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Effects of anthropogenic stressors on Arctic seabirds (148645)
Proposal Status: Conformity Determination Issued
Project Overview
Type of application: New
Proponent name: Dr. Mark Mallory
Company: Acadia University
Start Date: 2018-07-01
End Date: 2018-08-31
Operation Type: Annual
Project Description:
Canada is home to ~30% of the North American population of Northern Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis), a long-lived seabird. In most Arctic regions, Northern Fulmar populations are stable, declining or of unknown status, and while the causes of decline are uncertain, Northern Fulmars are susceptible to incidental bycatch in offshore fisheries. The Canadian Wildlife Service has been supporting work to assess whether seabird populations may be affected by offshore and coastal fisheries in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait. Modelling results indicate that Northern Fulmar populations on the east coast of Baffin Island may be negatively impacted by fisheries. However, some of the Northern Fulmar colonies in this region have not been surveyed since the 1970s and none have been surveyed since 2001, when fisheries greatly expanded in the region. We plan to update colony census information for Northern Fulmars breeding in northern Canada and to collect information on current and historic diet and other factors that may influence Northern Fulmar populations. While doing the colony census work on southern Baffin Island, we will also collect seabirds with local Inuit hunters to assess other anthropogenic stressors on seabirds in the region (i.e. plastics, oil-related contaminants). This includes collecting samples for an ongoing project that is examining the genetic diversity of seabirds in the Canadian Arctic in relation to changing climatic conditions. We intend to obtain current population estimates for Northern Fulmar colonies on eastern Baffin Island in order to improve population models and assess the potential impact of fisheries in Baffin Bay/David Strait on this species. Paired with this work, we plan on working with local Inuit hunters in Qikiqtarjuaq to collect several seabird species to assess how other anthropogenic stressors in the region beside fisheries (i.e. marine plastics, oil-related contaminants) may be affecting local seabird populations. The northern colonies (Buchan Gulf and Scott Inlet) will be surveyed by helicopter (~1-2 hours at each colony) to obtain ground counts and photographs. The southern colonies (Cape Searle, Exeter Island, and the Minarets) will be surveyed by boat, using local boat guides hired in Qikiqtarjuaq. Survey crews will conduct ground counts, take colony photographs, and use drones to survey the colonies. Water, sediment, air and prey (mussel) samples will be collected in the area surrounding the colonies (up to 10 km radius). Northern Fulmars, Thick-billed Murres, Black Guillemots, Common Eiders (~30 of each species), Black-legged Kittiwakes (~20) and Glaucous Gulls (~10) will also be collected. Local hunters will be hired to help with collections. These seabird collections will be dissected at the Nunavut Arctic College in Iqaluit as part of the annual Wildlife Contaminants Workshop with the Environment Technology Program students. These samples will be used to examine ingested marine plastics, oil-related contaminants and diet of the birds. Additionally, samples will contribute to an ongoing study led by project collaborators examining the genetic diversity and plasticity of seabirds in the Arctic in relation to changing climatic conditions.
Persons: 12
Days: 10
Project Map
List of all project geometries:
ID Geometry Location Name
3172 point Scott Inlet NOFU colony
3173 point Cape Searle NOFU colony
3174 point Buchan Gulf NOFU colony
3175 point Minarets NOFU colony
3176 point Exeter Island NOFU colony
Planning Regions:
Affected Areas and Land Types
Settlement Area
North Baffin Planning Region
Project Land Use and Authorizations
Project Land Use
Marine-Based Activities
Scientific Research
Licensing Agencies
Other Licensing Requirements
No data found.
Material Use
Type Quantity Size Use
Twin Otter 1 na Fly staff person from Resolute to Pond Inlet and back
Helicopter 1 na Travel from Pond Inlet to survey seabird colonies at Buchan Gulf and Scott Inlet
Small boat with outboard 3 less than 30 feet Travel from Qikiqtarjuaq to survey sites at Cape Searle, the Minarets, and Exeter Island. Transport of personnel, camping gear, and research equipment
Drone (UAV - unmanned aerial vehicle 1 30cm x 30cm x 20cm Survey seabird colonies and take photographs of colonies
Tents (temporary) 4 15 ft x 15 ft For personnel and gear storage while camping
Fuel Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
Gasoline 10 25 Liters For use in the local boats in Qikiqtarjuaq
Other 3 4 Liters White gas for cooking in camps
Aviation fuel 1 160 Liters For the colony census by helicopter
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
Environmental impacts of this project should be minimal. We plan to complete surveys of the northern sites (Buchan Gulf and Scott Inlet) in one day, by helicopter from Pond Inlet. A fuel cache will not be required for this work. The survey will be carried out by two persons, who will arrive in Pond Inlet by aircraft, fly to the two colonies by helicopter , conduct surveys (less than 2 hours per colony, no landing required), and then return to Pond Inlet. For the southern surveys, 2-3 researchers will travel to the sites by boat from Qikiqtarjuaq, with locally hired guides and hunters. Depending on travel time, weather, and other logistical considerations, the field crew may camp at each site for a few days (maximum field time of 10 days). The maximum group size will be 12 people, and camping locations will be chosen based on the knowledge of local guides. Research activities involve counting and photographing seabirds, collecting small water and sediment samples, and collecting seabird specimens.
Waste Management
Waste Type Quantity Generated Treatement Method Disposal Method
Non-Combustible wastes 50 kg na return to Qikiiqtarjuaq for disposal
Greywater 200 L na sumps >100m from water bodies
Sewage (human waste) 120 L na sumps >100m from water bodies
Combustible wastes 10 kg na return to Qikiqtarjuaq for disposal
Category: Application form attachment - Project description
Recieved: 2017-11-25
Originator: Rian Dickson
Public Registry ID: 13288
Document Size: 697.1 Kb
Category: Application form attachment - Project description
Recieved: 2017-11-25
Originator: Rian Dickson
Public Registry ID: 13289
Document Size: 315.95 Kb
2017-11-28 15:09:47, from: Rian Dickson
 I am in the process of completing a project application through the NPC portal. I am working on the North Baffin Questionnaire tab, and I am wondering what document is being referred to in the questions (e.g., there are references to s3.3.8, Appendix H and so on).

