University of Ottawa professor Jackie Dawson of the Department of Geography is one of nine scientists conducting a multifaceted research project to strengthen navigation, emergency response and cultural protection in the North.
The remote and rapidly changing Arctic environment poses substantial safety and management challenges to commercial mariners, local communities and emergency responders in the region. In partnership with the Canadian Coast Guard, Oceans North Canada and the Canadian Ice Service, Dawson and her team will work with local communities to identify sensitive, traditional and culturally important marine areas in the Arctic, and will also study trends in non-commercial ship traffic in the region.
The information gathered by Dawson will be integrated into the larger Northern Marine Transportation Corridors Initiative, a Government of Canada undertaking to identify key transit routes used by commercial mariners in the Arctic to help determine the navigation services, infrastructure and emergency response services needed in the area. Dawson’s work will improve the initiative’s ability to consider the needs of northern communities and non-commercial vessels in its planning.
The project, which is funded by the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) and Irving Shipbuilding, includes the World Wildlife Fund, the Inuit Tapiriit Kantami (Canada’s national Inuit organization) and Ikaarvik, a program that makes the link between southern researchers and the needs of northern communities.