Tłı̨chǫ Highway – Update on Wildlife Monitoring Program
Regarding the implementation of Measure 7-1 from the Tłı̨chǫ Highway (TH) EA, incorporating Traditional Knowledge into monitoring of ɂekwǫ̀ (barren-ground caribou), the following key actions were undertaken by the Tłı̨chǫ Government in 2020 and are described in greater detail below:
- Development of Tłı̨chǫ Highway Wildlife Monitoring Program proposal and workplan;
- Signed Contribution Agreement with GNWT ENR;
- Hired the Tłı̨chǫ Highway Wildlife Monitoring Coordinator; and
- Established the Tłı̨chǫ Tı̨lıı̀ Deè Committee.
The wildlife monitoring program will monitor woodland caribou, barren-ground caribou, moose and other animals as well.
In 2020, the Tłı̨chǫ Government developed a proposal and workplan for the TH Wildlife Monitoring Program. The monitoring program will provide data to be used by the Tłı̨chǫ Government in considering and negotiating mitigations related to the TH. The proposal was funded through a Contribution Agreement with GNWT Environment and Natural Resources in August 2020 for project work between 2020-March 2023.
One of the first workplan tasks, the TH Wildlife Monitoring Coordinator position was filled in December 2020 (Peter Huskey). The Coordinator leads the establishment of the Tłı̨chǫ Tı̨lıı̀ Deè Committee (described below) and the development of the harvest pressure and habitat monitoring program, including assisting monitors with data collection on the TH.
The Tłı̨chǫ Tı̨lıı̀ Deè Committee consists of elders and knowledge holders with expertise related to wildlife, monitoring, and/or the TH area. The Tłı̨chǫ Tı̨lıı̀ Deè Committee’s role is to provide advice and guidance to the Tłı̨chǫ Highway Wildlife Monitoring Program. In 2020, the foundation for the Committee was created including drafting the Committee Terms of Reference, selecting Committee members, and scheduling the first Committee meeting which took place in January 2021.
These actions are the beginning of the Tłı̨chǫ Government's monitoring project for the Tłı̨chǫ Highway, which will continue into 2023 with current funding. In relation to Measure 7-1, the project will focus on improving and informing mitigation of significant adverse impacts to ɂekwǫ̀ through the inclusion of Tłı̨chǫ traditional knowledge in Tłı̨chǫ Highway monitoring and management.
From Feb 8-11/2021 the wildlife monitoring coordinator Peter Huskey and 3 committee members, Harry Rabesca, Bobby Nitsiza and Frankie Jr (Arnold) Nitsiza went on the Tłı̨chǫ Highway with truck (with special permission) and snowmobiles to survey the area for wildlife tracks, confirm snowmobile crossings and take notes on the weather and habitat. They are planning another survey to happen this month.
Contact: Tyanna Steinwand, Manager of Research Operations
Phone: 867-392-6381 ext 1357