... Canada's twin northern conservation challenges are, ... to find indigenous and innovative solutions to unique Canadian resource conservation problems and to place northern resource uses, including industrial uses, on a planning foundation.
Waterbird migration near the Yukon and Alaskan coast of the Beaufort Sea : I. Timing, routes and numbers in spring
Arctic, v. 34, no. 2, June 1981, p. 108-121, ill.
ASTIS record 6864
Radars, systematic visual observations from the coast, and aerial surveys were used to study migration near the Yukon (1975) and Alaskan (1977-78) coasts of the Beaufort Sea. Conspicuous eastward migration of loons, brant, seaducks, jaegers and glaucous gulls occurs along the icebound coast, and in the Yukon some eastbound species (especially brant) concentrate coastally. Overall, however, eastward migration is predominantly broad-front with little coastal concentration. Most eiders and perhaps most oldsquaws, the commonest waterbirds, fly east offshore where there is more open water. Westward migration is much less conspicuous visually; swans, geese and pintails are the main groups seen. However, radar shows extensive broad-front westward flights, probably largely of shorebirds. Most spring migration, both east and west, is from 15 May to 20 June, with the coastal peak (25 May-15 June) apparently being later than that offshore. Some coastal migrants land on river water that overflows onto nearshore ice in early June. Some waterbirds bypass the largely ice-covered Alaskan Beaufort by flying northeast across interior Alaska and/or northwestern Canada from the Pacific ocean to the Canadian Arctic. These overland migrants include some yellow-billed and arctic loons, brant and jaegers; probably most Thayer's gulls; and probably some oldsquaws, Sabine's gulls, arctic terns and other species.
Sabine's gull (Xema sabini), Ross's gull (Rhodostethia rosea) and Ivory gull (Pagophila eburnea). Gulls in the Arctic : a review
Arctic, v. 34, no. 2, June 1981, p. 122-132, figures, plates
ASTIS record 6865
The earliest information on Sabine's gull, Ross's gull and Ivory gull was collected by several heroic arctic explorers during the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. Ross's gull was discovered in northern Canada in 1823 by James C. Ross and Sabine's gull in northwestern Greenland in 1818 by Edward Sabine. S.A. Buturlin was the first to find the breeding places of Ross's gull in northeastern Siberia. Recently new breeding places have been reported from U.S.S.R. (Taymyr Peninsula, 1973), Canada (near Devon Island, 1976 and 1978; near Churchill, Manitoba, 1980) and Greenland (Peary Land and Disko Bay, 1979). Sabine's gull and Ivory gull have a dispersed and patchy distribution with gaps too wide for them to be regarded as true continuous circumpolar species. The biotope requirements for the three species are compared. All three are food opportunists; recent data on their food choice and foraging behaviour are reviewed and discussed. The breeding ecology of the gulls is updated with special attention to the clutch size, where a climatological trend may be distinguished. In contrast to birds in general, the most southerly breeding species (Ross's gull) has the largest clutch size and the most northerly breeding species (Ivory gull) has the smallest. Details of the large interspecific differences in migratory and wintering habits are presented. The documented northbound autumn migration of Ross's gull observed in Alaska and the southbound migration of Sabine's gull to western South America and southwestern and southern Africa are surveyed. The Ivory gull is regarded as a straggler during the winter, but recent observations on East Greenland of at least 500 migrating birds in September 1975 indicate that specific migratory routes may be used by this species too.
A prehistoric house depression excavated on the southeastern coast of Baffin Island near Lake Harbour belongs stylistically to an early phase of the Thule Period. However, features such as the rectangular shape, interior open-fire kitchens, and initial absence of a sleeping platform are more characteristic of the early High Arctic Ruin Island phase than of developed Thule. This, and additional evidence from Foxe Basin and Frobisher Bay, suggest that a segment of the earliest Thule migration may have split from the main body in Lancaster Sound and, travelling south through Fury and Helca Strait, reached Hudson Strait and the south coast of Baffin Island. This suggestion is in opposition to earlier interpretations of a slow penetration into the more southerly eastern part of the Canadian Archipelago from the northeastern High Arctic.
