Project Dashboard

Spring nutrient reserves of Lesser Snow and Ross's geese. (149094)
Proposal Status: Conformity Determination Issued
Project Overview
Type of application: New
Proponent name: Frank Baldwin
Company: Canadian Wildlife Service
Start Date: 2019-05-20
End Date: 2019-06-30
Operation Type: Annual
Project Description:
Wetlands of the sub-arctic and arctic are an important spring food source for migrating Lesser Snow and Ross’s geese. After leaving the Canadian prairies in May, geese cross the boreal forest and gather in large numbers along a narrow strip of coastal habitat, where vegetation is exposed earliest in spring. Geese obtain most of their fat reserves on grain fields in southern Canada, but most of their spring protein reserves come from below ground portions of grasses and sedges. Protein reserves are required for development of eggs and testes, and for normal energy demands during nesting, when little feeding takes place. For these reasons, the amount of spring protein reserves affects breeding success, and the number of goslings on the land in August. As the number of Lesser Snow and Ross’s geese has increased across the arctic, spring feeding has damaged or changed coastal habitat, and because spring food is only available in snow-free areas, the amount of food available to each goose has decreased over time. It is important to understand the factors that determine how many geese the land can support, and so we are interested in how protein reserves in geese has changed though time. Since 2012, we have worked with local hunters in Churchill, Manitoba to obtain geese shot throughout the spring migration. By weighing and measuring different parts of the geese, we can see how protein reserves change through the spring, and compare this to the past. We found that Lesser Snow geese near Churchill have 14-20% less protein than in the 1970s, and do not gain any protein during this period, like they used to. On the other hand, the smaller Ross’s geese, which have expanded across the eastern arctic in the last few decades, are able to store protein at the same rate Lesser Snow geese did in the 1970s (8% over 2 weeks), and have similar protein levels to the most recent estimates from the early 2000s. Our results from Churchill, Manitoba suggest that Lesser Snow geese nesting in the sub-arctic have lost the equivalent of about 3 eggs worth of protein since the 1970s, but many geese migrating through Churchill are returning to colonies much farther north, along western Hudson Bay, and on Southampton and Baffin Island. We would like to work with the Hunters and Trappers Organizaton (HTO) in Arviat, Coral Harbour, and Cape Dorset to obtain geese in spring, so we can learn how protein reserves change as birds travel northward, and if these birds are able to make-up some of these reserves as they approach northern breeding colonies. In 2019-2020, with support from POLAR, and through the HTO we intend to work with community-based monitors towards collection of adult Lesser Snow (n=120) and Ross’s geese (n=120) prior to nesting. The community-based monitors will be responsible for collecting, labelling, and freezing geese, and then shipping them south. Once samples have been analyzed, biologists will travel to communities to report findings from this community-based monitoring effort.Individuals of each species will be harvested by members of communities during spring migration (prior to nesting). The HTO will source individuals in the community interested in participating in this project, and through POLAR funding, individuals will be compensated for ammunition, equipment, gasoline, food, and transportation. Collectors will be instructed to randomly pass shoot adult birds at staging areas using shotguns and non-toxic ammunition. Birds will be bagged, labelled according to date, location, and species, frozen, and shipped south for measuring and dissection. Muscles will be excised, and superficial fat will be removed from muscles. Tibiotarsal and pectoral muscles (bone-free) will be weighed to produce an index of protein, which will be corrected for structural size. Abdominal fat will be removed and weighed to serve as a lipid index. Testes, ovary, and liver will be removed and weighed. Following dissection, a variety of statistical models will be developed to assess specific biological hypotheses.
Persons: 6
Days: 5
Project Map
List of all project geometries:
ID Geometry Location Name
5102 point Arviat
5103 point Coral Harbour
5104 point Cape Dorset
Planning Regions:
Affected Areas and Land Types
Settlement Area
Keewatin Planning Region
Southampton and Coats Island
Project Land Use and Authorizations
Project Land Use
Scientific Research
Licensing Agencies
CWS: Scientific permit under the Migratory Bird Regulations
GN-DOE: Wildlife Research Permit
Other Licensing Requirements
No data found.
Material Use
Type Quantity Size Use
No records found.
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
1-2 community members will be on the land collecting geese for this study in each community. It is likely these individuals will also be participating in subsistence hunting around this time, so there no are additional impacts expected.
Waste Management
Waste Type Quantity Generated Treatement Method Disposal Method
Sewage (human waste) 1-2 members in each community will participate in this project in each location, but the amounts of human waste will be depend on whether they camp on the land, or perform the activities out of town. This will depend on where the birds are located, and we don't yet fully understand this. N/A N/A
Category: Application related document - Conformity Determination Letter
Recieved: 2019-04-09
Originator: Peter Scholz
Public Registry ID: 15744
Document Size: 569.5 Kb


Environmental Protection:
s2.4.9: The applicant undertakes to prevent any new occurances of pollution, garbage and contamination at the site of the development.

Removal of Fuel Drums:
s2.4.9: 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:
s2.4.15 and Appendix 2,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:
s5.4.4 and Apendix 2, s3: Will the applicant avoid low-level flights?

Caribou Protection Measures:
s2.4.6 and Appendix 3: Will the applicant comply with the Caribou Protection Measures outlined in section 2.4.6 and in Appendix 3?

Caribou Water Crossings:
Will the applicant avoid, between May 15 and September 1, to construct any camp, cache any fuel or conduct s2.4.6 and map: any blasting within 10 km of any Designated Caribou Water Crossing identified

Reporting of Archaeological Sites:
s4.4.3 and Appendix 3, s2 and s8: Will the applicant immediately report the discovery of all suspected archaeological sites to the Government of Nunavut?

Scientific Research:
s6.4.2: 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?
Local Services and Local Employment:
s6.4.3: Will the applicant rely on local services and employment where possible?
Describe the services retained and people to be employed.
We will be contracting collection through the local HTO, who will source individuals from the community to collect, and ship samples.

Communication on Scientific Research:
s6.4.4: Will the applicant communicate with communities in language that is clear, non-technical, in Inuktitut and English and communicate to the affected communities the results of all scientific res

Consultation with Nunavut Research Institute:
s6.4.5: Has the applicant made all reasonable efforts to consult with the Nunavut Research Institute about research that would benefit or interest local residents?
Describe the results of your consultation.
I am just in the process of submitting an application to the NRI.

Game Sanctuary:
s2.4.1: Is the project proposal located, in whole or in part, within the Thelon Game sanctuary?

Bird Sanctuary:
s2.4.1: Is the project proposal located, in whole or in part, within the Mc Connell River Migratory Bird Sanctuary, the Harry Gibbons Migratory Bird Sanctuary or, the East Bay Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Southern Southampton Island and Coats Island:
s3.4.5: Is the project proposal located, in whole or in part, in southern Southampton Island and Coats Island?
If yes, does the project proposal involve hydrocarbon exploration?
Municipal Lands:
s1.4.3: Is the project located, in whole or in part, within municipal boundaries?


New Land Use:
Does the project proposal involve a new type of land use never engaged in before in the region?

Code of Good Conduct for Land Users:
Appendix 2: The applicant undertakes to adhere to the Code of Good Conduct at all times.