Project Dashboard

Helicopter-borne geophysical survey over the hypersaline subglacial lakes and brine network beneath Devon Ice Cap (149255)
Proposal Status: Conformity Determination Issued
Project Overview
Type of application: Amendment
Proponent name: Anja Rutishauser
Company: University of Texas Institute for Geophysics
Schedule:
Start Date: 2018-04-01
End Date: 2024-12-31
Operation Type: Annual
Project Description:
A recent study revealed the first evidence for a hypersaline subglacial lake complex beneath Devon Ice Cap, Canadian Arctic. These lakes are worldwide unique and may represent a microbial habitat, which makes them compelling targets to ask fundamental questions about the existence, evolution and diversity of life in extreme environments on Earth and on other icy planetary bodies in the Solar System. Upon their initial discovery, our project team conducted two successful airborne geophysical surveys over DIC in 2018 and 2019. Results support the evidence for a subglacial lake, and suggest the presence of an extensive brine network consisting of shallow water or saturated sediments. The proposed project is part of a long-term (7 years) research program that aims to characterize the physical, chemical and biological properties of the Devon subglacial lake, assess its microbial biodiversity, and evaluate it as a potential analogue for icy planetary bodies, while maintaining the integrity of the water body and any organisms that inhabit it. The specific research goals of this project are to i) identify water inflow- and outflow channels that connect the subglacial lake with its surrounding environment, ii) further characterize the surrounding brine-network (i.e. water in channels, distributed network or small ponds), and iii) derive more detailed lake shorelines. Results from this survey are crucial for the planning and synthesis of future research towards our long-term program, including the clean access and sampling of the lake.
Summary of Modifications:
- Change in aircraft type: Previous fieldwork was performed with a fixed-wing aircraft. For this project, we plan to use an AS-350 helicopter platform. Geophysical instruments are similar to the ones used during the fixed-wing surveys in 2018 and 2019. - Remote field camp: Previous fieldwork was based out of the Polar Continental Shelf Program (PCSP) in Resolute Bay. For this project, we will perform the helicopter-borne surveys from a field camp on Devon Ice Cap. Our camps are minimal with no permanent buildings or structures. To minimize the impacts of our research activities every effort is made to keep the camp clean, solid waste is backhauled to Resolute Bay and water consumption is reduced for example by washing dishes without water. - Water use: We estimate a total water use for our six person field party of 0.15 cu m/day (for ~20 days in the field). Melted snow is used to provide water for domestic use. We will apply to the Nunavut Water Board for water use authorization. - Fuel caching: For the helicopter-borne survey, we estimate fuel requirements to ~47 drums on Devon Ice Cap, and 4 drums on Devon Island along the flight path between Resolute Bay and Devon Ice Cap. We will prepare and review a spill contingency plan before the fieldwork. - Timing: Field survey will take place between April and June 2020
Personnel:
Persons: 6
Days: 20
Project Map
List of all project geometries:
ID Geometry Location Name
5930 polygon Helicopter-borne survey area
Planning Regions:
Kivalliq
Affected Areas and Land Types
Settlement Area
North Baffin Planning Region
Project Land Use and Authorizations
Project Land Use
Scientific Research
Licensing Agencies
IC: 0
TC: 0
NRI: Scientific Research Licence
NWB: Approval to Use Water/Deposit Water Without a Licence
Other Licensing Requirements
No data found.
Material Use
Equipment
Type Quantity Size Use
AS-350 helicopter 1 - Helicopter-borne geophysical survey flights over Devon Ice Cap
Twin Otter 1 - Charter flights to bring field team and equipment to Devon Ice Cap, and for fuel cacheing
Fuel Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
Aviation fuel 51 200 Liters Helicopter-borne survey flights over Devon Ice Cap, and a test flight in the Resolute Bay area (over sea ice)
Diesel 3 200 Liters stove for field camp, diesel for generator
Gasoline 13 20 Lbs Stoves for cooking in the field camp
Hazardous Material and Chemical Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
No records found.
Water Consumption
Daily Amount (m3) Retrieval Method Retrieval Location
0.15 melting snow Devon Ice Cap
Waste and Impacts
Environmental Impacts
During our fieldwork on Devon Ice Cap, every effort is made to minimize our impacts on the ice and watershed. Our camps are minimal with no permanent buildings or structures (temporary tents only) and every effort is made to keep the camp clean. Scientific equipment is stored in a separate tent to ensure no equipment is lost or buried during snow and wind storms. Greywater is disposed in a single greywater disposal site as well as a separate area for toilet waste, so that dirty snow can be backhauled at the end of the field season. Melted snow used for drinking is collected from a location separate from the disposal sites. Solid waste will be backhauled to PCSP in Resolute Bay for proper disposal. All fuel drums and empty drums will be removed from Devon Ice Cap and hauled back to PCSP in Resolute Bay at the end of the project.We will prepare and review a spill contingency plan before the field campaign. As a precautionary measure, spill kits are carried with our field team.
Waste Management
Waste Type Quantity Generated Treatement Method Disposal Method
Greywater 0.014 cu m/day camp dishes and domestic use are performed with minimal water usage and minimal contamination with chemicals (i.e. minimal and eco-friendly dish soap) disposed in a single designated greywater disposal site on the ice cap.
Sewage (human waste) 0.018 cu m/day liquid disposed in a single designated area, solid waste will be backhauled to PCSP
Non-Combustible wastes 0.012 cu m/day backhauled to PCSP in Resolute bay
Category: Application form attachment - Project description
Recieved: 2018-03-15
Originator: Anja Rutishauser
Public Registry ID: 17015
Document Size: 127.9 Kb
Category: Application form attachment - Project description
Recieved: 2018-12-07
Originator: Anja Rutishauser
Public Registry ID: 17018
Document Size: 346.49 Kb
Category: Application form attachment - Project description
Recieved: 2019-11-14
Originator: Anja Rutishauser
Public Registry ID: 17020
Document Size: 357.86 Kb
Category: Application related document - Conformity Determination Letter
Recieved: 2018-03-22
Originator: Goump Djalogue
Public Registry ID: 17017
Document Size: 196.8 Kb
Category: Application related document - Conformity Determination Letter
Recieved: 2019-12-09
Originator: Goump Djalogue
Public Registry ID: 17059
Document Size: 256.08 Kb