River and suspended sediment discharge into Byam Channel, Queen Elizabeth Islands, Northwest Territories, Canada
Arctic, v. 34, no. 2, June 1981, p. 141-146, figures, tables
ASTIS record 6867
During 1974, a stream from a small drainage basin (117 km²) on the east coast of Melville Island discharged approximately 1.63 × 10,000,000 cubic m water containing 7.08 × 10,000,000 kg suspended sediment. Because nearby basins show hydrological similarity, these data can be extrapolated to provide an indication of the total suspended sediment discharge into the adjacent channels. The results suggest that much of this sediment is not deposited in the channels; rather it is incorporated into the active delta fronts or possibly transported out of Byam Channel above a pycnocline. The values agree well with a hydrological study on nearby Bathurst Island where predicted discharge values for both runoff and suspended sediment are within an order of magnitude of those measured. Recent attention has focussed on the Mecham River which flows into Bridport Inlet, the site of a proposed LNG terminal which is to be situated on an active delta front. Values extrapolated from this study indicate that design criteria must consider typical runoffs of 1.2 × 100,000,000 m³ with peak mean daily discharges in excess of 9.0 × 1,000,000 m³/day and suspended sediment loads of 5.0 × 100,000,000 kg/year.
The widespread occurrence of permafrost in northern climates dictates the use of specialized measures to protect the terrain from adverse impacts associated with the construction of transportation facilities. Through the adoption of appropriate construction techniques and by providing proper drainage and erosion control facilities within the right-of-way, serious environmental degradation can be avoided. The most appropriate type of erosion control measure is selected according to local terrain and drainage conditions, including a Soil Erosion Code (SEC). Erosion control begins with the provision of effective drainage across the right-of-way. Typical erosion control measures include the use of permanent linings such as granular blankets, rock riprap and gabions and temporary linings, such as plastic sheets and fiberglass rovings. Ditch checks, rock aprons, energy dissipators and siltation basins may be used to minimize erosion of exposed soils along the route and attendant siltation of streams. Cut slopes may be protected with insulation in ice-rich, fine-grained soils to ensure stability and prevent slump material from reaching the drainage system. Ultimately, long-term erosion protection along transportation corridors is provided through appropriate revegetation techniques, periodic surveillance and regular maintenance of drainage and erosion control facilities.
Eleven cirque glaciers and associated deposits within the granitic Arrigetch Peaks of the west-central Brooks Range face north, minimizing insolation. Shading by surrounding mountainous terrain decreases insolation on these landforms even more significantly, favoring the formation of glacier-cored moraines. Comparison of glacier photographs taken in 1911, 1962, and 1979 reveals a record of decelerating recession. Geomorphic and lichenometric mapping suggests at least three to possibly eight phases of Holocene glacial expansion. These date between ~5000 and 300 yr B.P., based on the application of a central Brooks Range Rhizocarpon geographicum growth curve.
Shallow ice-bonded permafrost has been shown by seismic refraction methods to exist beneath several islands in the Beaufort Sea. The marked contrast of seismic velocities in bonded materials (>2500 m/sec) and unbonded materials (<2100 m/sec) was used to determine the location of permafrost. In many cases these data were confirmed by shallow probing and drill holes. Several general conclusions are made about the distribution of shallow bonded permafrost beneath islands in the Beaufort Sea. Shallow permafrost occurs under areas where remnants of tundra still exist. These conditions exist on the larger islands that have not been eroded away by the ocean. Islands which have been eroded by the ocean, leaving only accumulation of sand and gravel, are generally moving westward and landward and for the most part are not underlain by shallow permafrost. However, the oldest and most persistent parts of these islands are in some cases underlain by shallow permafrost. This is believed to be a consequence of repeated freezings and thawings causing a reduction of salt brine in the sediments and allowing the materials to freeze.
