Hay River Harbour Restoration Project


The Hay River Harbour Restoration Project is crucial for maintaining essential marine resupply activities in the NWT and ensuring safe navigation for all harbour users. Dredging operations will address a significant build-up of sediment in the harbour, which has made it difficult to navigate safely and has threatened the operations of this important marine supply hub.

There are 2 areas of focus that pose the highest risk to navigating the harbour: Dredge Area A (the outlet into Great Slave Lake) and Dredge Area B (within three fingers area of the East Channel of the Hay River).

Operations for 2024 are scheduled to run from June 3 to September 14, with on-water work hours between 7am and 9pm daily.

Phase One: The emergency dredging project started in the summer of 2023, focusing on priority areas posing high risks to navigation in the harbour. The design is to dredge an emergency 30-metre wide by 2.4-metre-deep navigational channel, which accounts for approximately 84,000 cubic metres of sediment to be removed.  Only a portion of the work was completed in 2023, given the challenges of the Hay River evacuation and record low water levels – the remainder of the project has been carried forward to 2024.

Over the summer of 2024, further dredging will address the remaining sediment. Building on the progress made in 2023, key improvements are being implemented to improve dredging productivity and account for the extremely low water levels.

The GNWT will coordinate with the Coast Guard and commercial fishers to minimize disruptions between construction work and essential travel. Recreational and small boat users will be able to detour around the work.

Funding and Support: The GNWT received $3 million in support from Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and $5 million from Transport Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan for the harbour restoration work.

Technical Information: The GNWT is actively engaging with regulators and contractors to implement long-term solutions for restoring and maintaining safe navigation. 

The GNWT has registered this project as a ‘minor work’ under the Canadian Navigable Waters Act’s online registry, under the registry #10480 posted here: Common Project Search - Navigation Protection Program Registry - Canada.ca (tc.gc.ca)

The Project also holds a Type B Water License from the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board (MV2023L8-0005), and a Letter of Advice from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (#23-HCAA-00530).