Impacts of Peatland Permafrost Thaw on Water - NWT Environmental Research Bulletin, Volume 7, Issue 34

NWT Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program
Resource Date:
Page Length

Permafrost thaw in peatlands results in changes to vegetation and soil and can affect water resources. This project examined peatlands in the Dehcho region. It was found that peatlands with increased permafrost thaw provided less water for streamflow because of increased water loss from plants and soil by evaporation. The effect of permafrost thaw on water availability is unknown, as other studies in the Dehcho have found that changing hydrologic connectivity can increase water availability. Continued permafrost thaw may lead to surface water with higher concentrations of dissolved organic matter and the production of methylmercury. Further research is needed to understand the risk to surface water.