CSI Husky Lakes – Evaluation of hydro-climatic drivers of contaminant transfer in aquatic food webs in the Husky Lakes Watershed

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: contaminants, fish, traditional knowledge, community based monitoring

Principal Investigator: Gantner, Nikolaus (Klaus) (3)
Licence Number: 15265
Organization: Gantner Consulting Services (and ARI Inuvik)
Licenced Year(s): 2013 2012 2011
Issued: Jun 05, 2013
Project Team: Jolie Gareis (co-lead, Aurora Research Institute), Donald Ross (Technician, Aurora Research Institute), Jennie Knopp (Community Based Liasion, Inuvik, Joint Secretariat, Inuvik), Nikolaus Gantner (co-lead, Gantner Consulting Services (Owner)), Local persons Tuk and Inuvik (Field assistants (2-4), hired through HTCs)

Objective(s): To provide baseline information on contaminant levels, incorporate Traditional Knowledge (TK), and jointly plan future monitoring based on these and other resources; to build capacity locally by providing training in sampling and monitoring techniques to local persons, and; to establish a monitoring plan that incorporates science and TK-based data which provides information on fisheries and fish habitat in lakes along the proposed Inuvik-Tuk all-weather road corridor to the communities.

Project Description: The overall goals are to:
1. Provide baseline information on contaminant levels, incorporate Traditional Knowledge, and jointly plan future monitoring based on these and other resources;
2. Build capacity locally by providing training in sampling and monitoring techniques to local persons, and;
3. Establish a monitoring plan that incorporates science and TK-based data which provides information on fisheries and fish habitat in lakes along the proposed Inuvik-Tuk all-weather road corridor to the communities, Fisheries Joint Management Committee (FJMC)/Dpertment of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Tuk-Inuvik Working Group (TIWG), GNWT Ministry of Transportation (MOT), as well as other decision makers;

The continuation of this research project (years 3+4) serves three general objectives:
1. Completion of the scientific research conducted in years 1 and 2;
2. Communication of results to communities;
3. Initiation of community based monitoring of selected parameters through trained community members;

Local people of Inuvik and especially Tuktoyaktuk utilize the Husky Lakes fish (e.g., lake trout, white fish) extensively for subsistence hunts and consumption. Many families from Tuktoyaktuk spend the spring on the lakes to collect lake trout for subsistence consumption (jigging through the ice), while some families use nets under the ice in the fall to, in part, collect food for their dogs. All other lakes in this study (Noell, Yaya and Big Lake) are currently frequently utilized by members of both communities, while lakes along the proposed road could become of interest, once they are more easily accessible. No systematic knowledge exists on fish presence or absence in most lakes along the road corridor. Mercury concentrations in fish from the lakes that are commonly used for subsistence fishing by community members are mostly unknown. This project has begun to address these knowledge gaps and the research team would like to continue the research in collaboration with the communities.

Communication with Northern partners is a key component during the field trips and throughout the project duration. The research team have allocated extra time for this in the field program schedules, to allow for meetings and presentations before and after field trips. During the first year of this study, the research team have publicly presented the plans or findings at Kitty Hall in Tuktoyaktuk, Aurora Research Institute (ARI),and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation immediately before going in or after returning from the field. The research team have also circulated the poster presented at the Northern Contaminants Program (NCP) workshop widely (Hunters and Trappers Committee offices, Inuvialuit Land Administration, DFO, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Environment Canada). The research team have provided regular progress reports to the NCP program, ARI Inuvik, and a Polar Continental Shelf Project (PCSP) Science report. Preliminary results will be presented to local communities and at national and international meetings of the respective sub-disciplines (NCP Results Workshop in Sept 2013). Results will be published in 6high impact peer-reviewed journals (STOTEN special issue 2013), in adequate reports (NCP, PCSP, Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program), and media (local radio etc). The research team have attached the NCP Synopsis Report 2011/12 and have created a profile on the Polar Data Catalog. The research team will continue to communicate the research plans and progress before and after the fieldwork to all Southern and Northern partners. Updates are regularly posted on the ARI website and the Husky Lakes Research Groups Facebook page.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from June 3, 2013 to December 31, 2013.