Research helps us to understand how the environment functions and the relationships between variables. Applied research advances the knowledge of northern water resources. It is also important to understand the effects of changes—such as development and climate—on the environment, in order to make sound resource management decisions.
Research can improve our understanding of how water and aquatic ecosystem function, provide information about how stressors like climate change and industrial development can impact water and aquatic ecosystems, and help us shape and adapt water stewardship decisions.
Research can be done by communities, governments (Aboriginal, municipal, territorial and federal), non-government organizations (NGOs), industry, and academics (universities and colleges).
Among its objectives, Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) conducts and supports research into emerging water resource issues. Projects and partnerships ENR is involved in include:
This research aims to describe and understand the consequences of recent changes in the streamflow and geochemical regimes in the North Slave Taiga Shield. The project is relevant to cumulative impact monitoring as well as water management at operating and closed mines. (Partners: Environment Canada, ITI, Geological Survey of Canada, Wilfred Laurier University, Giant Mine Remediation Team)
For many years, water researchers in the NWT have supported the development of an ice jam flood forecasting model for the Hay River by the University of Alberta. In 2014, staff is working with the Town of Hay River Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) to test and train on the model with the goal of improving the Town’s ability to anticipate the severity of dynamic river ice break-up.
The Arctic Great Rivers Observatory project studies the six largest rivers in the Arctic, including the Mackenzie River. Researchers are interested in how climate change is impacting Arctic rivers by making measurements of the concentration of naturally-occurring chemicals—such as carbon and nitrogen—to understand the chemical characteristics of runoff from the pan-arctic watershed. Research was carried out between 2003 and 2013. (Partner: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute - Arctic-Gro Program, University of British Columbia)
This project assesses the delivery of freshwater and terrestrial components to the marine system, and collects basic geochemical measurements to form a baseline data set with which to evaluate future change in this region, including the Coppermine River. Research is beginning in 2014. (Partner: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute - Arctic-Gro Program, University of British Columbia)
This project continues to build and maintain a successful monitoring program that meets the needs of the Tłįchǫ people in determining whether fish health, water and sediment quality are changing over time, and whether fish and water remain safe to consume. The program will rotate community-based fish, water and sediment sampling through the four Tłįchǫ communities such that any one location will be sampled once every four years. (Partners: Weke’ezhii Renewable Resource Board, Tłįchǫ Government, Northern Contaminants Program, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)