Project Dashboard

Detecting the presence and impact of tourist vessel navigation using archived data sources and a co-produced observing system to study implications for indigenous communities and environmental governance in the North American Arctic. (149047)
Proposal Status: Conformity Determination Issued
Project Overview
Type of application: New
Proponent name: Elizabeth Mendenhall
Company: University of Rhode Island
Start Date: 2021-06-01
End Date: 2021-07-15
Operation Type: Annual
Project Description:
The proposed project aims to increase our understanding of change in the natural environment and social systems of the Canadian Arctic archipelago, specifically the impacts of recent and predicted increases in passenger vessel traffic through the so-called ‘Northwest Passage’. The proposed research focuses on two communities near Lancaster Sound - Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay - which have experienced a notable increase in passenger vessel traffic over the last 5 to 10 years. In 2018, cruise vessels brought an estimated 2,642 passengers to these two communities, which are located near points of interest like Sirmilik National Park. The number of visitors traveling by pleasure craft is unknown. Although these transits and stop-offs are likely to have significant economic, environmental, social and cultural impacts on the ecosystems and communities they touch, these issues remain relatively under researched. The North Baffin Regional Land Use Plan, created in 2000, points to concerns about the impact of tourism, and the need to avoid conflict and achieve mutual awareness. In the 2016 Draft Nunavut Land Use Plan, 8 communities (out of 27 surveyed) expressed concern about shipping activities (Table 4, pg. 84). Two of those communities were Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay. In 2012, the Nunavut Planning Commission held workshops in Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay, at which residents expressed concern about the increase in private yachts and sailboats, as well as the noise and impact of cruise ships. There is a need for improved monitoring, additional research, and the creation and implementation of new regulations for passenger vessels in these areas. The project is organized around a set of research questions. First, how has passenger vessel traffic changed in these areas over the last decade? The project acquires and synthesizes acoustic and AIS ship-tracking data, and deploys a system of low-cost visual sensors at targeted locations to support future monitoring of vessel traffic. Second, how do local coastal communities perceive social and environmental change as a result of passenger vessel traffic? The project includes field work for media production training workshops in local communities, and concurrent interviews with community members. The project team is connecting with local and regional peoples organizations to ensure that this research provides tangible benefits, and avoids harms, to the residents of Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay. The fieldwork involved in answering these research questions is also leveraged to enhance Arctic research capacity at both the University of Rhode Island (URI) and in Arctic communities. The project includes the development of an interdisciplinary Arctic Studies graduate certificate program at URI, as well as funding for 3 research assistant positions for students from the Canadian Arctic, which would allow them to earn a Master’s degree in Marine Affairs, Oceanography, or Ocean Engineering while working on the components of this project. During the first year of the project, students from the Arctic will be actively recruited for these positions. The proposed project would be undertaken by an interdisciplinary team collaborating over a 3 year period. We expect 4 major outputs from the project. First, the project seeks to develop a locally-controlled network of data collection systems that improves our knowledge of critical Arctic changepoints, including human impacts on this sensitive environment. Second, the project would support the development of locally-created indigenous media, possibly including documentaries chronicling the social and environmental changes taking place in the Canadian Arctic. Third, the Arctic Studies certificate program represents a durable contribution to US Arctic research capacity, by enhancing interdisciplinary connections at URI, and a lasting means of producing qualified Arctic researchers from our graduate programs. Fourth, the project includes training for Arctic community members in monitoring and documentary techniques, in order to enhance local capacity to communicate about social and environmental change in the Arctic. Intellectual Merit The overall goal of the proposed project is to enhance understanding of the impact of Arctic cruise tourism on the natural and social environments of the Canadian Arctic archipelago, by synthesizing existing data sets and creating new data streams from both Arctic waterways and local communities. These data streams would increase the ability of researchers and Arctic peoples to adapt to Arctic transformations, by establishing baselines to measure future change, and by documenting shifts in demographics, livelihoods, traditional knowledge systems (Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit), coastal infrastructure, and marine ecosystems. Contribution to Utqiaġvik Declaration The proposed project aims to provide Canadian Arctic communities with tools to contribute to research around the impact of passenger vessels, including direct means to document and disseminate records of changing to their social, built, and natural environments. In July 2019, the 13th General Assembly of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) issued the Utqiaġvik Declaration, entitled “The Arctic We Want.” The Declaration lays out a series of action items and goals to achieve in the coming years. The proposed project fits with three of these goals. Goal 26(f) calls upon the ICC to “support the University of the Arctic as it delivers higher educational services to Inuit and other institutions that support Inuit students outside the Arctic and paves the way for student and research exchanges across the Arctic.” The proposed project would not only contribute to the offerings of the University of the Arctic, but facilitate exchange of students to the University of Rhode Island. Goal (51) is to “explore and pursue potential for mapping and other visual aids related to Inuit sea ice and coastal sea use and the multiple dimensions of such use of our Arctic homelands and territory.” Both the deployment of low cost visual sensors and the facilitation of locally-produced filmmaking could meet this goal. Indeed, the content of the films could potentially support several different Utqiagvik Declaration objectives, including the provision of content for Goal (47), which aims to “increase availability of Inuit language programming through television, radio, and other platforms.”
Persons: 8
Days: 42
Project Map
List of all project geometries:
ID Geometry Location Name
4867 point Pond Inlet
4868 point Arctic Bay
Planning Regions:
Affected Areas and Land Types
Settlement Area
North Baffin Planning Region
Project Land Use and Authorizations
Project Land Use
Scientific Research
Licensing Agencies
NRI: Scientific Research Licence
Other Licensing Requirements
No data found.
Material Use
Type Quantity Size Use
Automatic Identification System receiver 4 10cm x 10cm The project includes siting AIS (Automatic Identification System) receivers around both Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay (2 near each community). The location of these receivers will be chosen in consultation with community groups (during Summer 2021), and a local resident will be hired to assist with the physical siting. Sites will need to be in locations near where passenger vessels are known to transit.
Visual sensors 4 15cm x 10cm The project includes siting low-cost and durable visual sensors (cameras) around both Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay (2 near each community). The location of these sensors will be chosen in consultation with community groups (during Summer 2021), and a local resident will be hired to assist with the physical siting. Sites will need to be in locations near where passenger vessels are known to transit.The sensors will be constructed as part of the project, but will be based upon existing technology.
Fuel Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
No records found.
Hazardous Material and Chemical Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
No records found.
Water Consumption
Daily Amount (m3) Retrieval Method Retrieval Location
Waste and Impacts
Environmental Impacts
It is possible that the deployment of visual sensors and AIS (Automatic Identification System) receivers could have a negative impact through interactions with wildlife, or changing the appearance of the land. They do not leach any kind of chemicals, so should not effect the land itself. The project team will hire 1-2 local residents, and consult with residents engaged in the media training workshops the project team will also hold, in order to ensure that the siting of sensors has no negative environmental effects. If community members believe that the siting of sensors will harm the local environment - including wildlife - the project team will not deploy the sensors.
Waste Management
Waste Type Quantity Generated Treatement Method Disposal Method
No data found.
Category: Application form attachment - Project description
Recieved: 2019-02-14
Originator: Elizabeth Mendenhall
Public Registry ID: 15373
Document Size: 223.23 Kb
Category: Application related document - Conformity Determination Letter
Recieved: 2019-02-27
Originator: Goump Djalogue
Public Registry ID: 15401
Document Size: 224.54 Kb
2019-02-19 08:44:19, from: Goump Djalogue
 Hi Elizabeth, I have returned the application to you to add the authorizing agency from which you will require a license to pursue this project and resubmit it to us. E.g. the Nunavut Research Institute ( NRI). If you need any assistance with this, please let me know. Thanks, Goump

