... The James Bay project has become a major issue because it involves a number of factors that represent a critical change in our outlook over the past twenty years. The first of these is the growth in popularity and scientific credibility of the environmental movement. Environmental awareness has flowered since the first phase of the James Bay project was begun. The environmental impact of the project was not a matter of great debate in the early '70s and no formal environmental assessment was ever done prior to construction of the first phase. It has only been since the mid-1970s that environmental impact assessments of major government projects have been performed on a regular basis in Canada. A surge in public concern about the state of the environment in the late 1980s came at the time Hydro-Quebec began preparations for the Great Whale phase of the project. As a result, the environmental impacts of the first phase have come under close scrutiny, and many of the concerns expressed by opponents in the 1970s have been substantiated. It has been shown that environmental impacts of the first phase include: methyl mercury contamination of water in reservoirs and downstream rivers and mercury accumulation in fish; reversal of the natural seasonal flow patterns of rivers; conversion of La Grande estuary from a saltwater environment to a freshwater one because of regulated peak flow in winter; changes in water temperatures in affected rivers; loss of wetland productivity; production of greenhouse gases by the decomposition of vegetation in inundated areas; destruction of shoreline and shoreline habitat (creation of dead zones) around reservoirs due to fluctuating water levels; riverbank erosion downstream from dams; and interference with animal migration routes. This presents a far different picture from the one advanced in the past of hydroelectricity as a clean, environmentally safe energy source. A second factor has been the internationalization of environmental issues. ... A third factor is our growing understanding of, and respect for, native peoples. ... Today, the idea of progress is undergoing a massive shift away from material and economic growth for growth's sake and toward what has come to be known as "sustainable development." The James Bay project might have been considered "the project of the century" in an earlier era. However, in the era of sustainable development, it must be regarded as something quite different.
The Steller's eider (Polysticta stelleri) is apparently extinct as a breeding bird on the Yukon-Kuskokwim (Y-K) delta, one of two areas in Alaska where it was a regular breeder. Once considered a common breeding bird on the Y-K delta it has not been found nesting since 1975, despite recent extensive geographic coverage of waterfowl habitats and ground searches of historically important nesting areas. The Y-K delta was the only known subarctic breeding area in the species' range. Size of the former population and reasons for its disappearance are unclear, but possible factors responsible for the decline include changes in patterns of movement and increased mortality resulting from overharvest, predation, habitat change, weather, and reduction in food. The Steller's eider is now considered a rare species in the Yakutsk Republic, U.S.S.R., the center of the world breeding range. The North American population is now restricted to a small geographical area near Barrow and it has not yet received special consideration or protection comparable to that in the U.S.S.R. Because most of the world population breeds in the U.S.S.R. and winters in Alaska, effective conservation of the species will require cooperation at the international level.
Historical and archaeological records suggest that muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) were once abundant on Banks Island. They declined around the turn of the 20th century and remained at very low population levels until the 1970s. The causes of the scarcity of muskoxen are unknown, but severe freezing rains and subsequent forage unavailability likely played a role. Aerial surveys documented an increase in the estimated population size from 3800 in 1972 to 34,225 in 1989. The rapid increase in muskox numbers has been a source of concern to the local users, who view the muskoxen as detrimental to the caribou (Rangifer tarandus pearyi), which have declined in number. Since the mid-1980s, productivity of 3-year-old muskox cows and calf survival have decreased and the prevalence of parasites has increased. Our data do not allow us to distinguish between whether those changes are density-dependent population responses or the effects of the severity of winter weather. Current management focuses on monitoring the trend of population size, the condition and reproduction of the muskoxen.