Surveys were flown in March 1979 and 1980 north and south of 73 deg. N on Banks Island to estimate numbers of muskoxen. Observed total was 11809 animals and estimated population was 18328 muskoxen, suggesting that the population has continued to expand since previous surveys in the early 1970s. A comparison with previous surveys of densities between the north and the south of the island indicates muskoxen have spread from the Thomsen River valley to the northeast and the south. Comparisons with muskox and caribou populations in Alaska and with reindeer in Greenland suggest that co-existence between these species is normal and does not involve competition.
Behavioral responses of individual Barren Ground caribou (Rangifer tarandus granti) to a 3/4-ton pickup truck were quantified on 36 occasions. During 34 of those observations the vehicle initially approached at a speed of over 56 km/hr. Forty-eight percent of the individual caribou reacted to the vehicle by running away while 38% trotted away. The mean flight duration of females was 73 ± 11 sec, that of males 38 ± 6 sec (p=0.09). Caribou encountering a moving vehicle exhibited signs of excitement and fright, including the excitation jump and tail-up response. Reversal of direction and/or splitting of the group involved 29% of the individual caribou. The type of habitat (forested vs. open) did not have an effect on observation duration (p>0.50) or on the mean distance at which caribou were first encountered (p>0.50). The distance from the vehicle at which animals began to flee did not differ between sexes (p>0.50) or habitats (p>0.50) but was as great for both sexes as that reported for females with young calves. In forested habitat male caribou allowed a much closer approach than females (p=0.08) but closeness of approach did not differ between the sexes in open habitat (p>0.50).
Gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus, Lilljeborg) migrate north each spring to feeding grounds, mainly in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. Regularly a few individuals travel as far northeast as Point Barrow, Alaska, and a few records have been made of sightings along the Alaska Beaufort Sea coast as far east as Barter Island .... During summer 1980, three sightings of gray whales were made in the Canadian Beaufort Sea, well east of any previously recorded .... All were in open water, well south of the pack ice front. ... These sightings constitute an eastward extension of the known range of the gray whale by 575 km. ... If these individuals migrated north along the coast from Baja California, Mexico, where the largest winter concentrations occur .... [and] If they returned successfully to that wintering area, they swam a round-trip distance of 20,400 km in 9.5 to 11 months. This would be one of the longest known migrations of any mammal species.
... Although firebreaks in tundra areas will not always be constructed in areas of tussock and dwarf shrub vegetation, the results of our study suggest that vegetation replacement or mulching should be attempted wherever the nature of the topography suggests that post-fire erosion might occur. Natural revegetation of firebreaks in tundra areas is extremely slow, and artificial stabilization techniques may be the only alternative, despite their high cost.
... Fritz first came to the Arctic Institute in 1955 .... He came as a McGill-Carnegie Arctic Research Scholar to undertake the study of pingos, which form the basis of his doctoral dissertation and of the definitive publications on pingos, which were his first major scientific contributions. ... After two very full field expeditions to the Mackenzie Delta and Greenland in connection with the pingo work, Fritz left the Arctic Institute and McGill to accompany the successful Swiss Everest Expedition of 1956. ... Fritz climbed to the 8200-m level, taking the opportunity to extend his studies of patterned ground, begun in Greenland, to levels close to 8000 m in the South Col. ... In 1959, Fritz returned to Canada as a Research Associate at McGill and as leader of the Jacobson-McGill Arctic Research Expedition to Axel Heiberg Island, which has effectively operated ever since. Fritz himself was in the field in the Arctic Islands for eighteen field seasons during the last two decades. ... Although Fritz left Canada in 1970 to become head of the Department of Geography at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, he maintained an expedition office and the title of Honorary Professor at McGill for the remainder of his life. ... [During the Seventies, he was extensively involved] in the North Water Project, a study of the relatively ice-free areas between Devon and Ellesmere islands and Greenland, and its surrounding land and ice masses. ... In addition to his roles as leader of the Axel Heiberg and North Water projects, he set up glaciological teaching and research programs at McGill and ETH, ... [and chaired a number of committees of a number of international organizations across Canada, Germany, Switzerland and the United States.] ... We are pleased to report that the Government of the Northwest Territories has officially re-named the ice cap in central Axel Heiberg Island (70 47 N, 91 30 W) as the Müller Ice Cap, in his memory.