Year(s) Funded: 2017-2020
Topic Area: Water Quality, Adaptation Planning, Food Security
Contact: Kugluktuk Angoniatit Association (Amanda Dumond, 867-982-4908)
Partners: Hamlet of Kugluktuk, Ikaarvik: Barriers to Bridges, Heidi Swanson (University of Waterloo)
Title: Youth and Community-Driven Monitoring of the Health of the Coppermine River
Action: The Coppermine River is of great importance to the people of Kugluktuk, Nunavut. The river is the source of the community’s drinking water; it is an important source of food, a platform on which to travel, and a source of recreation, contributing to the social and cultural wellbeing of the community. During a youth-led Ikaarvik workshop in 2015, several concerns were raised about changes in and around the Coppermine River and the health of the river was identified as a pressing priority for research. In a subsequent Ikaarvik workshop, youth and Elders from Kugluktuk identified a number of specific observed changes including levels of turbidity (clarity of the water), temperature, river depth and riverbank erosion.
With support of the Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program, several Kugluktuk youth have worked with Ikaarvik and Research Mentor Dr. Rosie Smith to develop and implement a monitoring program on key factors related to the health of the Coppermine River. The youth received training on scientific research project design and development, refined research questions, determined parameters to measure and monitor, and locations for deployment of sensors, probes and time-lapse cameras. Monitoring equipment was deployed through the summer of 2018 and is being deployed again in the summers of 2019 and 2020.
Results: The Kugluktuk Ikaarvik youth researchers will work with Dr. Smith to analyze results and identify their relevance for the community. They will present the results to the Hunters and Trappers Association and the Hamlet and communicate to the broader community on local radio, Facebook and community presentations. At the end of the three-year project, the community will have the necessary capacity to continue to monitor the health of the Coppermine River and, using the information gained, to develop strategies for mitigation and adaptation to the changes observed.
Outputs: The Ikaarvik researchers in Kugluktuk will review and interpret the results with the Research Mentor and a report will be generated and presented to the Kugluktuk Angoniatit Association and Hamlet. A version of the report will also be made available on this website.