Food consumption patterns and use of country foods by native Canadians near Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada
Arctic, v. 44, no. 3, Sept. 1991, p. 196-205, ill., 1 map
ASTIS record 30981
This study examined food consumption patterns of native (Indian and Metis) Canadians living in a boreal forest area with good access to both store-bought and country foods (traditional foods from the land, such as wild animals, birds, fish and berries). Frequency of use by season of 48 country foods by 120 households was examined by interview with the female household head. Twenty-four-hour recalls of individual food consumption on four separate days over two seasons were obtained by interview with 178 persons (71 males, 107 females) age 13-86 years, and the mean values per person were used to represent their usual intakes. The mean reported household frequency of use (number of occasions per year) was as follows: all country foods 319, including large mammals 128, berries 63, fish 62, birds 32, and small mammals 27. The upper quintile of households used country food two and one-half times more often than the sample as a whole. Recalls of individual food consumption showed that country food was consumed on average 4.2 times per week and averaged 0.5 kg per week. Country meat, birds and fish accounted for one-third of the total consumption of meat, birds and fish. Young people consumed less country food than did their elders. Thus, country food constitutes an important part of the food supply, especially of meat and fish of many native people of this region.
Clastic sedimentology of the Beaufort Formation, Prince Patrick Island, Canadian Arctic Islands : Late Tertiary sandy braided river deposits with woody detritus beds
Arctic, v. 44, no. 3, Sept. 1991, p. 206-216, ill., 1 map
ASTIS record 30982
The Beaufort Formation (probably of Pliocene age) exposed on Prince Patrick Island in the western Canadian Arctic Islands is an unlithified and poorly exposed unit consisting of the following assemblage of facies; (A) clast-supported gravel (channel floor lags, longitudinal bars); (B) cross-bedded sand (transverse bars, channel floor dunes); (C) rippled sand; (D) horizontally laminated fines - mixed sand, silt and woody detritus; (E) clay-rich mud (overbank suspension deposits); and (F) woody plant detritus, beds of flat-lying logs, sticks, twigs, wood chips, bark, leaves, needles, seeds, and moss (overbank suspension and traction deposits). Minor facies include pebble bands, plane laminated sand, and a thin bouldery basal gravel horizon. The sediments are interpreted to be sandy braided river deposits that are notable for their regionally abundant beds of course woody detritus, a feature uncommon in most ancient braided fluvial deposits. Facies A to C represent bar and channel deposits, with Facies B the most abundant. Facies C to F are relatively minor and are interpreted as low-stage overbank deposits such as abandoned channel fills. Rapid, small-scale lateral facies changes are the norm. Well-defined fining-upward sequences 1.2-2.5 m thick are uncommon. The relative rarity, thinness, and lateral impersistence of overbank facies compared to bar-channel facies suggests that significant amounts of meandering river deposits are not present. The common allochthonous woody fossils were sourced from boreal forests nearby. A thin horizon in one stratigraphic section contains tidal bundles with slack water mud drapes. The Beaufort sediments exposed on Prince Patrick Island appear to be the most proximal portion of a northwest-(offshore-) thickening clastic sheet. The eroded upper surface of the Beaufort Formation, of regional extent on the western arctic coastal plain, is covered with a highly polymict gravel lag that is far coarser and compositionally more diverse than gravel within the Beaufort Formation. Beaufort clasts and younger gravels (former glacial deposits?) appear to have been mixed together to form this residual lag, which at one site has been reworked into (glacio-?) fluvial gravel and sand filling a paleovalley.
Various methods were investigated for assessing the relationship between wind-hardened snow (upsik) and forage availability to reindeer. Mean bottom area of individual craters was not a function of depth, hardness or integrated hardness. Individual crater area was partially dependent on specific cratering time (r2 = .60). Cratering time per active period increased with integrated snow hardness (r2 = .88). Number of craters and total area cratered increased with decreasing site hardness. Reindeer always cratered microsites of lesser depth and hardness than found in the general feeding site. A threefold decrease in snow hardness resulted in a fourfold increase in forage availability.
