Rivers directly link the land and the ocean by delivering freshwater, heat, nutrients, and carbon to the coastal system. Observing river systems is therefore key to understanding the impacts of terrestrial environmental change on Arctic ocean health. This project aims to enhance our capacity to directly observe the physical and biogeochemical characteristics of rivers across the Kitikmeot Region by developing in-situ observational systems (“river moorings”) to carry out these measurements continuously. These river moorings will provide the first time series observations of river physical and biogeochemical parameters in the Kitikmeot Region, observations that are crucial to understanding and predicting the impacts of terrestrial change on the Kitikmeot marine system.
This project proposes to deploy four (4) autonomous observational systems (moorings) in rivers throughout the Kitikmeot Region for the continuous measurement of physical and biogeochemical properties of these rivers over the summers of 2018 and 2019. Moorings will record measurements of the river’s physical conditions, including temperature, conductivity, and water level, as well as biogeochemical parameters, including dissolved oxygen content, turbidity (cloudiness), and coloured dissolved organic material (CDOM) concentration.
The proposed project has three main parts: (1) deployment; (2) recovery; and (3) assessment for future applications.
Deployment: River moorings will be deployed within four (4) rivers throughout the Kitikmeot Region, including the Tree River, Hood River, Burnside River, and Western River. Each river mooing will be deployed from a float plane, within the river’s main channel, close to the river mouth. Each mooring will be held in place by a river-bottom anchor, as well as a shore line fixed with a metal stake.
Recovery: After approximately 2-months of measurements, river moorings will be completely removed from all four river locations. Access to the sites for recovery will be carried out either by float plane or by a small aluminum skiff launched from the R/V Martin Bergmann.
Assessment: A primary goal of this project is to develop observational arrays that can be used by community-directed research programs in Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay to inform community concerns around environmental stewardship. Lessons learned during the development, deployment, and recovery of the river mooring arrays will be discussed with local community groups to develop river mooring systems that directly meet community monitoring needs.
This project contributes directly to Polar Knowledge Canada’s research priorities to collect observations on the present state of the Kitikmeot Marine Region. Results from this project will be shared with the communities of Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay, as facilitated through local contacts such as the Kugluktuk HTO, Cambridge Bay HTO, and Canadian High Arctic Research Station.