Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Robert C. McLeod released a new framework that will guide the development of five regional range plans for boreal caribou in the Northwest Territories (NWT).
Range plans are tools for decision-makers, developers and communities to help manage activities on the land in a way that supports caribou conservation.
Boreal caribou are listed as a Threatened species under both the federal Species at Risk Act and the territorial Species at Risk (NWT) Act. While the NWT population of boreal caribou is currently considered to be stable overall, careful management of habitat disturbance will be important to maintain a healthy and sustainable boreal caribou population for the future.
The Framework for Boreal Caribou Range Planning will help ensure regional plans are consistent with one another by providing regional thresholds for habitat disturbance, actions to mitigate and manage disturbance and criteria to decide where more intensive management actions should be taken.
Each regional range plan is expected to take at least two years to develop. Range planning will start this fall in the Southern NWT and Wek’èezhìı regions, which have the highest levels of disturbance, followed by the Sahtú, Gwich’in, and Inuvialuit regions. All five plans are expected to be complete by 2023.
“Protecting boreal caribou is a shared responsibility that requires the commitment and action of multiple partners, including governments, regulatory boards, industry and other stakeholders. Our government is committed to managing this important resource responsibly and looks forward to working with its partners to develop range plans under this Framework to help establish certainty around land use and ensure a healthy and sustainable boreal caribou population that offers harvesting opportunities now and into the future.”
- Robert C. McLeod, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources
The NWT range of boreal caribou extends from the border with Alberta and British Columbia north to the Gwich’in and Inuvialuit regions, and includes part of the Yukon Territory. This area is known as the “NT1” range. The Framework does not apply to the Yukon portion of the range, which will be managed by the Yukon Government.
- Range plans will be developed collaboratively through regional working groups made up of representatives from relevant Indigenous governments and organizations, renewable resources boards, community members, GNWT departments, land use planning boards, land and water boards, federal agencies and non-governmental organizations, as appropriate.
- Range plans are recommended under both the NWT and national Recovery Strategies. The national Recovery Strategy also requires that at least 65% of boreal caribou habitat in the NWT is free from human or wildfire disturbance.
- The range plans will be reviewed and adjusted every five years with a full update every 10 years.
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