Ajurak 2009 Field Data Collection Program

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: physical sciences, oceanography, marine biology, ecological survey

Principal Investigator: Hawkins, James R (2)
Licence Number: 14542
Organization: Imperial Oil Resources Ventures Limited
Licenced Year(s): 2010 2009
Issued: Jun 26, 2009
Project Team: Jeff Green (Project Coordinator , Kavik-AXYS Inc.), Dave Fissel (Physical Oceanography , ASL Environmental Sciences Inc.), Dave Thomas (Marine Water Quality , AXYS Technologies Inc.), Ted Elliott (Marine Benthos and Plankton, LGL Ltd.), Doug Chiperzak (Marine Fish , Kavik-AXYS Inc.), Ben Wheeler or Val Moulton (Marine Mammals, Kavik-AXYS Inc. or LGL Ltd.), To be determined (Geophysical Consultant , To be determined), To be determined (Ice Drift Buoy and Meteorological Station Specialist, To be determined)

Objective(s): The objective of this program is to extend the understanding of the physical and chemical oceanographic conditions in the deepwater areas of the Beaufort Sea around Ajurak, the plume front of the Mackenzie River, and several coastal harbour areas, including Tuktoyaktuk Harbour.

Project Description: Imperial Oil Resources Ventures Limited (Imperial) is planning to conduct the program on, and near, Exploration Licence 446 (Ajurak) in the Canadian sector of the Beaufort Sea. The 2009 Ajurak Field Collection Program (the program) will begin in July 2009, and is scheduled to be completed in March 2010 (this licence covers up to December 31, 2009). However if ice and weather conditions are difficult, or the required support vessels cannot be procured, Imperial proposes collecting in 2010 any information not collected in 2009.

The objective of this program is to extend the understanding of the physical and chemical oceanographic conditions in the deepwater areas of the Beaufort Sea around Ajurak, the plume front of the Mackenzie River, and several coastal harbour areas, including Tuktoyaktuk Harbour.

The planned activities for the program include: physical oceanographic surveys, including ice motion, meteorological, physical oceanography, coastal processes and sediment surveys; chemical oceanographic surveys; marine biological sampling, and aerial surveys of bowhead and beluga whales, and polar bears.

Individuals from the Inuvialuit communities will have the opportunity to be hired as research technicians. As an integral part of the research team, these technicians will work alongside the biologists and engineers on Canadian Coast Guard research vessels the Amundsen and Nahidik, small boats in Tuktoyaktuk Harbour and on aerial survey aircraft. Typical field tasks might include marine and freshwater fishery sampling and identification, wildlife surveys including marine mammals and birds, and other data collection. In addition, local harvesters will be asked to assist in data collection by participating in the subsistence fisheries survey planned as part of the program.

During the fall 2009, Imperial will meet with the Inuvialuit communities and co-management agencies to provide a presentation describing the status of the 2009 field data collection program. Ultimately, the field data will become public information as the data and its analysis will be incorporated into the Ajurak exploration drilling regulatory filings.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 01 to December 31, 2009, in offshore and nearshore areas of the Beaufort Sea and at several coastal locations.
Offshore activities for the program will occur in and near Ajurak. The program collection area is about 120 km north of the outermost edge of the Mackenzie Delta. Activities will occur about 25 km west, about 50 km north and about 425 km east of Ajurak.
Nearshore program activities will occur along the Mackenzie River plume front, where the fresh water of the Mackenzie River meets the water of the Beaufort Sea. Although the Mackenzie River plume front does not have a fixed location, it occurs south of Ajurak and north of the Mackenzie Delta, along the Mackenzie Shelf.
Coastal activities for the program will occur at: McKinley Bay, Summers Harbour, Wise Bay, the approaches to these locations, the approach to Tuktoyaktuk Harbour between the outer Fairway buoy and the harbour entrance, and inside Tuktoyaktuk Harbour.