WWF-Canada Blog:

Beaufort Sea Community Tour: Sharing the results, exploring the risks

WWF goes on the road to share the results of our oil spill modelling with those who would be most affected by a spill: the communities of the Beaufort Sea. 

The effects and images of the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Exxon Valdez tanker spill in Alaska are permanently etched in the public psyche, bringing to life the likelihood and potential impacts of a marine oil spill. In Alaska, the effects of the Exxon Valdez spill still persist after 25 years, while in the Gulf of Mexico, the ultimate impact of the world’s worst oil spill to date is still being determined.

Recovery timeline from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Source: NOAA

Recovery timeline from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Source: NOAA

In July, WWF-Canada launched arcticspills.wwf.ca, an interactive website showcasing over two years of cutting edge science work and consultation with Northern communities and experts to examine what a potential oil spill would look like in the Beaufort Sea in Canada’s Western Arctic.

With the results available online for anyone to explore, we also want to ensure that this very complex study is understood by the Northern communities that have the most at risk in the event on a spill in the Beaufort Sea.

Screen capture from arcticspills.wwf.ca ©WWF-Canada

Screen capture from arcticspills.wwf.ca ©WWF-Canada

Over several weeks, I will travel to the remote coastal communities of the Beaufort Sea, and in-land communities of the Mackenzie Delta.  These are people who depend on the land and ocean for their livelihoods, but also have a need for economic development in the region.

Along with WWF summer student, Erin Goose, I will travel by plane and boat to these communities to give public presentations.  We will also have a representative of the Inuvialuit wildlife management agency joining us, and our experts available to answer the highly complex or detailed questions.

I invite you to follow my travels as I introduce you to the communities, wildlife and ecology of Canada’s Western Arctic – and share their comments they make about this work and the possible impacts of an oil spills on their environment and livelihoods.

Be sure to explore this for yourself by visiting arcticspills.wwf.ca and sharing this link with anyone else you know who is passionate about building a future in which people and nature thrive.