Project Dashboard

Ukaliq: Ecology of Arctic hares at Alert, Nunavut (148481)
Proposal Status: Conformity Determination Issued
Project Overview
Type of application: New
Proponent name: Dr. Dominique Berteaux
Company: Université du Québec à Rimouski
Start Date: 2017-06-01
End Date: 2017-06-30
Operation Type: Annual
Project Description:
RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES Arctic ecosystems are changing due to climate warming. Research is needed to monitor these ecological modifications, understand the impacts on species, and possibly predict the most significant future changes in biodiversity. However, effects of climate shifts vary across the vast Canadian Arctic. In the last 15 years, in collaboration with several colleagues, I have conducted detailed ecological research on Bylot Island (North Baffin). We have found that temperatures increase, spring starts earlier, summer lengthens, plants grow up more rapidly, but the abundance and reproduction of vertebrates did not vary significantly. Comparing these results with those from other research sites in Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia allowed us to much better understand the changing tundra ecosystem. These results have direct management implications because the rapid industrialization of the Arctic brings new ecological stressors, and sustainable development of the Arctic requires that impact studies are able to separate ecological changes due to climate warming from those due to direct habitat disturbance caused by industry. In addition, understanding changes in Arctic ecosystems is directly relevant to wildlife management. In this context, the long-term objective of this project is to monitor tundra biodiversity and better understand tundra ecology at the coldest extreme of this biome’s temperature gradient, that is at the very northern tip of Ellesmere Island, where plant productivity is minimal, where very little information has been collected to date, and where is located the Canadian Forces Station (CSF) Alert. This long-term objective will be implemented over several years. Our short-term objectives for 2017 are: 1- to explore Alert in order to plan future biodiversity monitoring protocols, 2- to evaluate the summer abundance and distribution of Arctic hare, the most influential herbivore at the site, 3- to determine if this herbivore is resident at Alert or engages in seasonal migrations between its summer and winter grounds. KEY EXPECTED RESULTS AND MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS Short-term objective 1 (plan future biodiversity monitoring) I will gather enough information from my field visit to be able to plan detailed field protocols allowing the future monitoring of the tundra ecosystem at Alert. I am confident that this objective will be achieved given my past experience at doing this. In particular, I co-led the International Polar Year project ArcticWOLVES, during which we implemented many protocols at various sites across the circumpolar Arctic. Management implications: this objective will allow structured ecological data collection, and these data will be freely available in the Polar Data Catalogue. They will serve as baseline information for any development project planned in this very poorly documented region of Nunavut. Short-term objective 2 (abundance and distribution of hares) I will describe the distribution of hares in the main habitats located within 5-10 km of CFS Alert. I will evaluate their abundance across these habitats using counts of animals seen per hour of observation. This objective is scientifically significant given the paucity of information on Arctic hares over the Canadian Arctic. Management implications: Arctic hares are a food source for many tundra predators, and provide food and clothing to Nunavummiut who harvest them. The Nunavut General Monitoring Program (NGMP) Monitoring Blueprint Compendium (2013) has identified four key questions for future monitoring of Arctic hares, three of which relate directly to our expected results: - What are the changes in populations of the Arctic hare? - What are the changes in distribution of the Arctic hare? - What changes could climate change bring about in the Arctic hare? The NGMP encourages “research that addresses these key questions and monitoring gaps to build capacity to better understand the state of this Valued Ecosystemic Component, and any changes taking place, as a basis for management and decision-making going forward”. Short-term objective 3 (migration of hares) Arctic hares are rather easy to capture and I have had great success using satellite collars to track other small mammals in the past. Therefore I hope to fit 10 hares with satellite collars. To my knowledge, this will provide the most detailed scientific evidence about hare yearly movements in Nunavut. The topic of hare migration is controversial. It is unclear whether only some individuals perform occasional long-distance movements (as do, for example, Arctic foxes) or whether all individuals from some populations migrate seasonally in a coordinated fashion (as do, for example, caribou). Management implications: same as for Short-term objective 2. This work will be conducted in collaboration Dr. François Fournier (Environment and Climate Change Canada).
Persons: 1
Days: 30
Project Map
List of all project geometries:
ID Geometry Location Name
1925 polygon
Planning Regions:
Affected Areas and Land Types
Settlement Area
North Baffin Planning Region
Project Land Use and Authorizations
Project Land Use
Scientific Research
Licensing Agencies
Other Licensing Requirements
No data found.
Material Use
Type Quantity Size Use
ATV 1 33 x 47 inches Travel around Canada Forces Station Alert
Fuel Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
Gasoline 1 200 Liters ATV operation
Hazardous Material and Chemical Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
No records found.
Water Consumption
Daily Amount (m3) Retrieval Method Retrieval Location
1 Managed by Canadian Forces Managed by Canadian Forces
Waste and Impacts
Environmental Impacts
No impact expected. Animals will be released at their site of capture within minutes. All travelling around the station to count and capture animals will be done using an ATV. Vehicles will use roads and trails maintained by the military.
Waste Management
Waste Type Quantity Generated Treatement Method Disposal Method
Sewage (human waste) 10 l Managed by CFS Alert Managed by CFS Alert
Category: Application form attachment - License/ Authorization
Recieved: 2017-02-08
Originator: Dominique Berteaux
Public Registry ID: 11946
Document Size: 210.5 Kb
Category: Application related document - Conformity Determination Letter
Recieved: 2017-02-21
Originator: Goump Djalogue
Public Registry ID: 12054
Document Size: 610.4 Kb
Category: Application related document - Conformity Determination Letter
Recieved: 2017-02-23
Originator: Goump Djalogue
Public Registry ID: 12092
Document Size: 748.84 Kb


