2013-ongoing Sahtú Mercury Research Synthesis
The long-range atmospheric transport of mercury and subsequent deposition in Arctic environments is an ongoing global concern. In November 2013, after years of negotiations, a legally binding international treaty, the Minamata Accord, to reduce harmful emissions of mercury was signed by more than 140 nations.
In the NWT, and in particular in the Sahtú Region, community concern about the potential negative impacts of mercury contamination in fish, public health advisories for local lakes (e.g., Kelly Lake), and associated human health risks remains a priority. As a result, the proposed research will help Sahtú communities to better understand the relevance and findings of mercury studies that have been undertaken. The need for a compilation, analysis and synthesis of research on mercury in the Sahtú, and reporting back to front-line workers and community representatives, became apparent at the Tulı́t’a Research Results Workshop in November 2013, when numerous concerns were raised.
The proposed project will accomplish the following: 1) desktop review and synthesis of mercury research data for the Sahtú region, 2) compare research findings with guidelines and advisories to determine where concerns may exist, and 3) summarise findings of Sahtú mercury research and identify any gaps (research and communications).
Working through the ɁehdzoGot’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı and the Sahtú Environmental Research and Monitoring Working Group, the proposed research project will emphasize the synthesis of existing data for the priority contaminant mercury. The work will be a desktop study, with guidance and feedback provided by the Sahtú Environmental Research and Monitoring Working Group. Work will be carried out between July and October 2014, with reporting and a community summary of findings to be prepared by mid-December 2014.