Through our comments on the proposed new Forest Act we emphasize the importance of strengthening public participation in decision making and including biodiversity, wildfire, and climate change considerations more significantly in the act.
We will continue to follow and share progress on enacting Bill 74: Forest Act.
Deninu Kue First Nation (DKFN) with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society –NWT Chapter (CPAWS-NWT) have completed a successful first field season documenting shoreline and wetland habitat in the area of the Slave River Delta and Taltson Watershed.
We are very sad to announce the passing of CPAWS Board member Alex Borowiecka. Alex was a remarkably patient and kind person, as well as being thoughtful, gentle, and unassuming. She was very perceptive and had a deeply poetic soul. She truly left a mark on her adopted community of Yellowknife.
Alex received degrees in architecture and landscape architecture from the University of Manitoba. She moved north shortly after graduation and worked with the Government of the Northwest Territories in various positions. During the early 1990’s she was part of the team of landscape architects that developed many of the parks, trails and facilities throughout the north. She applied her skills and sensitivity to designs that make an impact to this day.
Alex first joined the board of CPAWS-NWT shortly after the chapter was established. After a brief hiatus she re-joined the board in September 2016 as our secretary. She took on the onerous task of preparing minutes for which we were all grateful. She brought her patience and understanding to every CPAWS meeting and event.
Alex was an active member of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and had previously been a staff member and a board member of Ecology North. She loved her little piece of the northern rock and trees overlooking Great Slave Lake where she welcomed her friends including and many cats and dogs she adopted and cared for over the years.
As Alex once eloquently put it, we “don’t know what to say, what to do, what to think, in hopes of helping. There are no trite expressions or responses, only unanswerable, unanswered existential questions.”
We’ll miss Alex, but we are grateful for the time she spent with us and the efforts she put into our community, and into conservation of northern Canada.
Smith’s Landing First Nation, CPAWS, and the Alberta Wilderness Association are concerned with ongoing threats to Wood Buffalo National Park. Despite the welcome decision by Teck Resources to withdraw their mine, cumulative impacts from industrial development continue to threaten the health and world heritage status of the park. The Federal Government’s Wood Buffalo National Park Action Plan lists 142 significant actions that would improve the outlook for the park, however, no serious commitments to these actions have been shown as of yet. See the following press release for more detail.
Happy New Year from the staff and board at CPAWS-NWT!
Please take a few minutes to enjoy our year-end newsletter which provides a snapshot of happenings from 2019. What a remarkable year it was with celebrations for the Thaidene Nënéand Ts’ude niline Tu’eyeta Protected Areas, the enactment of a new NWT Protected Areas Act and much more!
November 27, 2019 – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s NWT Chapter (CPAWS-NWT) extends its congratulations to the K’asho Got’ine Dene and Metis, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and the many partners who celebrated the signing of an establishment agreement for the Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta Protected Area yesterday in the community of Rádeyı̨lı̨kóé (Fort Good Hope) located in the Sahtu Region of the NWT.
Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta (pronounced Tsoo-den-ee-len Too-yuh-ta), also known as the Ramparts River and wetlands encompasses 10,050 square kilometres of K’asho Got’ı̨nę traditional territory and is an area of abundant wildlife, fish, birds caribou, moose and furbearing animals.
CPAWS-NWT is thankful for the vision of K’asho Got’ı̨nę elders who identified Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta as an important area to protect. Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta will continue to provide for the K’asho Got’ı̨nę as it has for generations and is a positive outcome in the fight against the global climate change and biodiversity crisis’. Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta is an example of how Indigenous Nations are leading efforts to conserve areas of their traditional territories for their own future and for the benefit of all Canadians,” stated Kris Brekke CPAWS-NWT Executive Director.
Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta Key Events:
• 1993 – The Ramparts is identified as a Sahtú heritage place/site in the Sahtú Dene and Métis Comprehensive Claim • 2006 – Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta is sponsored as a candidate protected area under the NWT Protected Areas Strategy • 2012 – The Final Working Group Recommendation Report is released • 2013 – The K’asho Got’ine Lands Corporation requests establishment of Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta • 2018 – Notice is provided to Sahtú Land Use Planning Board that the GNWT is in negotiations to pursue Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta under the NWT – Protected Areas Act • 2019 – The GNWT and the K’asho Got’ı̨nę (including the local Yamoga Land Corporation), the Fort Good Hope Métis Nation Local #54 Land Corporation, and the Fort Good Hope Dene Band sign an establishment agreement for Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta on September 4th
A Few Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta Facts:
• The protected area is adjacent to the Gwich’in Settlement Area to the west and the Mackenzie River to the east and is about a third of the size of Vancouver Island (10,050 sq./km) • Boreal forest and wetland habitats provide for several Species at Risk including grizzly bear, boreal and mountain woodland caribou, as well as short-eared owl, peregrine falcon and wolverine • The area is a “key migratory bird terrestrial habitat site”; it supports over 1% of the national populations of a number of migratory bird populations • The watershed is an important wetland that filters millions of litres of water per day • The area has many cultural places of importance including archaeological sites, burial sites and traditional trails • The NWT Protected Areas Act prohibits industrial scale resource extraction and other large-scale energy projects • The GNWT and K’asho Got’ine will collaborate to implement the Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta establishment agreement. This includes forming a management board and preliminary work on developing a management plan
N.W.T., August 21, 2019 – A historic signing
ceremony is taking place today between Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation (LKDFN),
the Parks Canada Agency and the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) for the establishment of Thaidene Nëné – “The Land
of the Ancestors”. The agreement formalizes the new protected area and provides
for a unique co-governing approach to how the area will be managed. The parties are committed to consensus decision-making that will take guidance from Indigenous Law, the
Canada Parks Act and the Territorial Protected Areas and Wildlife Acts. At the
signing ceremony, the LKDFN Chief Darryl Marlowe stated that, “Achieving the
protection of Thaidene Nëné for the Łutsël K’é Denesǫłine is a decades-long
dream, and is a critical step towards ensuring
our way of life can be maintained and shared with all Canadians.”
