Coastal Geoscience Research in the Beaufort Sea and nearshore sediment dynamics of Tuktoyaktuk Harbour

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: monitoring, Beaufort Sea, coastal erosion, remote sensing, subsidence

Principal Investigator: Whalen, Dustin JR (6)
Licence Number: 15518
Organization: Geological Survey of Canada
Licenced Year(s): 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
Issued: Jul 24, 2014
Project Team: Angus Robertson (Geological Technician, NRCan-GSC), Patrick Potter (Geological Technician, NRCan-GSC), Paul Fraser (Geological Technician, NRCAN-GSC)

Objective(s): To monitor coastal change along the Beaufort Sea coastline; to monitor delta subsidence in the modern Mackenzie Delta; and to expand our knowledge of nearshore sedimentation in Kugmallit Bay in particular the approaches to Tuktoyaktuk Harbour.

Project Description: The primary objective of this research continues to be driven towards the safe and sustainable industrial and community development of the Beaufort Sea coastal nearshore region. The research provides the means to improve our knowledge of physical conditions in the coastal zone in order to help government agencies, corporations, and local residents understand, mitigate and reduce the impacts of natural changes. This research has 3 targeted objectives to 1. Monitor coastal change along the Beaufort Sea coastline; 2. Monitor delta subsidence in the modern Mackenzie Delta; 3. Expand our knowledge of nearshore sedimentation in Kugmallit Bay in particular the approaches to Tuktoyaktuk Harbour.

1. Coastal Monitoring of the Beaufort Sea Coastline
High resolution GPS surveys will take place at a number of coastal locations throughout the Mackenzie Delta, Richards Island and Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula area. Helicopters will be used as the primary means of transportation to and from each site. No more than a few hours will be spent at each site. The surveyor at each location will walk along the coastline recording positional data from a RTK-GPS system corrected to a local base station.

2. Mackenzie Delta Subsidence
High resolution GPS loggers will be positioned on permanent markers that have been placed throughout the Mackenzie Delta. Loggers will record positional information for a total of 3 days. A helicopter will be used as the primary means of transportation to and from each site. Researchers will only be on site for less than 1 hour during deployment and retrieval.

3. Nearshore Sedimentation of Tuktoyaktuk Harbour
Mid-June: Deployment of non-invasive seabed instruments to measure sediment mobility, waves, currents and water chemistry. In order to alleviate any negative interactions with ship traffic the instruments will be tagged with an acoustic release buoy that will only surface once triggered from the sea surface. Three instruments will be placed no more than 500 m from the shores of Tuktoyaktuk. The instruments will remain on the seabed until mid-August.
Mid-August: Geophysical surveys consisting of a small 10 KHz and 3.5 KHz sounder and targeted core sampling at 6-8 specific locations within the harbour and harbour approaches will take place during a 2 week period. Work will be performed on small 18-ft harbourcraft style boat.

In addition to the summer field work a number of community members from Inuvik and Aklavik have become interested and involved in our Spring Breakup newsletter. This is strictly on a volunteer basis and provides near real-time photographs and observations during ice breakup. The newsletter would not be successful without this local participation. As always the research team will continue to provide technical advice and present results to the communities within the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.

On-site consultation and results reporting has been undertaken in all communities and to the Inuvialuit Game Council (IGC), Inuvialuit Land Administration and the Fisheries Joint Management Committee by the Geological Survey of Canada (Dustin Whalen) at various times over the past several years. Project participants will be available to present past results and future project plans to the local communities of Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik during the field campaign. The project was presented by Dustin Whalen to the IGC in March 2014, as well as community public consultation meetings between March 3-8 2014 at all six of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) communities. A partnership with the Inuvialuit Land Administration will allow the results of this and past field work to be shared directly with ISR communities through various hardcopy products and digital products.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 24, 2014 to August 29, 2014.