Beaufort Sea Coastal Geoscience Research
Principal Investigator: Whalen, Dustin JR (6)
Licence Number: 15915
Organization: Geological Survey of Canada
Licenced Year(s): 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
Issued: Jun 27, 2016
Project Team: Angus Robertson (Technical support, Natural Resources Canada), Paul Fraser (Technical support, Natural Resources Canada), Gavin Manson (Science, Natural Resources Canada), Patrick Potter (Technical support, Natural Resources Canada), Lisa Loseto (Science, Department of Fisheries and Oceans), Shannon MacPhee (Technical support, Depratment of Fisheries and Oceans)

Objective(s): To improve 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.

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 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 the knowledge of nearshore sediment and ocean dynamics in Kugmallit Bay in particular the area encompasses within the Tarium Niryutait Marine Protected Area (TN MPA) and the 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. The surveyor at each location will walk along the coastline recording positional data from a RTK-GPS system corrected to a local base station. In addition to the GPS work a number of UAV (unmanned aerial surveys) will be conducted. The surveys will employ a small quad copter style unmanned aerial vehicle that will fly no greater than 50 m above the ground for periods of up to 15 minutes. 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.

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. Sediment and Ocean Dynamics in Kugmallit Bay
Deployment of non-invasive seabed instruments to measure sediment mobility, waves, currents and water chemistry. The instruments will remain on the seabed until mid-August. A series of non-invasive instruments (up to 4) will be placed on the seabed to help measure and monitor sediment mobility, waves, currents and water chemistry within the TN MPA. Additionally, a cabled observatory will be placed on the seabed close to East Whitefish, this cable will house instruments that are capable of recording localized waves, water temperature and salinity. This data will be connected to a shore based station with capability to broadcast live for public access on the internet. Prior to installation, the research team will work with the Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk Hunters and Trappers Committees to establish a best practice for sharing this type of data.

Geophysical surveys consisting of a small 10 KHz and 3.5 KHz sounder and targeted seabed sampling at 6-8 specific locations within Tuktoyaktuk harbour

In addition to the summer field work a number of community members from Inuvik and Aklavik have become interested and involved in the 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 team will continue to provide technical advice and present the 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. In 2016, the project was and will be presented by Dustin Whalen to the IGC (June) and Beaufort Sea Partnership (October). Consultation and discussion to the Tuktoyaktuk Hamlet Council and the Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk Hunters and Trappers Committees will take place and recent filed work updates will be presented (by Dustin Whalen) in August. This work continues to work closely with the Inuvialuit Land Administration to allow for meaningful discussion and data sharing in support of coastal adaptation. Results of this and past field work are to be shared directly with Inuvialuit Settlement Region communities through various hardcopy products and digital products.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from June 28, 2016 to August 27, 2016.