this project are: (1) to develop improved understanding of, and ability to, predict snowcover formation and melt, as well as stream discharge in northern regions, and (2) to develop an improved understanding of, and ability to, predict water levels in the lakes and channels of the Mackenzie Delta. These will allow a better understanding of the impact of climate change and/or natural gas development.

In the April trip, the researchers’ primary activity at all sites is snow surveying. The May and June trips are focused on monitoring snowmelt at Trail Valley and Havikpak Creek, and installing water level recorders in the Delta. The June-July trip has an emphasis on the setup of meteorological towers (measuring such things as evaporation and other energy fluxes) that stay on site for the summer period only, as well as all water based work. This includes the measurement of streamflow in creeks, and the installation of all water based instrumentation, such as flowmeters and temperature and depth sensors. The September trip sees a repeat of these activities, as well as the take-down or removal of many instruments before winter freeze up.

The researchers intend to use Hank Rogers' cabin at Denis Lagoon for safe and dry storage of valuable scientific instrumentation and field equipment, and his dock as a staging point for the June/July and September portion of their field campaigns in the Denis Lagoon area. As well, Hank provides them with valuable local insight regarding safe snowmobile and boat routes to and from Denis Lagoon and the Richards Island area, and has also advised them on placement of both land and marine based instrumentation.
Doug Esagok was hired on 2 separate occasions for a total of 8 days as a field assistant helping with surveys and instrument installation in 2008 (as he was in 2005 to 2007). They hope to continue to hire Doug in 2009. Doug has also been a valuable asset in their safe boat navigation of Denis Lagoon and the surrounding lakes and river channels.


The results of this study are pending, as it is ongoing. Journal publications involving this work are available either on request, on line, or in the Inuvik Research Centre library.


The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from April 15 to September 20, 2009, at four primary study areas:

- Trail Valley Creek (68.7 deg N, 133.5 deg W, 45 km NW of Inuvik)
- Havikpak Creek (68.3341 deg N, 133.6045 deg W - ~10 km SE of Inuvik)
- Denis Lagoon (130 km N of Inuvik; 65 km W of Tuktoyaktuk, 69.3583 deg N, 134.6503 deg W)
- Big Lake, 130 km N of Inuvik; 75 km E of Tuktoyaktuk (69.3765N 134.9396W)