Cumulative Impact Monitoring and Why it Matters

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The NWT Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program (NWT CIMP) monitors cumulative impacts and tracks environmental trends by coordinating, conducting and investing in environmental monitoring and research projects.

Results are made available to decision-makers for their consideration in the wise use of natural resources.

What are Cumulative Impacts?

Cumulative impacts are changes to the environment caused by human activities and natural processes that add up across space and time.

By studying changes to valued parts of the ecosystem — like caribou, fish and water — changes can be tracked and Northern decision-makers can make better informed decisions on ecosystem health and sustainable development.

Photo credit: Lauren Arnold

Communicating the Research

Monitoring and research findings are useful to all northerners.  One way NWT CIMP gets information about research to audiences is through NWT Environmental Research Bulletins (NERBs).  

In these bulletins, researchers explain their project and findings to the public in a brief, plain-language format.

ENR is featuring recently published NERBs over the next few weeks.

Our first feature examines whether existing NWT monitoring programs are providing decision-makers with the information they need.

Researchers Bram Noble from the University of Saskatchewan and Kevin Hanna from the University of British Columbia reviewed NWT water quality monitoring programs and researched how the information is used by decision-makers to consider cumulative impacts.  

The research concludes with successes, challenges and next steps.

Check out the findings here.