Marian Watershed Stewardship ProgramWednesday, November 20, 2019 - 8:40am to 9:00am Theatre Two
The Tłı̨chǫ Government is working together with Wek'èezhìi Land and Water Board (WLWB) and other partners to develop the Marian Watershed Community-Based Aquatic Effects Monitoring Program. This is a community-based monitoring program that is being developed based on the questions and needs of the Tłı̨chǫ people. Tłı̨chǫ Lands had been under Moratorium since the signing of the Tłı̨chǫ Agreement in 2005 and on June 1, 2013, the Moratorium was lifted as the Tłı̨chǫ Wenek’e or Land Use Plan came into force. With the potential for future development of Tłı̨chǫ Lands, the Tłı̨chǫ people have expressed concern about impacts on the water and wildlife they are so dependent upon. The objective of the Marian Watershed Monitoring Program is to begin collecting baseline information about the water and fish on Tłı̨chǫ lands and in locations the Tłı̨chǫ feel are the most important, prior to any major development pressure (such as the NICO mine by Fortune), and to continue collecting this data over time. Community members are being trained to collect samples, analyze the samples, and report findings back to the rest of the community members. A pilot project was conducted at Hislop Lake, upstream of the planned NICO Mine site, in the fall of 2013. This project included the training of eight community members and a field program where the newly trained Environmental Monitors worked with scientists to investigate the concerns of the elders and community members. A workshop was organized by the Department of Culture and Lands Protection (DCLP) in the spring of 2019 to bring back the results from the Hislop Lake camp and to develop a long term monitoring plan that truly addresses the concerns of the elders. We identified important field sites along the Marian River from Hislop Lake to Marian Lake, which will be visited on a four-year cycle. The ongoing program will facilitate enhanced understanding of fish health and water chemistry each year, ensure active monitoring of Tłı̨chǫ waters by Tłı̨chǫ people, and prioritize meaningful communication back to community members.