2022-23 SCARF project summaries

Six projects were awarded funding in 2022/23 from a total budget of $60,000. Descriptions of approved projects are provided below.

Boreal Caribou Habitat Enhancement (Year 1 Monitoring)

Project lead: Deninu Kue First Nation

Species at risk focus: Boreal caribou

Purpose: This project has been developed to support and promote the conservation of boreal caribou and its habitat in the DKFN traditional territory. The purpose of this study is to accelerate the restoration of functioning winter range for boreal caribou in the South Slave Region of the NWT, mainly in areas that have been recently affected by wildfire. Boreal caribou rely on terrestrial lichens for forage during winter months when other food sources are scarce. The project team will conduct a trial to transplant and monitor terrestrial lichen regrowth by sourcing healthy lichen from areas where it is abundant and develop a community-based program in Fort Resolution for the stewardship of boreal caribou habitat.

Community-led Species at Risk Detection: eDNA Sampling in Traditionally Important Water Bodies of the North Slave Region

Project lead: North Slave Metis Alliance (NSMA)

Species at risk focus: Various

Purpose: North Slave Métis Alliance (NSMA) has now completed three years of its environmental DNA (eDNA) project. Its goal is to detect and identify species at risk at culturally important sites within NSMA traditional territory by combining western science methodologies with local and traditional knowledge of those species and sites. Using non-invasive eDNA sampling, the presence or absence of a species in an area is determined from the genetic material in an easy-to-obtain environmental sample (water, sediment, soil, etc.). The 2022/23 project focuses on establishing a baseline inventory of species at risk to inform management and conservation at Old Fort Rae on the North Arm of Great Slave Lake.

Bluenose-West Caribou Hunting and Knowledge Exchange

Project lead: Inuvik Hunters and Trappers Committee

Species at risk focus: Barren-ground caribou

Purpose: The Inuvik Hunters and Trappers Committee is organizing a hunting workshop with two experienced hunters to teach four youth how to hunt in a safe and responsible manner, while respecting the herd, meat, land and management zones. Youth will also learn about how the caribou move, where they migrate and how to select which caribou to harvest, as well as butchering and skinning skills. The goal is to teach youth to respect our caribou herds and keep caribou at a sustainable healthy number, while passing on this knowledge to other community members.

Hairy Braya Education and Awareness

Project lead: Ecology North

Species at risk focus: Hairy braya

Purpose: The goal of this project is to promote awareness of the hairy braya and its status as Threatened in the NWT. The project will focus on education and awareness of the risks the species is facing, ongoing recovery strategy methods, and the ways in which hairy braya is beneficial to its environment and Indigenous cultures in the Northwest Territories (NWT). The project will also highlight the importance of critical habitat and protected areas by increasing awareness about the only area in the world where hairy braya is found. The target audience for this project will be school-aged children, teachers, and educators, with an emphasis on outreach in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.

Presence or Absence of Species at Risk in the Sahtú Settlement Area

Project lead: Sahtú Renewable Resources Board

Species at risk focus: Various

Purpose: The goal of this project is to detect the presence or absence of species at risk (including boreal caribou, northern mountain caribou, northern leopard frog and bat species) in selected areas of the Sahtú Settlement Area. The project team will take photographs and audio recordings of species at risk at various locations throughout the area. The project will improve the understanding of which areas are used for different species at risk and will assist in identifying important habitat for species at risk. Density estimates and other demographic information may also be produced from the project.

Youth Culture Camp

Project lead: Athabasca Denesųłiné Néné Land Corporation

Species at risk focus: Barren-ground caribou

Purpose: The Athabasca Denesųłiné Néné Land Corporation is holding a culture camp at Snowbird Lake, NWT, to teach youth about traditional protocols for harvesting caribou. Youth will have a hands-on opportunity to conduct a caribou hunt, butcher and preserve meat. Educating people about the importance of respectful harvesting practices and maintaining the people-caribou relationship is a priority for species recovery and directly benefits caribou herd numbers by reducing waste and illegal harvest. There will also be evening sessions with the youth where Elders will discuss the traditional protocols and Dene laws directly through traditional Dene caribou stories and drum songs.