2017-12-01 15:13:28, from: Alana Vigna
 Hello Rian, the document being referred to is the North Baffin Regional Land Use Plan. It is available on our website here: Kind regards, Alana

2017-12-01 15:15:57, from: Alana Vigna
 Can you please confirm if these activities were ever screened by the Nunavut Impact Review Board. If so, please provide the NIRB File number associated. Thank you, Alana

2017-12-04 15:17:32, from: Rian Dickson
 Hello Alana, This project has not been screened by NIRB. We were under the understanding that the application was to be submitted to the NPC first, and then it would be determined if NIRB screening is necessary. If there are additional steps required, please let me know. Thank you, Rian


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?
i. If not, explain why such flights are or may be absolutely necessary.
At the two northern seabird colonies, surveys will be conducted by helicopter. The helicopter will do two passes of the colonies, one at 500m and one at 300m, in order for observers to photograph the colony and count individual birds. Previous research has shown that these distances are sufficient to obtain reliable counts without disturbing the colony. At the southern colonies near Qikiqtarjuaq, surveys will be performed by observers in boats. The survey crew will also use a drone (or UAV - unmanned aerial vehicle) to obtain photos/videos of the colonies. The drone photos will be compared with the survey counts and standard photographs to assess whether drone surveys will be an effective monitoring technique for these colonies.
ii. If such flights are or may be absolutely necessary, will they avoid disturbance to people and wildlife?
iii. If not, explain why it is not possible to avoid such disturbance.
Disturbance to people will be avoided during both the helicopter and drone flights. The seabird colonies that we plan to survey are in remote areas, with no nearby settlements. We will discuss our research plans during community consulations prior to the fieldwork, and we will take local activities and concerns into account when planning in order to avoid any disturbance. Before the drone surveys are completed, we will ensure that there are no other people in the immediate area. The drone will always be in visual range of the operator, and can be landed quickly if there was a possibility of disturbance. We do not expect either the helicopter or drone surveys to cause disturbance at the seabird colonies. Mark Mallory has decades of experience conducting aerial surveys of seabird colonies, and with a helicopter at a distance of >300m from the colony, it is unlikely that the colony will be significantly disturbed. Drones are becoming widely used in studies of avian ecology. Even at distances of 25-50m, many colonially nesting seabirds show little signs of disturbance. Birds that do flush in response to drones are mostly non-breeders, and most return to the colony within 5 minutes of the disturbance. With the drone surveys, we will maintain a minimum altitude of 50m, and therefore would expect minimal disturbance.

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 consulted with Jamal Shirley and Mosha Cote at the NRI regarding project requirements for community consulation adn licensing. Jennifer Provencher has met with the Qikiqtarjuaq Hunters and Trappers Organization and the local Conservation Officer to discuss the project and get community input on potential sampling locations and survey methodology. A meeting with the Sullulit ACMC was planned, but has been postponed until January.
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.
In order to survey the southern colonies in the Qikiqtarjuaq area, local boats and guides/field assistants will be hired. Local hunters will also be hired to in order to collect specimens of the study species.

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

s3.5.11, s3.3.5.12: Does the proposal consider the development of a transportation and/or communications corridor?

Code of Good Conduct for Land Users:
Appendix H: The applicant undertakes to adhere to the code of Good Conduct at all times.