Canadian Ranger Ocean Watch

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: community based monitoring, oceanography, sea ice

Principal Investigator: Williams, Bill (1)
Licence Number: 15441
Organization: Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Licenced Year(s): 2014
Issued: Mar 14, 2014
Project Team: Bill Williams (Oceanographer, DFO), Sarah Zimmermann/Jane Eert (Oceanographers, DFO), Mike Dempsey (Oceanographic Technician, DFO)

Objective(s): To work with community members to monitor oceanographic and sea-ice parameters in the winter waters around Canada to understand better the effects and progress of climate change and monitor the ocean circulation patterns as they might affect habitats for sea life.

Project Description: The projects main objectives are twofold; first, to work with community members (initially the rangers, but not limited to this group) to train them in the gathering of oceanographic data, to learn with them what is of interest in their use of the ocean environment, and to work with them in collecting it as well as sending the instruments out with Ranger Patrols for independent data collection. Second, the research team are interested in monitoring oceanographic and sea-ice parameters in the winter waters around Canada to understand better the effects and progress of climate change and monitor the ocean circulation patterns as they might affect habitats for sea life. If data is collected in the summer, this is to further the aim of filling the gaps in oceanographic knowledge in the north.

The Canadian Rangers conduct North Warning System and sovereignty patrols several times during the sea ice season. It has been arranged for them to carry an 8” gas ice auger to drill through the ice for water column profiling. A small internally recording CTD (Conductivity (salinity), Temperature and Depth) with dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll sensors will be lowered through the ice to the bottom by a hand cranked winch. At the profile sites, sea ice thickness, freeboard and snow depth will be measured. Air temperature and snow ice interface temperatures will also be taken to measure the maturity and ageing of the seasonal ice. At some selected sites, a small hand lowered net may be deployed to collect a plankton sample (max volume of sample 250ml).

In the summer measurements of sea water with the profiling CTD and small volume samples of sea water (less than 1 liter) will be collected using small boats.

No chemicals will be used.

Canadian Ranger Ocean Watch (CROW) is conceived as a joint science program between Department of Fisheries and Oceans oceanographers and Canadian Rangers. As such, the research team are involved with the community to carry out the measurements together, but also to determine which measurements and where would be of most interest to the locals. As well, when the scientists visit communities, the research team visits schools and other community organizations to talk about the nearby ocean and CROW's work.

The research team intends to visit these communities every year or every other year and will present results and ongoing progress of CROW with anyone who is willing to listen. Timing for these visits will likely be in the winter, organized around the ranger exercises. There is a website being built to archive and make available the data collected in Northwest Territories as well as Nunavut. For this year, the research team are in the process of contacting the Hunters and Trappers Committee’s and hamlet offices to arrange for any kind of presentation the research team can make while in the communities.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from March 13, 2014 to December 31, 2013.