Impacts of Natural and Anthropogenic Disturbances on the Aquatic Health of Tundra Lakes in the Upland Region Northeast of Inuvik, NT

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: water quality, landscape disturbance, thaw slump

Principal Investigator: Hille, Erika C (6)
Licence Number: 16588
Organization: Aurora Research Institute
Licenced Year(s): 2019
Issued: Jun 27, 2019
Project Team: Andrew Benjamin Thomas Gordon (special projects coordinator, Aurora Research Institute), Kathryn Barr (Botanical Technician, Aurora Research Institute), Peter diCenzo (co-investigator, Environment and Climate Change Canada)

Objective(s): To examine the long term effects of thaw slumping on the water quality of water running off the landscape to the lakes and the lakes themselves.

Project Description: The objectives of this project are to examine the long term effects of thaw slumping on the water quality of water running off the landscape to the lakes and the lakes themselves, using data collected over the 10 year study period; and to examine the effects of tundra fire on the water quality of water running off the landscape to the lakes and the lakes themselves.

This study will focus on 10 study lakes (3 fire-impacted, 3 thaw slump-impacted, and 4 pristine). Landscape-level run-off and lake water quality will be measured using grab samples, obtained in late-August.

This research program is led by the Aurora Research Institute (ARI) in Inuvik and the field team is comprised of Inuvik residents, including two ARI technicians and a summer student. The team will present the results back to the community in a public talk, in a presentation to high school students at East Three Secondary School, and via the Aurora Research Institute website. The team will also reach out to local stakeholders to communicate preliminary results and to elicit feedback on how the results should/can be used going forward.

This study will provide improved knowledge and understanding on the effects of changing climate and landscape disturbances (retrogressive thaw slumping; tundra burn areas) on the aquatic health of small tundra lakes. A process-based understanding will lead to better process parameterization, for modelling purposes, which will improve the ability to project future trends for, and cumulative effects on, tundra lake aquatic health.

A project description, photos, and project updates will be made available via the Aurora Research Institute website. The Project Investigator will give a public presentation at the Western Arctic Research Centre in the Fall. A copy of the presentation will be made publically available via the Aurora Research Institute website. The Project Investigator will work with the ARI Outreach Coordinator to coordinate a visit to East Three Secondary School, where she will provide an overview of the project and preliminary findings to High School students. The Project Team will reach out to key stakeholders in this research, include the Inuvik Community Corporation, the Inuvik Hunters and Trappers Committee, the Inuvialuit Land Administration, and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation to discuss how the results should be reported back.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from August 19, 2019 to August 20, 2019.