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Climate Change Adaptation Project - Permafrost Thaw and River Erosion in Kugluk Territorial Park

The Kugluk Territorial Park along the Coppermine River has been experiencing significant changes due to eroding land and thawing permafrost. These changes have been impacting the stability and safety of the ATV Trail going into the Park, causing the need to move the ATV trail.  The Kugluk Community Joint Planning and Management Committee (CJPMC) is concerned about the impact of these changes and they are interested in finding a long-term solution to these climate change impacts.

The Climate Change Secretariat (CCS) and Nunavut Parks and Special Places (NP&SP) with Laval University’s Centre d’études nordiques (CEN) and the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) are working together to address the concerns of permafrost thaw and river erosion in the Kugluk Territorial Park. The overarching goal of this project is to improve access to the land for Nunavummiut, specifically those individuals and families that travel to and through the Kugluk Territorial Park and to other hunting grounds. This is a multi-year project with funding support from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s Climate Change Preparedness in the North Program.

2017 VISIT
In the summer of 2017, project partners travelled to Kugluk Territorial Park. During this time, field work was conducted in the park with the help of local’s and youth. One Elder and four youth from Kugluktuk and one youth from Cambridge Bay were hired to assist with the field work. One Grizzly bear monitor was also hired to provide protection. During the field work different methods were used to monitor permafrost changes in the park.
Methods include:

  • Inserting permafrost monitoring equipment into the ground to measure ground and permafrost temperatures
  • Collecting ground samples to find out what the ground is made of (ex: sand, rock, peat, mud, and clay)
  • Inserting land markers to measure the erosion along the river
  • Using aerial photos from different years to see how the land and water has changed.

On Parks Day in Kugluktuk, the field team put up a table to show and tell people in the community about the work they did at the park. 

2018 VISIT
In February of 2018, the CCS, NP&SP, and CEN traveled to Kugluktuk to meet with, the CJPMC, the Hamlet, HTO, KIA and community members. During this time CEN presented about the work they are doing in the park and what they have found so far with the monitoring methods they used. After CEN’s presentation, the Kugluk CJPMC met to talk about what steps are next in the project and begin planning for the next field work.

Radio Show
One of the highlights of the trip was the hosting of a radio to talk about Climate Change in Nunavut, permafrost issues, and to share the initial findings and research at Kugluk Territorial Park. They also opened up the lines to the community. Community members called in and provided observations of climate change that they’ve seen or experienced and asked questions about the project..

The next steps of this project are to plan for the 2018 field season. The researchers from Laval University are planning on inserting some more monitoring equipment into the ground to measure ground and permafrost temperatures.  The Project Partners are also planning on having maps and info pamphlets of the Kugluk Territorial Park made for the community to use and learn from.