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Understanding the effects of climate change and modernization on three fiord marine ecosystems in northern Labrador: ArcticNet Project 3.7

Biasutti, M. and Reimer, K. ArcticNet ASM Victoria, BC, December 2006

Royal Military College Environmental Sciences Group

Canada's Military University

Undergraduate (military students) as well as postgraduate programs (also open to civilians)

· Multidisciplinary team (70 personnel) · Involved in basic/applied environmental sciences and engineering that integrates: Education Research Projects · ESG operates on a cost-recovery basis

Strong Partnerships

· · · · · · · Parks Canada Department of National Defence Voisey's Bay Nickel Company Sikumiut Environmental Management Ltd. Canadian Wildlife Service Department of Fisheries and Oceans Jacques Whitford Environmental Ltd.

ArcticNet Researchers

· Trevor Bell (bottom-mapping) · Reinhard Pienitz and André Rochon (paleooceanography) · Gary Stern (contaminants) · David Barber (sea ice) · Christopher Furgal (contaminants and human health)

Nunatsiavut Nuluak (Net)

Our Team

· Focuses on three fiords in northern Labrador · Initiated to address Inuit concerns regarding: ­ climate change in the region ­ human impacts on two of the fiords · Uses a comparative approach to assess the impacts of these combined stressors on the fiords

Nachvak Fiord

A pristine fiord located adjacent to the new Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve

Jaime Dawson

Nachvak Fiord Objectives

· Use Nachvak Fiord as a reference site for comparison to Saglek and Anaktalak · Develop a set of indicators as part of Parks Canada's marine monitoring initiative for northern coastal parks (see Nachvak poster)

Saglek Fiord

· Important harvesting area for Inuit · Saglek Bay (near mouth of fiord) contains sediments contaminated with PCBs due to erosion from an adjacent military site · Previous studies (Kuzyk et al. 2005) documented the extent of PCB contamination and biomagnification in the marine food chain

Martin Fortier

PCB Contamination

Extensive PCB sediment contamination Ecological risk assessment confirmed effects on ecosystem Harvesting advisories posted

PCB Distribution 1997-99



Kangalasiorvik Island

Labradorip Imappinga

Big Island

Sagleup kisagvinga

Rose Island Shuldham Island

Nutâk tachisimajunut suliaKagvik

Jens Haven Island

Upernavik Island


Kejuktok Inlet


at Mou n


ng e rt


rn g To

Maidmonts Island

Need to monitor ecosystem recovery now that the shore PCB source has been removed



ta in s

Saglek Fiord Objectives

· A clean-up of the military site has been completed and there is a need to re-assess marine baseline conditions and develop a monitoring program · Evaluate current PCB distributions and sediment transport for Saglek Bay · Develop appropriate biological indicators for monitoring ecosystem recovery · Investigate PCB effects in the virtual absence of other contaminants

Anaktalak Bay

· A fiord located near the community of Nain in northern Labrador · Used by Inuit for travel, as well as subsistence and commercial harvesting

Voisey's Bay Mine and Mill Complex

· Main claim block located on south side of Anaktalak Bay · Shipping route passes through Anaktalak Bay to port facilities in Edward's Cove · Treated mine and mill wastewater discharged to the Cove

Marc Robitaille

Anaktalak Bay Objectives

· Compile a description of the marine ecosystem which combines both Inuit and scientific knowledge (see Anaktalak poster) · Together with Inuit, identify indicators for a marine monitoring program that could identify the effects of climate change and impacts from mining · Work with local Inuit to implement this monitoring program

Common Fiord Objectives

· Carry out bottom-profiling and multi-beam mapping of all three fiords · Establish basic oceanographic conditions (CTD scans, water chemistry, etc) · Collect sediment cores to evaluate paleooceanographic conditions and contaminant histories · Assess contaminant levels in sediments, sculpin, char, and seal

Nunatsiavut Nuluak Approach

· Uses both a shore-based (from small boats) and ship-based (Amundsen) sampling program

Keith Levesque

Shore-Based Program

· Collection of sediment grabs for contaminant and benthic invertebrate analyses

Contaminants in Marine Biota

· Collected Arctic char, sculpin, and seal for contaminant analyses · Guillemot egg and chick collection in Saglek Bay planned for 2007

Sid Pain Sid Pain

From the Amundsen: Bottom-Mapping

Bathymetry for Saglek Fiord

· Multi-beam mapping of the three fiords

Jaime Dawson

Establishing Baseline Conditions

Tom Knight

Tom Knight

Jaime Dawson

Sediment Cores

· For contaminant and paleooceanographic analyses

Tom Knight

Martin Fortier

Including Inuit Knowledge and Concerns

· Recent workshop held in Nain to integrate Inuit knowledge into marine monitoring programs · Spring workshop will be held in Nain for community consultation to guide next year's field program

Martin Fortier


Schools on Board

Martin Fortier

Inuit Communications

· Nunatsiavut Government leading communication strategy · OKalaKatiget Society filmed Amundsen work

Tom Knight


· Nunatsiavut Nuluak project provides information on the impacts of human activities and climate change on three fiords in northern Labrador · Adds an important region for comparison of climate change effects to other ArcticNet regions · Strong focus on and inclusion of Inuit in all aspects of the program

Nakkumek Thank you


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