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PoLAR-FIT Project 2019: Pliocene, paleo climate, paleontology, and paleo ecology, Ellesmere Island (149144)
Proposal Status: Conformity Determination Issued
Project Overview
Type of application: New
Proponent name: John Gosse
Company: Dalhousie University
Start Date: 2019-07-01
End Date: 2024-09-30
Operation Type: Annual
Project Description:
We are hoping to study the paleontology on Ellesmere Island at two sites that we have studied before, and to search for new sites for future research. Our interest is to determine the climate and the ecosystems that were present in the high Arctic during the Pliocene, which was the last very warm period. It lasted between 5.3 and 2.6 million years ago. Our previous findings showed that the area had a forest with plenty of animals, including beaver, black bear and camel. Over the past two decades, members of our team have answered many questions. The most significantly, we discovered an interesting fossil on Ellesmere Island. We collected pieces of a leg-bone of a giant camel! The camel lived on Ellesmere Island about three and a half million years ago, near Strathcona Fiord, at a time when Ellesmere Island was warmer and had a nice boreal forest (even though the average Earth temperature was only 1.5 degrees warmer than today). When we published an article about the camel in a science journal, we were quickly contacted by news agencies from around the world, including from countries in Europe, Russia, China, and Africa. It was also covered by CBC’s Quirks and Quarks, and newspapers and TV shows around the world showed maps of Ellesmere Island, which made us very proud. In fact, last November there was a TED talk about the camel. If you would like to see the TED talk, you can go to this site: nasser you have no idea where camels really come from We have also published a summary of PoLAR-FIT research, in a journal that is meant for non-experts: Grise Fiord is acknowledged for your support of our project in our publications. In 2019 we would like we would like to extend our knowledge of the climate, landscape, and ecosystems at a time when the Earth was as warm as it may be by the end of this century. The key goals we propose are (1) return to Beaver Pond Site on Strathcona Fiord where we have not visited for three years, to determine if more fossils have been revealed by natural erosion and thawing of the permafrost. We would like to collect and study those fossils (e.g. mammal teeth, small bone fragments, seeds, insects, tree parts). (2) We would like to return to Fyles Leaf Bed (south of Strathcona Fiord) to collect cores through the sediment. This is the first time that coring has been attempted, and if we can collect intact cores (frozen tubes of sand) in the permafrost we will have a nearly continuous record of the important site which offers one of the world's best record of paleo climate during the Pliocene. This enables much finer sampling than we can do in the field. (3) We would like to investigate a number of other sites around Strathcona Fiord and Vendom Fiord in hope to find new fossil remains. Proposed field time: July 1 to 13, 2019. In addition to fossil fragments that will be collected for analysis through the Canadian Museum of Nature, two experts in the field of ancient proteomics, the study of proteins in fossils, will be a part of the team. They will attempt to collect plant, animal, and sediment specimens to study the evolution of the inhabitants of Ellesmere about 3 million years ago. Past samples have been very small fragments of plants, bones, and teeth. However, the quality of the preservation of the fossils is very high because of the “freeze-dried” nature of this permafrost sandy deposit. If successful, it will be the oldest application of proteomics ever achieved, and we will be able to test evolutionary hypotheses that could not otherwise be tested. This is why these sites are so important. In addition to the PoLAR-FIT scientists, we again have the pleasure to work with Mr. Jarloo Kiguktak, from Grise Fiord. He has worked with PoLAR-FIT team members in the past, and knows the kind of field work we conduct (mostly hiking, and then stopping at a site to look for fossils on or near the surface of the ground). In the past he has been successful at finding fossil fragments for the group. He will be hired again as a Paleontology Technologist for the entire two weeks plus some time before and after for planning and logistical support. While our research is mostly an academic study to understand how northernmost ecosystems and landscapes change with global warming, our research indirectly impacts Northern communities. For instance, our group revealed that the poles of our planet warm much more than the rest of the planet during a global warming. In fact, the Beaver Pond site at Strathcona was used to document than when the globe is 1.5 deg. Celsius warmer than today, central Ellesmere is 19 deg C warmer! It was these data that helped climate modellers refine their models to better predict the impact of global climate change on northern communities.
Persons: 8
Days: 14
Project Map
List of all project geometries:
ID Geometry Location Name
5268 polygon Beaver Pond Site. We will be prospecting for peat and other plant and animal fossils along freshly exposed cliff faces in this area.
5269 point Campsite on Strathcona Fiord beach. Same as previous years. We will have Jet B fuel drums cached here. We hope to camp here for 3 days.
5270 point Campsite for Fyles Leaf Bed site. Same as previous years. No fuel cache. We hope to be here for 9 days.
5271 polygon Fyles Leaf Bed locality. We will be prospecting for peat, leaves, and other fossils along freshly exposed cliff faces in this area.
5272 point Potential campsite near Vendom Fiord. Unlikely that we will camp. If fossils are found in the vicinity, 3 or 4 people may camp overnight. No fuel.
5273 polygon Vendom east. Within this polygon we will prospect for fossil plants and animal parts, mostly along the glacier margin.
5275 polygon Vendom north. Within this polygon we will prospect for fossil plants and animal part. No overnight camping expected.
5276 polygon Strathcona East. Location of a short visit to determine if there is a potential site for future research, possible fossil collection, no camping.
5277 polygon Strathcona North. Location of a short visit to determine if there is a potential site for future research, possible fossil collection, no camping.
Planning Regions:
Affected Areas and Land Types
Inuit Owned Surface Lands
Settlement Area
North Baffin Planning Region
Project Land Use and Authorizations
Project Land Use
Scientific Research
Scientific Research
Licensing Agencies
QIA: Exemption Certificate
NIRB: Screening Decision Report
Other Licensing Requirements
No data found.
Material Use
Type Quantity Size Use
Aircraft 2 Twin Otter Two twin otter flights will bring the scientific team to and from Strathcona Fiord beach.
Aircraft 1 Helicopter We requested a helicopter through PCSP to mobilize our camp from Strathcona Fiord to Fyles Leaf Bed, and back to Strathcona Fiord at the end of the 9 days. During the time at Fyles Leaf Bed approximately four field members will prospect in regions around Strathcona Fiord and Vendom Fiord, as accessed by helicopter.
Freezers 2 6 cu ft Propane freezers will be used to keep the core samples and proteins frozen.
Generator 1 2000W, Honda A small generator will be used to recharge batteries for radios, cameras, and computers.
Drill 2 hand-held We will bring two different drills, and use whichever works best for the kind of frozen sand or silt sediment is being collected. The drills are operated by one or two people on a cliff face (about 50 lbs) and are gas powered.
Fuel Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
Propane 7 20 Lbs Propane will fuel the stove for cooking, and the two propane freezers, for the 13 days.
Gasoline 3 5 Gallons Gas will be used to operate the drills to collect sediment cores, and to fuel the generators.
Aviation fuel 10 55 Gallons Jet B will be used to supply the Twin Otters and Helicopter. Cache will be at Strathcona Fiord beach, as in previous years. The planned removal of all empty and full drums is by August 20, 2019, by PCSP
Hazardous Material and Chemical Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
No records found.
Water Consumption
Daily Amount (m3) Retrieval Method Retrieval Location
0.072 placing container into water nearby streams
Waste and Impacts
Environmental Impacts
All solid human waste and non-burnable garbage will be transported back to the Polar Continental Shelf Program based in Resolute and properly discarded.
Waste Management
Waste Type Quantity Generated Treatement Method Disposal Method
Sewage (human waste) daily human waste by 9 team members Transport back to PCSP-Resolute We will use toilet systems with individual bags to collect the solid human waste.
Non-Combustible wastes 5 lbs per day x 13 days Transport garbage bags back to PCSP-Resolute for proper disposal. burn what can be burned, then place non combustable items in garbage bag
Category: Application form attachment - License/ Authorization
Recieved: 2019-05-14
Originator: John Gosse
Public Registry ID: 16526
Document Size: 7441.54 Kb
Category: Application form attachment - License/ Authorization
Recieved: 2019-04-27
Originator: John Gosse
Public Registry ID: 16308
Document Size: 480.36 Kb
Category: Application form attachment - License/ Authorization
Recieved: 2019-04-27
Originator: John Gosse
Public Registry ID: 16309
Document Size: 125.06 Kb
Category: Application form attachment - Other Authorizations
Recieved: 2019-04-28
Originator: John Gosse
Public Registry ID: 16310
Document Size: 125.19 Kb
Category: Application form attachment - Other Authorizations
Recieved: 2019-05-03
Originator: John Gosse
Public Registry ID: 16467
Document Size: 494.69 Kb
Category: Application form attachment - Project description
Recieved: 2019-04-28
Originator: John Gosse
Public Registry ID: 16311
Document Size: 194.53 Kb
Category: Application form attachment - Project description
Recieved: 2019-05-03
Originator: John Gosse
Public Registry ID: 16466
Document Size: 491.13 Kb
Category: Application related document - Conformity Determination Letter
Recieved: 2019-05-28
Originator: Goump Djalogue
Public Registry ID: 16631
Document Size: 240.19 Kb
2019-05-03 23:41:23, from: John Gosse
 To whom it may concern. In the document description of one of the documents, I wrote Clyde River instead of Grise Fiord for the description of the document. It is a letter to Grise Fiord council. The letter is correct. Sorry for the mistake and any inconvenience. Sincerely, John

