Year(s) Funded: 2018-2020
Topic Area: Adaptation Planning, Food Security, Water Quality
Contact: Carmen Ikuutaq, Manager @ Qamani’tuaq HTO, 867-793-2520, email@example.com; Jimmy Okeekatalik, Manager @ Taloyoak HTO, 867-561-5066, firstname.lastname@example.org; Vincent L’Hérault, Director @ ARCTIConnexion, 581-246-2846, email@example.com.
Partners: Qamani’tuaq Hunters and Trappers Organization (HTO); Spence Bay Trappers and Hunters Association; Ryerson University; Carleton University; University of Alberta; Dalhousie University
Title: Nunavut Climate, Water & Health Monitoring in the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot: advancing local capacity for research and adaptation
Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake):
The community of Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake) is the only Nunavut community located inland, ca. 300km from the coast. The Baker Lake itself is the main water supply for the community. Because the Baker Lake is a receptacle of 7 immense watersheds, it is very sensitive to any change in climate, hydrological and microbial conditions at a very large scale. Accordingly, there is growing concerns with regards to the quality of water under the dire of climate changes. Warning advisories are repeatedly emitted in Qamani’tuaq at spring because of the rapid freshet that affected the community water supply. During consultations held with HTO, Hamlet, local MLA, and residents of the community, the community pin pointed several key locations to monitor near the Baker Lake shore, and further up along the road to the Agnico Eagle mine. A local team of 3 monitors conducted preliminary sampling at these stations at summer 2018.
At summer 2019, two young monitors from the community worked on the project, and they were supported by one Inuit mentor from Arviat (ARCTIConnexion) and 2 mentors from Ryerson University. The team collected field data on weather, hydrology (water flow and level), and water quality (fecal indicator bacteria (coliforms & ecoli), turbidity, ph, dissolved oxygen, temperature), and fish in local water sources of concern. Each water source was monitored on
a weekly basis along with in-situ sensors recording data in continue.
Taloyoak (Spence Bay):
Is the northernmost community of the Boothia Peninsula. The community of Taloyoak is concerned about the quality of their drinking water sources due to the impact of climate change. Some elders noticed how the permafrost has changed in the last decades and melted due to the temperature increase, and migratory bird population increased with potential impacts on water quality. The Spence Bay Hunters and Trappers Association wish to collect baseline climate, water, and fish data in major lakes and rivers, including the local water supply lake.
In spring 2019, the community welcomed Inuit mentor from Pond Inlet (ARCTIConnexion) for support in project implementation; lab installation, and training for field work and analysis.
Three young monitors from the community worked all summer on the project under the supervision of the HTO and with the support of another mentor from ARCTIConnexion. The local team conducts similar protocols as the one described in Baker Lake for water quality and fish testing.
In the fall of 2019, high-spatial resolution maps and satellite data of local watersheds will be purchased for each community to integrate the field data collected. Local monitors from Baker Lake and Taloyoak will travel to Toronto at Ryerson University to attend a GIS (Geographic Information System) training.
Results: As the project just launched, no results can be provided at this point, but the fact that young Inuit monitors from Qamani’tuaq and Taloyoak have impressively progressed over the course of the summer, became skillful, resourceful, and showed great autonomy in the conduct of the work. They are becoming genuine actors of resilience for their community.
Outputs: Facebook posts and website updates are coming soon. Ultimately, the data and information collected in this project will help to build water quality and health indices as decision-making tools for regional and community-based source water protection planning, climate change adaptation, and other local uses.