NORTH BAFFIN QUESTIONAIRE

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

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.
YES

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.
YES

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.
YES

Low-Level Air Flights:
Appendix H, s3: Will the applicant avoid all low-level flights?
NO
i. If not, explain why such flights are or may be absolutely necessary.
Low level flights (~500m above the ice surface) will only take place over the survey area on Devon Ice Cap. These flights are necessary to collect our geophysical measurements.
ii. If such flights are or may be absolutely necessary, will they avoid disturbance to people and wildlife?
YES
iii. If not, explain why it is not possible to avoid such 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?
YES

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
YES

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?
YES

HERITAGE RESOURCES
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)?
YES

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

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?
NO
ii. If no, explain why.
We have not yet consulted with NRI.
Local Services and Local Employment:
s3.9.4: Will the applicant rely on local services and employment where possible?
NO
ii. If no, explain why it is not possible.
Due to the highly specialized geophysical and engineering training required for our fieldwork, it is not feasible to involve residents from nearby northern communities in our fieldwork. However, we will engage with the Qarmartalik School in Resolute Bay and plan outreach activities including a visit to the annual science fair (if timing allows) and presentations about our research. Our spring 2018 survey team had the opportunity to attend the annual science fair, and the spring 2019 survey team gave a project presentation at the Qarmartalik School. The cultural exchange was extremely rewarding and resulted in high motivation for future outreach opportunities with the school. We will also report to NRI on the progress of our project over Devon Ice Cap and will submit copies of our publications and plain language summaries in both English and Inuktitut to NRI and the communities of Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord.

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
YES