Olgoonik/Fairweather, LLC, in conjunction with a team of scientists from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Texas at Austin, the Florida Institute of Technology, Battelle Memorial Institute and Kinnetic Laboratories, Inc., has been awarded the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) contract to continue environmental monitoring research in the Beaufort Sea. The project is titled Arctic Nearshore Impact Monitoring in the Development Area (ANIMIDA III). ANIMIDA III is a two-pronged monitoring project that includes a separate effort involving the monitoring of Boulder Patch kelp beds in the area around Camden Bay.
The group will conduct comprehensive scientific studies to characterize the lease areas and surrounding environs of the Beaufort Sea that expand beyond past sampling efforts conducted during prior ANIMIDA I and ANIMIDA II (cANIMIDA) work. The duration of the project will span from 2014 to 2017, with field programs planned during the open-water seasons of 2014 and 2015 and through-ice sampling events in the spring of 2015. Data synthesis is planned for years three and four, with the 2014 field season data informing the research for subsequent years.
The ANIMIDA III scientific program will involve interdisciplinary research including benthic ecology, chemistry and physical oceanography. Benthic ecology work will focus on updating baseline data sets for infaunal and epifaunal communities by evaluating benthic biomass and species composition. In addition, stable isotope analysis will be used to determine the origins of organic matter in the environment and the trophic relationships among organisms to provide data on the food web structure in the Beaufort Sea. The chemistry work will evaluate the presence of oil industry contaminants, including a selection of metals and hydrocarbons in sediments and biological tissues, to detect possible changes as a result of future oil and gas activities. The physical oceanography work involves studying spring meltwater runoff from the Colville River, including both river and marine water samples, including ice algae and epontic samples, with an emphasis on chemical composition (hydrocarbons and dissolved metals) and suspended sediment concentrations. A temporary mooring buoy will be deployed to monitor various physical-chemical parameters, such as temperature, salinity, and current speed and velocity using an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP).
The ANIMIDA III project will involve local and scientific outreach that includes ongoing communications with the Barrow, Nuiqsut and Kaktovik communication centers during the open-water field seasons, real-time vessel tracking during sampling activities, and involvement in a K-12 educational program developed with the village of Kaktovik in 2007 by Dr. Kenneth Dunton (University of Texas at Austin).
The ANIMIDA III science team is committed to streamlining sampling activities wherever possible and collaborating with other organizations to pursue a synergistic approach to scientific research.
Olgoonik/Fairweather, LLC, is a joint venture with Olgoonik Oilfield Services, a subsidiary of Olgoonik Corporation, the Alaska Native Corporation for the Village of Wainwright and Fairweather Science, a leading provider of scientific research, remote sensing and logistics services to the Arctic offshore oil and gas industry. Olgoonik/Fairweather operates several scientific research vessels in the Arctic offering economy through cost sharing.