Since 2012, Ocean Networks Canada’s (ONC) community observatories in the Arctic and along the British Columbia coast have delivered high-tech ocean monitoring solutions directly into the hands of coastal communities.
In October 2018, a small ONC team traveled to British Columbia’s north coast to maintain and upgrade the Prince Rupert and Kitamaat Village observatories (above left) with the help of Ocean Dynamics marine vessel Crown Royal (above right) and a Seaeye Falcon remotely operated vehicle (below centre). In both locations, the old infrastructure (installed in April 2017) was replaced by newly designed platforms with new cameras to improve the reliability of video data.
Home to the Haisla people, Kitamaat Village is located at the head of Douglas Channel. As the area may see an increase in economic development, the Kitamaat Village community observatory was installed to gather benchmark data on the ocean environment before further waterfront development takes place. Installed in 2016 at a depth of 40 metres, the observatory platform (above right) was recovered from its underwater home, and replaced by the new platform.
Located in Ts’msyn territory, the Prince Rupert community observatory is spread over two sites on Ridley Island and Digby Island (above). The Ts'msyen name for Prince Rupert—Kxeen—means "foam on the waters". As North America’s fastest growing port for trans-Pacific trade, the Port of Prince Rupert is working collaboratively with the community to better understand the ocean.
Typical for British Columbia’s north coast, the deployment team encountered rough October seas (above). Known as “The City of Rainbows” Prince Rupert is Canada's wettest city, with an average of 2.5 metres of annual precipitation that falls during 240 days per year. With only 1230 hours of annual sunshine, it is regarded as the municipality in Canada which receives the least amount of sunshine annually. Tourist brochures boast about Prince Rupert's “100 days of sunshine”.
After recovering the old community observatory platform covered in biofouling (above left) from 30 metres of water, the ONC team deployed the shiny new platform (in the centre of the photo, above right) in its place off the west coast of Digby Island.
Both Digby Island and Ridley Island have oceanographic radar systems that triangulate to produce surface current maps that can extend out 20 to 30 kilometres. An antenna pattern measurement protocol is used to recalibrate the Digby Island CODAR antenna (above left), which involves collecting data as the boat steers in a circular arc around the land-based antenna (above right).
In addition to the community observatory, ONC operates a conductivity, temperature, depth instrument at the Atlin Terminal in the Port of Prince Rupert.