ABSTRACT

Wynja, V.; Demers, A.-M.; Laforest, S.; Lacelle, M.; Pasher, J.; Duffe, J.; Chaudhary, B.; Wang, H., and Giles, T., 2015. Mapping coastal information across Canada's northern regions based on low-altitude helicopter videography in support of environmental emergency preparedness efforts.

In the face of increasing economic opportunities in Canada's northern regions, the need to improve our state of preparedness for oil spill–related emergencies is critical. While significant efforts have been put toward documenting baseline coastal information across Canada's southern regions, there is a large information gap regarding Arctic shorelines. Baseline coastal information, such as shoreline form, substrate, and vegetation type, is required for prioritizing operations, coordinating onsite spill response activities (i.e. Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique [SCAT]), and providing information for wildlife and ecosystem management. Georeferenced high-definition videography was collected during the summers of 2010 to 2012 along coastlines within six study sites across the Canadian Arctic. Detailed information describing the upper intertidal, supratidal, and backshore zones was extracted from the video and entered into a geospatial database using a data collection form. This information was used to delimit and map alongshore segments in the upper intertidal zone. Almost 15,000 km of northern shorelines were mapped, including 25 shoreline types based on the upper intertidal zone. This information will feed into a larger ongoing project focused on Arctic coastal ecosystems and oil spill response planning should the need arise.

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