Over the course of the past decade, CPAWS has been proud to support the LKDFN’S vision for establishing Thaidene Nëné. “It has been exciting to see how a partnership forged between Indigenous and crown governments can catalyze a conservation outcome for ecosystems and the people who live from the land,” said Kris Brekke, CPAWS-NWT Executive Director. Alison Ronson, CPAWS Interim National Executive Director, adds, “CPAWS has worked for many years with the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation on protecting this important part of the Northwest Territories and we’d like to offer our congratulations to them, as well as to Parks Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories, on this occasion.”
Thaidene Nëné is a 26,376 km² area that includes boreal forest, tundra and freshwater ecosystems around and
beyond the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, providing habitat for caribou, bear, moose, muskoxen, wolves and
fish. These ecosystems sustain the culture and livelihood of the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation and other First Nation and Metis
communities. Thaidene Nëné contributes
significantly to Canada’s efforts to meet international commitments to protect
17% of lands and inland waters and is a natural solution to climate change.
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Honourable Robert C. McLeod, Minister of GNWT Environment and Natural Resources and Chief Louis Balsillie of Denı́nu Kų́ę́ First Nation are also in attendance to speak at this historic announcement.
The official signing ceremony will be followed by a
community feast hosted by the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation. A multi-day
celebration will include hand games, a fishing derby and a drum dance.
Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta, also referred to as the Ramparts River and Wetlands, is located west of Fort Good Hope, in the Sahtu Region of the Northwest Territories, it borders the Mackenzie River and encompasses the Ramparts River and Wetlands Complex. Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta is identified by the K’asho Got’ine Dene and Métis of Fort Good Hope as an important ecological and cultural area with a diverse landscape which encompases extensive wetlands and incredible biodiversity. This area is rich in resources that provide hunting, fishing, trapping and other traditional activities which are integral to the K’asho Got’ine way of life. Six species at risk; the peregrine falcon, grizzly bear, mountain caribou, wolverine, short-eared owl, and boreal woodland caribou also call Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta home.
Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta is also used by Northwest Territories residents and visitors for fishing, boating, sightseeing and other recreational activities which will continue after the establishment of the Territorial Protected Area. Many species, including moose and mountain caribou, range only partially within Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta and travel across provincial and international borders as well as the borders of the protected area. The presence of these species within Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta reflect the importance of habitat connectivity across political borders.
The recommended boundary of Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta totals 10,050 km2. This represents 67% of the original proposed area. The 33% removed from the candidate area includes a majority of the high mineral potential; the majority of regional hydrocarbon potential remains outside of Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta and outside of other established or proposed protected areas.
1990: The K’asho Got’ine have been working to protect Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta for decades, in 1990, during land claim negotiations, Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta was identified as an area to be protected from development. This area totaled 14,700 km2.
2006-2012:Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta was sponsored as a candidate protected area under the NWT Protected Areas Strategy (PAS) . K’asho Got’ine worked with Canada, GNWT, industry representatives and NGOs under the PAS to identify values and boundaries of Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta. A recommendation was made to establish 10,103 km2 of the original area as a National Wildlife Area using the Canada Wildlife Act.
2013: The Sahtu Land Use Plan was finalized after 15 years of public engagement, and through this, Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta was zoned as a Proposed Conservation Initiative.
2014: The NWT Devolution Agreement on Lands and Resources came into effect and transferred administration and control of public lands in the NWT from Canada to the GNWT. Candidate protected areas were put on hold in order to determine a path forward which would include a “made in the north” approach to establishing protected areas. This approach would later become the Protected Areas Act.
2018: Public engagement on key concepts of Protected Areas legislation occurred and informed the establishment agreement for Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta.
April- May 2019: The Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment held public hearings on the Protected Areas Act and received support from Indiginous Governments and Organizations, Environmental Non-Government Organizations, and the public.
Present: A Preliminary screening notification for Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta has been released and the GNWT is accepting comments from the public. Learn more and make a comment here.
The Protected Areas Act, as stated by the Minister of Environment, will come into force within the life of the current Legislative Assembly.
Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta will be established as a Territorial Protected Area using the Protected Areas Act.
Bill 38: The Protected Areas Act passed third reading in the Legislative Assembly yesterday following a intense period of review hosted by the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment (SCEDE). Minister of Environment Robert C. McLeod accepted thirty amendments including the specific acknowledgement of Dinàgà Wek ’èhodì, Thaidene Nëné, and Ts’ude niline Tu’eyeta as candidate protected areas to be advanced under the Act.
Now that third reading has occurred the Bill will, as stated by the Minister, come into force within the life of this Assembly.
CPAWS-NWT has participated in development of Bill 38 starting in 2017 as part of the stakeholder working group and are pleased to see that our participation has contributed to a Protected Areas Act that will serve ecosystems, biodiversity, cultural continutity and development of conservation based economies.
We thank the Minister of Environment Robert C. McLeod, his GNWT staff, the technical working group and SCEDE for their various roles in co-drafting and reviewing the legislation and moving it through to a unanimous vote in the legislative assembly.