Advancing Conservation Interests in the Northwest Territories

An initiative has been undertaken by the Government of Canada (Environment Canada, Parks Canada Agency and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada) for conservation purposes in the Northwest Territories (NWT). This will result in the conservation of large and intact natural and cultural areas in partnership with the Government of the NWT, communities, Aboriginal Peoples, industry and ENGOs. It supports the NWT Protected Areas Strategy, which brings protection and development interests together in a clearly defined decision-making process that balances conservation and resource development.

This initiative, which includes both funding and land withdrawal, will allow the Parks Canada Agency to conduct a feasibility study for a national park at the east arm of Great Slave Lake and to develop and operate the Sahyoue and Ehdacho National Historic Site. Environment Canada will establish and operate up to eight national wildlife areas including Edéhzie, Sambaa K’e and Tu’ude’hliline-Tuyetah. These actions will allow Parks Canada to protect the one unrepresented region among the NWT terrestrial regions and Environment Canada to protect rare or unusual wildlife habitat and biogeographic regions which support wildlife or ecosystems at risk.

The positive outcomes of the proposal include:

  1. Establishment of natural and cultural areas while providing experiential, educational, economic and social benefits.
  2. Maintenance of ecological integrity of habitat, native species, biological communities and ecosystem processes.
  3. Achievement of commemorative integrity by protecting cultural resources, communicating their significance, and respecting their value in all management actions.

Negative environmental effects were also considered but were thought to be limited in extent and nature. Research permits may be required for any field research conducted and would provide a means of mitigating any possible negative effects.

The strategic environmental assessment concluded that the land withdrawal will protect the productivity and biodiversity of sensitive northern areas and help build capacity to better develop the protected areas network within Canada’s northern ecoregions. Strategies and accomplishments will be monitored annually in Reports on Plans and Priorities and in Departmental Performance Reports.