2019-02-25 11:11:56, from: Elizabeth Mendenhall
 Hi Goump- I did this about a week ago, and I believe I re-submitted correctly. Do you know when we might be able to expect a final decision about our application Thank you, Elizabeth

2019-02-25 11:12:02, from: Elizabeth Mendenhall
 Hi Goump- I did this about a week ago, and I believe I re-submitted correctly. Do you know when we might be able to expect a final decision about our application Thank you, Elizabeth


Environmental Protection:
s3.13.8: The applicant undertakes to prevent any new occurrences of pollution, garbage and contamination at the site of the development.

Removal of Fuel Drums:
s3.13.8: The applicant undertakes to remove all drums safely from the site and dispose of the drums in a safe manner.

New Site Restoration and Clean Up:
s3.13.1 and Appendix H, s1: The applicant undertakes to clean up the site and restore the site to its natural condition to the greatest extent possible.

Old Site Restoration and Clean Up:
s3.13.2: The applicant undertakes to clean up the site and restore the site to its original condition to the greatest extent possible, including any work required due to the applicant's action prior to this application.

Low-Level Air Flights:
Appendix H, s3: Will the applicant avoid all low-level flights?

Caribou Protection Measures:
s3.3.7 and Appendix D: Will the applicant comply with the Caribou Protection Measures outlined in section 2.4.6 and in Appendix D?

Caribou Water Crossings:
s3.3.7 and map: Will the applicant avoid, between may 15 and September 1, to construct any camp, cache any fuel or conduct any blasting within 10 km of any Designated Caribou Water Crossing identified

Polar Bear Denning Areas and Walrus Haul-outs:
s3.3.8: Will the applicant keep its activities away from any polar bear denning area or walrus haul-out?

Reporting of Archaeological Sites:
s3.11.3 and Appendix H, s2 and s8: Will the applicant immediately report the discovery of all suspected archaeological sites to the Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth (GN)?

Scientific Research:
s3.9.3: Does the project proposal involve scientific research?
If yes, will the applicant integrate all available and relevant local and traditional knowledge when conducting its research?

Consultation with Nunavut Research Institute:
s3.9.5: Has the applicant consulted with the Nunavut Research Institute about research topics that would benefit or interest local residents?
i. Describe the results of your consultation.
We have communicated with Kelli Gillard of the NIRB about the content of the proposal - she encouraged us to continue reaching out to local community groups (including Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, the Mittimatalik Hunters & Trappers Organization, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, the Hamlet of Pond Inlet, and Arctic Bay). She also provided advice about the information required for submitting to NIRB for project approval.
Local Services and Local Employment:
s3.9.4: Will the applicant rely on local services and employment where possible?
i. Describe the services retained and the people to be employed.
The project will provide a stipend to one local community member (probably in Pond Inlet) to help organize the training workshops we hope to hold. Additionally, 1-2 residents in each community will be hired to assist in the placement of visual sensors and AIS receivers. We will also be working with Polar Field Services to acquire local lodging and meals.

Communication on Scientific Research:
s3.2.8: The applicant will, at minimum, translate a summary of its work into Inuktitut and communicate with communities using language that is clear and non-technical. The results of all scientific re