Environmental Monitoring and Research

The influence of water source on trace metals concentrations in the wetlands of the Slave River Delta

Online pre-recorded


L. Doig (Presenting)
University of Saskatchewan
S. MacKay
Fort Resolution Metis Government
K. Fordy
Deninu Kųę́ First Nation
T. Jardine
University of Saskatchewan
A. Wade
University of Saskatchewan
C. Cunada
Water Management and Monitoring Division, GNWT-ENR

There are ongoing concerns within Communities along the Slave River about the cumulative environmental impacts from historical, current and planned upstream activities and climate change. Different pieces of the Slave River ecosystem have been studied over time to assess the health of this system. Nevertheless, the cumulative effects of various stressors on the status of nutrients and contaminants in Slave River Delta wetlands are unknown. One major concern is reduced seasonal flooding of delta wetlands by the main river. This will mean changes to the source of water for delta wetlands. The purpose of this study is to address knowledge gaps about the influence of water source on nutrient and contaminant levels in the interior wetlands of the delta. Across the broad expanse of the delta, some wetlands are mostly refilled with river water, while others are resupplied largely from snowmelt and rain. We are collecting water, sediment, algae, invertebrates and small-bodied fish to assess the influence of water source on levels of nutrients and trace elements in delta wetlands and trace metal movements in Slave River Delta food webs. This presentation will discuss project context, approach and preliminary trace metals data for at least six separate Slave River Delta sites. The results of this project will aid in predicting future trends of the delta and help to inform resource management decisions.