The Scotty Creek Research Station (SCRS) is 50 km south of Fort Simpson, in the Northwest Territories, Canada. Periodic Snow field measurements at Scotty Creek began in 1994. In 1996, the Water Survey of Canada installed a Stream gauging station at the Scotty Creek outlet, and in 1999 the first stations were installed in the basin headwaters for year-round data collection. A seasonal camp was established in 2001, and in 2003 was upgraded to an all-season camp. This dramatically increased the capacity for field studies at Scotty Creek. The “Old Camp” as this site is known, was replaced by the First Lake Camp (2007-2012) and then by the Goose Lake Camp (2012-present). Since 2003, the Scotty Creek station has operated each year between mid-March and early September, and based on person-days, it is one of the busiest research stations in Canada’s North, and offers a unique opportunity for high-quality training and community engagement involving world-class expertise and state-of-art research infrastructure.
Scotty Creek drains a 152 km2 area of high Boreal forest containing discontinuous, permafrost, and a high concentration of wetlands. It is uniquely positioned in one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth, and because the its permafrost is relatively warm, thin and discontinuous, permafrost thaw is widespread and often leads to the transformation of forested permafrost terrains to permafrost-free, tree-less wetlands. There is an urgent need on the part of provincial, territorial and federal government agencies, NGOs, Aboriginal communities and industry to understand how this land-cover change affects their shared water resources now and in the future. In response to this need, SCRS researchers are working to 1) develop and mobilise new knowledge on the hydrological and ecological impacts of permafrost thaw, 2) develop new modelling tools to predict the rates and patterns of permafrost thaw and the hydrological and ecological consequences, and 3) provide interactive training on these tools to end-users. Scientific infrastructure at SCRS.
Bill Quinton is the Director of the Scotty Creek Research Station which he manages collaboratively with Indigenous communities in the Dehcho. He also served as Director of the Cold RegionsResearch Centre (http://coldregions.ca/) in Waterloo, Ontario (2016-2020), where he was appointed as a Canada Research Chair in Cold Regions Hydrology (2005), and was a founding member of the Laurier-GNWT Partnership Agreement initiated in 2010. He has worked in the Northwest Territories since 1987 and in the Dehcho region since 1999. Sorina Ciucurita is the Project Manager for theSCRS. She is in charge of the financial management and operation of the station. She also plays a leading role in the planning and execution of events and initiatives such as field courses, community meetings, conferences and workshops. Sorina is based in Waterloo. Mason Dominico is the Chief Technologist at the SCRS and is based in Yellowknife. He is in charge of station operations and logistics. He also ensures the smooth operation of the scientific infrastructure and of the growing data archive. Mason also plays a leading role in the training of students, including university-based students, and Dehcho-based high school students taking part in field courses and on-the-land camps at the station.
The SCRS is in the process of transforming into a Dehcho regional “research park”, a state-of-the-art, inter-disciplinary scientific observatory and centre of community engagement for researchers and community members to come together as “partners in learning” to exchange experiences and ideas, to co-develop new knowledge, and to nurture the next generation of collaborations between western scientists and Indigenous knowledge holders. Co-development of new knowledge is empowering to local communities because it gives them a voice in creating knowledge while increasing their capacity to respond to the new and complex challenges of climate warming. By making research programmes visible and available for local community participation, the evolving research park also contributes to the knowledge economy of the Dehcho. A regional research park co-led by indigenous communities will be the first of its kind not only in Canada, but throughout the circumpolar region. As such, the Dehcho regional research park at Scotty Creek will provide a leading example for scientific-Indigenous collaboration.