2019-05-14 20:09:46, from: John Gosse
 On May 14 I have added the QIA application, which is pending. The Archeology and Paleontology Application through the Department of Culture and and Heritage was also recently submitted by N. Rybczynski. It does not seem to load into this NPC server. Please let me know if you need a copy of the application and I can arrange for a hard copy to be sent. Once I hear about the result of the QIA and Paleontology permits I will let you know. I do not anticipate problems considering we have done similar work in the past. Sincerely, John Gosse

2019-05-27 14:37:16, from: Goump Djalogue
 Good Afternoon John, As discussed, could you please change the end date of the project to a later date for a multi-year considartion. Thanks

2019-05-27 21:07:27, from: John Gosse
 Thank you Goump. I have changed the dates to include now an annual licence (mostly in summer but possibly in the early autumn if PCSP collects any remaining fuel drums in September ), and to make the permit period 5 years, from 2019 to 2014 September, as per your request. I am happy to provide any other information. Yours truly, John.


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?
ii. If no, explain why.
In progress for this project.
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.
Mr. Jarloo Kiguktak will be employed for 22 days, including 13 days in the field, as a Palaeontology Technologist. He has significant experience and success at prospecting for fossils when working with PoLAR-FIT/Canadian Museum of Nature scientists in the past. He has recently accepted our invitation.

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