Two marine environmental data collection projects in Iqaluit, Nunavut are receiving over $550,000 in federal funding through the Coastal Environmental Baseline Program.

“Arctic communities and ecosystems are changing faster than ever and we need to invest in science now to better understand how best to support and protect them,” said Bernadette Jordan, minister of fisheries, oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard. “Through partnerships with leaders like Arctic UAV Inc., we are gathering the data needed to make sound science-based decisions that protect these shores and the livelihood of Northern communities for future generations.”

The two research projects are gathering a wide-range of data to help better understand Canada’s coastal environment and how we can protect it.

“Working together with research partners and coastal communities increases our collective knowledge of the marine ecosystems and strengthens our communities,” said Daniel Vandal, minister of northern affairs. “The baseline data collected by Arctic UAV Inc. will advance our understanding of Frobisher Bay and the potential impacts coastal development is having on the ecosystems in the Iqaluit area.”

Arctic UAV Inc. is leading a project that’s collecting coastal environmental baseline data using a remotely operated underwater vehicle. This project is using video to document habitat, bottom substrate, and benthic species within inner Frobisher Bay. This data will complement many of the other ongoing baseline data collection projects in the Iqaluit area.

A second project by Arctic UAV Inc. is creating georeferenced aerial maps of the inner Frobisher Bay Intertidal Zone. Drones are being used to capture high-resolution imagery of the intertidal areas adjacent to the city of Iqaluit, including areas where coastal development is active.

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“Arctic UAV Inc. is proud to offer world class aerial imaging to better understand our coastal environments,” said Kirt Ejesiak, chairman and chief executive officer of Arctic UAV Inc. “Our project, ROV Data Collection of Scientific Data on Frobisher Bay, is giving local people the necessary tools to see what’s in our oceans and observe first-hand how it’s changing over time. It allows us to collect data that we only dream of—it’s like getting a glimpse of the Inuit Legends of Sedna come to life.”

“The Frobisher Bay Inter-tidal Mapping Project has also presented great opportunity to showcase local expertise,” added Ejesiak. “Through this project, licensed drone operators are mapping areas of great interest to Inuit, including many where Inuit harvest clams. These projects contribute to a better understanding and conservation in relation to potential project development on or near our homelands. Better data means better decision-making by local people—something we should all strive for.”

These initiatives will provide important information to advance our understanding of these areas and the potential impacts human activities have on the sensitive ecosystem.

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