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2023-24 SCARF project summaries

Seven projects were awarded funding in 2023-24 from a total budget of $60,000. Descriptions of approved projects are provided below.

Caribou Relationship Plan

Project lead: Athabasca Denesųłiné Néné Land Corporation

Species at risk focus: Barren-ground Caribou

Purpose: Athabasca Denesųłiné Néné Land Corporation (ADNLC) is developing a community plan for monitoring and stewardship of caribou, including barren-ground caribou herds shared with the NWT. In 2023, with support from the Species Conservation and Recovery Fund, ADNLC will hold community workshops to gather information about critical habitat, caribou movement, impacts of climate change, fire suppression, habitat change, harvester education, harvest and health monitoring, and traditional knowledge, laws and protocols.

Boreal Caribou Habitat Enhancement

Project lead: Deninu Kųę́ First Nation

Species at risk focus: Boreal caribou

Purpose: 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 through a lichen transplant and monitoring program. This project builds on previous work by Deninu Kųę́ First Nation (DKFN)and LGL Limited, which successfully established lichen transplants in burned areas. In 2023-24, the project team will conduct a trial to enhance boreal caribou winter forage in areas previously impacted by industrial development by transplanting terrestrial lichen to the Pine Point area and developing a community-based program 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 Métis Alliance

Species at risk focus: Various

Purpose: The goal of this project is to detect and identify species at risk at culturally important sites within North Slave Métis Alliance (NSMA) traditional territory by combining western science methodologies with local and traditional knowledge of those species and sites. NSMA has now completed four years of its environmental DNA (eDNA) project and is expanding the project to include other non-invasive monitoring techniques using audio (ARU) and visual (wildlife camera) recordings. Activities in 2023-24 will include further eDNA sampling; setting up bat recorders and conducting visual bat monitoring; and collaborating with the Canadian Wildlife Service for audio data analysis, listening specifically for wood bison, boreal caribou, amphibians and bats.

Youth Engagement for the Future of Species at Risk

Project lead: Salt River First Nation

Species at risk focus: Various

Purpose: This project aims to educate youth in Fort Smith on the threats affecting species on the NWT List of Species at Risk and how they can assist in the recovery and sustainability of these species. The project includes classroom presentations for students at both Fort Smith schools (grades 4-6 and grades 7-12) by elders and knowledge keepers with expertise in bees, fish, caribou, bison, etc.; field trip for grades 5 and 6 to see wood bison at Pine Point, led by SRFN knowledge holders in collaboration with Parks Canada; birdwatching hike for grades 7 and 8 to observe at-risk bird species; and construction of a bee conservation area on Salt River Reserve land.

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 in selected areas of the Sahtú Settlement Area. Camera stations are established along the Sahtú portion of the Mackenzie Valley Highway Corridor (Tulit’a to Norman Wells) based on impacts to species at risk habitat identified through the CIMP-funded Petroleum Histories Project. Drone imagery will also be collected to assess wildlife habitat attributes surrounding the camera station locations. Images will be used in future educational materials and incorporated into the Sahtú portion of the Northern Landscapes Sensitivity Atlas.

Ulukhaktok Caribou Ground Survey

Project lead: Wildlife Management Advisory Council (NWT)

Species at risk focus: Peary caribou and Dolphin and Union caribou

Purpose: The Wildlife Management Advisory Council (NWT) is coordinating a ground survey on Northwest Victoria Island to determine Peary and Dolphin and Union caribou locations, distribution and habitat use. The survey will be carried out together with Government of the Northwest Territories and Government of Nunavut collaring programs for Peary and Dolphin and Union caribou planned for March/April 2023. The ground survey will also help support the planned Fall 2023 aerial survey and population estimate. The project will help improve community involvement in and understanding of caribou survey methodologies. Crews will also collect photographs of tracks, scat samples, kill site observations, and other wildlife observations on Northwest Victoria Island.

Youth and Elder Engagement Project

Project lead: Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board

Species at risk focus: Barren-ground caribou

Purpose: The Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board (BQCMB) is holding its regular meeting in Yellowknife, NWT, from May 16-18, 2023. The goal of this project is to involve and receive input from youth and Elders from Indigenous communities in the NWT on the range of the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq caribou (Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation, NWT Metis Nation). This will bring people together who would ordinarily not have the opportunity to share their knowledge, see and hear various presentations from across the caribou range, and participate in discussions about Beverly and Qamanirjuaq barren-ground caribou, conservation issues, and successful examples of co-management.