Development projects in the Northwest Territories (NWT) must consider potential impacts to species at risk and their habitat as part of the environmental assessment process and when applying for permits and licences.
Which species at risk are in my project area
Developers can use the NWT Species and Habitat Viewer to explore spatial data on species, ecosystems and habitats in the NWT and identify the species at risk that occur within their area of interest. Reports generated through the viewer can provide:
- species lists
- range maps
- federal and territorial species status
- lead government agency responsible for the species
- identified critical habitat (federal) or designated habitat (territorial)
- information about caribou habitat and range plans
For a current list of all species at risk in the NWT, see Our Species at Risk. Click on the species name to get information about the species, including a map of where the species is known to occur in the NWT.
Some species that are assessed but not currently listed may become listed within the timeframe of your project. It is best practice to consider these species as though they were listed and identify ways to avoid or minimize potential impacts.Back to top
How to avoid or minimize potential impacts
Mitigating and monitoring measures will depend on the species and its sensitivity to different kinds of activities. It will also depend on the size and expected impact of the development.
The Government of the Northwest Territories considers it a best practice for all developers to develop a Wildlife Management and Monitoring Plan (WMMP) for their project. A WMMP allows developers to demonstrate how they will mitigate the impacts of their project, remain in compliance with regulatory requirements and address public concern.
- For guidance on developing your WMMP, consult the WMMP Process and Content Guidelines.
- Find out more about your responsibilities under the federal Species at Risk Act
Regulations and Permits
Regulations may be put in place to protect the species or its habitat. Under the Species at Risk (NWT) Act, these regulations are developed on a species-by-species basis anytime after assessment, following the appropriate consultation. Visit our page on Regulations and Permits for current regulations or agreements with land owners under the Species at Risk (NWT) Act.
Every year, the NWT Minister of Environment and Climate Change publishes a report on any agreements, orders, permits and exemptions made under the Species at Risk (NWT) Act. These reports can be found here.
Under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA), some protective regulations come into force automatically as soon as the species is listed. For more detailed information about how SARA applies on private land and what you can do to ensure you comply with the requirements of SARA, please read SARA and You: Information for Private Landowners.Back to top
Where critical habitat has been identified for Endangered or Threatened species under the federal Species at Risk Act, it must be protected from destruction. For guidance on activities likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat, refer to the national recovery strategy for the individual species on the on the federal Species at Risk Public Registry.Back to top
Caribou range planning
Range planning is underway for several populations of caribou in the NWT, including boreal caribou and barren-ground caribou (Bathurst herd).
Range plans can help stabilize and recover caribou populations through careful management of human activity across the caribou range. They also provide clarity on land use and access for developers, regulators and residents of the NWT.
- The Bathurst Caribou Range Plan was developed in 2019. For more information, visit the webpage for the GNWT Department of Environment and Climate Change (ECC).
- Work is underway to develop five regional range plans for boreal caribou across the NWT. The Interim Range Plan for Boreal Caribou in the Wek’èezhìı Region was released in 2022. For more information on boreal caribou range planning, visit the webpage for the GNWT Department of Environment and Climate Change (ECC).
Developers can use the NWT Species and Habitat Viewer to explore spatial data on caribou habitat and range plans, and help determine how a proposed development may contribute to new habitat disturbance.Back to top
Developers are encouraged to submit data on wildlife sightings and other wildlife monitoring to ECC’s Wildlife Management Information System (WMIS). Contact WMISTeam@gov.nt.ca to discuss the best way to submit your data.Back to top
For a full list of online resources for species at risk click here.Back to top
Species at risk in the NWT
Species at risk in Canada
- Canadian Wildlife Service - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada - www.aquaticspeciesatrisk.ca
- Parks Canada Agency - email@example.com
Wildlife management and monitoring plans in the NWT
Environmental impact assessments in the NWT
- Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board - www.reviewboard.ca
- Environmental Impact Review Board, Inuvialuit Settlement Region - www.eirb.ca
- Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board – www.mvlwb.com