Vegetation and terrain analyses of 1312 air photos spanning the subarctic, low arctic, and portions of the adjacent high boreal region of northwestern Canada permitted geographic characterization of the areal pattern of burned forest and forest-tundra vegetation. In terms of its lower areal extent of burns, and lower frequency of air photos showing burns, the forest-tundra is distinct from both open crown and closed crown forest regions. Burns show a general decrease in areal coverage from the northwest (Mackenzie River to Great Bear Lake: 0-50% of the terrain) to the southeast (Great Slave Lake to Hudson Bay: 0-10%). In the northwest, the flat till plains, high cover of continuous mature forest, and scarcity of lakes, coupled with dominance of slowly regenerating white spruce (in the forest-tundra) may help to account for the extensive burned vegetation. In the eastern half of the study region, the northern limit of burns normally does not extend beyond the line where tree cover equals upland tundra cover. In this eastern sub-region, tree cover decreases rapidly northward within the southern half of forest-tundra, constraining the areal extent of individual burns. Burns extend about 25-75 km into the forest-tundra, decreasing in areal coverage with distance east of Great Slave Lake. Burn cover in the forest-tundra north of Great Slave Lake generally exceeds that east of Great Slave Lake. Weather patterns and an abundance of lakes may help to account for the lower cover of burns east of Great Slave Lake. Burns north of Great Slave Lake peak in cover in the low Subarctic along a NW-SE axis that lies NE of high fire risk and occurrence zones. Strong correlations were observed between burn cover and upland tundra cover (-r) and between burn cover and the tree:upland tundra cover ratio (+r).
Auroral arcs (curtains) are extremely thin. A calculation of the minimum-possible arc thickness is presented; this minimum thickness is found to be about 9.5 m. Four requirements for designing an optical system that can image the thinnest curtains are discussed: (1) angular resolution, (2) temporal resolution, (3) light-gathering power, and (4) data-recording convenience. An optical system meeting these four requirements was constructed. With this system, an observing campaign in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, has begun and images of the small-scale structure of auroral arcs are presented. Arc thicknesses of approximately 40 m were observed. These measurements of arc thicknesses may provide a critical test for the many theories about the origins of auroral arcs.
The existence of an important trade in soapstone vessels between Copper Inuit producers and the Inupiat of north Alaska during the 19th century is well known. This paper puts that trade firmly within the context of the Bering Strait intercontinental trade network, of which the Copper Inuit soapstone trade appears to represent the Maximum geographic extent. Archaeological and documentary evidence suggests that it flourished for only about a generation, between about the 1840s and the 1860s, before being circumvented by the Hudson's Bay Company and American trading interests in Alaska. The soapstone trade may have been the first step in the rise to relative prominence of the Kangiryuarmiut of western Victoria Island, one of two Copper Inuit groups that appear to have been directly involved.
Homelessness among Alaska Natives is a social problem that currently plagues Anchorage, probably owing especially to the rapid social changes in rural Alaska following World War II. This study suggests that some Alaska Natives may be predisposed to homelessness after they have experienced relocation or social disruption during their high school years or problem drinking in their family of origin. A culture of poverty now appears to be reproducing itself in greater numbers than during the 1970s, when Alaska Native urban migrants were first studied. This subcultural context also appears to be reinforced by alcoholism and to a certain extent by ethnic discrimination, particularly in high school during adolescence and in the workplace during adulthood. Feeling discriminated against seems to foster anger, frustration, and self-blame among homeless Alaska Nativess, who often come to see themselves as outcasts within the urban centers far from their homeland.
An adult bowhead whale photographed at Isabella Bay, Baffin Island, on 28 September 1986 was reidentified from a photograph taken off West Greenland on 10 April 1990. The "recapture" distance was about 460 km across Davis Strait. The recapture is consistent with historical knowledge of the seasonal distribution of bowhead whales and is supportive of the hypothesis that bowheads circulate within the Baffin Bay - Davis Strait area as part of a discrete stock.
[A mystery remains surrounding George Back's placement of Rat Lodge on the west side of Artillery Lake at latitude 63 01 45 N, just slightly north of the Beaver Lodge, which sits at 63 N exactly.] ... Rat Lodge is not found opposite the Beaver Lodge, as shown on topographic maps. Its position is 16 km south, by the entrance to Timber Bay. The folded map in George Back's narrative does not clearly show where the lodge is situated and in the book the explorer makes it seem that both lodges are visible at the same time. From the two false Rat Lodge sites one cannot distinguish the Beaver Lodge (Artillery Lake is 6.5 km wide at the 63rd parrallel), nor of course can it be seen from the true site of the Rat Lodge; but if the Beaver Lodge was also located in the latitude of Timber Bay, where the lake is only 3.2 km wide, then perhaps on a clear day one would be able to sight both lodges from the middle of the lake. This is not to suggest that the Beaver Lodge is actually so situated. Rat Lodge is distinct and Beaver Lodge is about 16 km away.