Environmental Protection:
s3.13.8: The applicant undertakes to prevent any new occurrences of pollution, garbage and contamination at the site of the development.

Removal of Fuel Drums:
s3.13.8: The applicant undertakes to remove all drums safely from the site and dispose of the drums in a safe manner.

New Site Restoration and Clean Up:
s3.13.1 and Appendix H, s1: The applicant undertakes to clean up the site and restore the site to its natural condition to the greatest extent possible.

Old Site Restoration and Clean Up:
s3.13.2: The applicant undertakes to clean up the site and restore the site to its original condition to the greatest extent possible, including any work required due to the applicant's action prior to this application.

Low-Level Air Flights:
Appendix H, s3: Will the applicant avoid all low-level flights?

Caribou Protection Measures:
s3.3.7 and Appendix D: Will the applicant comply with the Caribou Protection Measures outlined in section 2.4.6 and in Appendix D?

Caribou Water Crossings:
s3.3.7 and map: Will the applicant avoid, between may 15 and September 1, to construct any camp, cache any fuel or conduct any blasting within 10 km of any Designated Caribou Water Crossing identified

Polar Bear Denning Areas and Walrus Haul-outs:
s3.3.8: Will the applicant keep its activities away from any polar bear denning area or walrus haul-out?

Reporting of Archaeological Sites:
s3.11.3 and Appendix H, s2 and s8: Will the applicant immediately report the discovery of all suspected archaeological sites to the Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth (GN)?

Scientific Research:
s3.9.3: Does the project proposal involve scientific research?
If yes, will the applicant integrate all available and relevant local and traditional knowledge when conducting its research?

Consultation with Nunavut Research Institute:
s3.9.5: Has the applicant consulted with the Nunavut Research Institute about research topics that would benefit or interest local residents?
ii. If no, explain why.
This project will be at an exploratory stage during its first year in 2017. However, I did consult the Nunavut General Monitoring Program (NGMP) Monitoring Blueprint Compendium (2013), which has identified four key questions for future monitoring of Arctic hares, three of which relate directly to our expected results:- What are the changes in populations of the Arctic hare? - What are the changes in distribution of the Arctic hare? - What changes could climate change bring about in the Arctic hare?
Local Services and Local Employment:
s3.9.4: Will the applicant rely on local services and employment where possible?
ii. If no, explain why it is not possible.
There is no local community close to CFS Alert. The closest one is Aujuittuq (Grise Fjord), which is 800km south of Alert. Military flights between Trenton (Ont) and Alert either fly direct or stop once during the trip, at Thule, an American military base in Greenland.

Communication on Scientific Research:
s3.2.8: The applicant will, at minimum, translate a summary of its work into Inuktitut and communicate with communities using language that is clear and non-technical. The results of all scientific re