Project Dashboard

Climate change, migration and breeding of birds at Alert, Nunavut (149480)
Proposal Status: Conformity Determination Issued
Project Overview
Type of application: Renewal
Proponent name: François Vézina
Company: Université du Québec à Rimouski
Start Date: 2021-05-15
End Date: 2023-09-30
Operation Type: Annual
Project Description:
NOTE: THIS IS A REQUEST FOR A RENEWAL. This is a project that has been originally approved in 2015 and amended in 2017. The general long-term objective of this project is to determine how changing conditions associated with climate change influence the capacity of arctic breeding birds to recover from, and prepare for migration and determine how this may interfere with their reproductive preparation, reproductive effort and success as well as their survival. The project approved in 2015 focused on snow buntings at Alert, Nunavut. The project was then amended in 2017 to add three species of shorebirds that are common at Alert (red knots, sanderlings and ruddy turnstones). For this renewal, we want to continue our research on these 4 species. The measurements on birds will be the same as before. In terms of land use, this new component of the project does not change our work. In fact, captures of shorebirds have to be restricted to the station vicinity as this is where they are the most effective. Nest monitoring will be done only for snow buntings and turnstones as before. NOTE: The following text is presenting the work to be conducted under our new CWS permit application (for continuation of our research). The text is essentially the same as the original NPC application (2015 amended in 2017) The Canadian Forces Station Alert is the northernmost site to study arctic breeding birds in Canada. Due to its location, the area undergoes rapid changes in conditions. It is therefore an ideal location to measure the consequences of climate change on arrival, breeding and departure phenology of birds and to study whether birds are able to adjust to their rapidly changing environment. Our goal is to evaluate post-migratory condition of birds on their arrival, monitor change in physiological condition during the transition from migration to breeding and determine how this influences timing of breeding, breeding success and yearly survival. In the fall, we will focus on preparation for migration by documenting physiological changes over time in adults and juveniles until their departure. Our work will involve banding snow buntings, red knots, ruddy turnstones and sanderlings with standard bands (metal bands from CWS). We will also determine the migratory route of this snow bunting population using light-sensitive geolocators as the wintering location for Alert snow buntings is not known. Our project also involves nest monitoring of snow buntings and turnstones (the only shorebird species with conspicuous nests at Alert). We will conduct measurements of individual condition (body mass, visual fat and muscle scores, blood metabolites) as well as individual performance (measure of basal and maximal metabolic rates). These techniques have been highly refined and are successfully used at this site by our team since 2015. The field crew, led by Dr. François Vézina (UQAR), includes himself and 3 students and postdocs. The project will run annually between 15 May and 30 September but exact duration for each year will depend on budget and available lodging space at the station. Travelling around the station to monitor and capture birds will require the use of ATVs. Crew members will be lodged at the station. This work is new, the questions have never been answered and are developed based on previous findings on these birds at Alert.
Persons: 4
Days: 107
Project Map
List of all project geometries:
ID Geometry Location Name
7096 polygon CFS Alert
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
CWS: Scientific permit under the Migratory Bird Regulations
Other Licensing Requirements
No data found.
Material Use
Type Quantity Size Use
ATV 4 83x47 inches Driving on trails to access bird breeding sites. Same as before number of persons updated from 3 to 4
Fuel Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
Gasoline 4 200 Liters For ATVs (managed by military)
Hazardous Material and Chemical Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
None 0 0 Liters N/A
Water Consumption
Daily Amount (m3) Retrieval Method Retrieval Location
0 Managed by military Managed by military
Waste and Impacts
Environmental Impacts
No impact expected. All birds will be released on their site of capture. All travelling around the station to monitor nests and capture birds will be done using 4 ATVs. Vehicles will use roads and trails maintained by the military.
Waste Management
Waste Type Quantity Generated Treatement Method Disposal Method
Other 0 Managed by military taken back to station
Category: Application form attachment - Other Authorizations
Recieved: 2017-01-30
Originator: François Vézina
Public Registry ID: 18330
Document Size: 165.38 Kb
Category: Application form attachment - Project description
Recieved: 2021-02-15
Originator: François Vézina
Public Registry ID: 18332
Document Size: 1183.67 Kb
Category: Application related document - Conformity Determination Letter
Recieved: 2017-02-10
Originator: Goump Djalogue
Public Registry ID: 18331
Document Size: 725.62 Kb
Category: Application related document - Conformity Determination Letter
Recieved: 2021-02-22
Originator: Goump Djalogue
Public Registry ID: 18353
Document Size: 296.26 Kb


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.
Despite the lack of local community close to Alert, we are studying ways to present our findings to Northern Inuit communities and our team is dedicated to collaboration and knowledge sharing. For example, we are presenting our research each year to representatives of Inuit communities through our participation at the annual ArcticNet meeting (all students and postdocs present their work and participate in workshops, they also organize symposiums on our collaborative work). We are also actively involved in educative activities for Alert personnel through science discussions at social events or through wildlife observation field trips. We are also planning on presenting our most recent research to Inuit communities through knowledge transfer and exchange activities organized by the Center for Northern Studies (of which F. Vézina is a member), for example at the Community Science Center of Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik. Furthermore, a student from our group (cosupervised by F. Vézina) is developing a knowledge transfer and exchange activity in botany for the community of Qausuittuq (Resolute), funding has been applied for this project. If the proposal is accepted, we will join this project and develop knowledge transfer and exchange activities on our migratory bird projects for the people of Qausuittuq.
Local Services and Local Employment:
s3.9.4: Will the applicant rely on local services and employment where possible?
ii. If no, explain why it is not possible.
There is no local community close to CFS Alert. The closest one is Aujuittuq (Grise Fjord), which is 800km south of Alert. Military flights between Trenton (Ont) and Alert either fly direct or stop once during the trip, at Thule, an American military base in Greenland. However, as members of the Center for Northern Studies, we are collaborating with a large number of researchers active at other sites in the Arctic, several of which have a long history of collaboration with Inuit communities. It is our hope to learn from these resourceful people and develop ways in which we could integrate Inuit knowledge in our research. Our project is also part of a larger integrative research effort involving several research teams across the Canadian Arctic. This allows for integrating our findings within an ecosystem-based framework, in accordance with the Inuit perspective of nature.

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