Main Content

2018-19 Stewardship project summary

Five projects were awarded a total of $30,000 of Species at Risk Stewardship Program funding in 2018-19:

You Can Make a Difference - Caribou for the Future: Grade 7-12 Poster & Prose Contest

Project lead: Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board (BQCMB)

Species at risk focus: Barren-ground caribou

Purpose: The project is a Grade 7-12 poster and prose contest for NWT students from communities on the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq caribou range. It is part of a larger initiative with the goal of increasing public awareness of and support for the conservation of barren-ground caribou in communities across the caribou range. In Phase I of this project, the BQCMB (with funding from WWF-Canada) developed a comprehensive communications project based on three main themes: the importance of respectful harvest of caribou, the importance of harvest information, and cumulative effects on caribou and caribou habitat. Phase II - the Grade 7-12 poster and prose contest - will help youth learn about these themes and their importance in caribou conservation. A successful contest was held in schools in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut in fall 2017 and funding has been awarded for the BQCMB to hold contests in northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba in spring 2018.

Bats in the Gwich'in Settlement Area

Project lead: Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board (GRRB)

Species at risk focus: Bats

Purpose: Bat surveys in the NWT are sparse. Most observations and surveys have been focused in the south, and the northern limits of bats are not clear. This project focuses in the Gwich'in Settlement Area (GSA) where bat observations have been reported by community members in previous years. Surveys will focus on zero-crossing acoustic bat detectors recording echolocation calls of bats in the summer and fall, in roosting and foraging suitable habitat (trails, ponds, forested areas, rock crevices, buildings). This project is year 2 of an ongoing project.

Species at Risk Science Communication in the Gwich'in Settlement Area

Project lead: Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board (GRRB)

Species at risk focus: Various

Purpose: This project is a partnership between the GRRB and the Department of Cultural Heritage of the Gwich'in Tribal Council (DCH). The project team will take video footage, audio recordings, and photographs of species at risk and scientific research fieldwork being carried out by GRRB biologists and use the pictures and recordings to produce a variety of social media products: podcasts, videos, photo posts, etc. These posts and podcasts will educate the GRRB's and DCH's audiences about the species in question, and the research carried out in order to conserve and manage them. The project will have direction from Gwich'in youth and GRRB scientists to ensure the audience and the content is relevant. The educational materials will be shared through the GRRB's YouTube channel and via other social media, including Facebook.

Willow Creek Hike

Project lead: Moose Kerr School

Species at risk focus: Various

Purpose: Opportunity for elementary students to go on the land and gain insight and awareness for protection of species at risk in their settlement area and how to be stewards for future preservation of identified species at risk for the Gwich'in land claim area in and around the Richardson Mountains.

eDNA Training for Detecting Species at Risk

Project lead: North Slave Metis Alliance (NSMA)

Species at risk focus: Various

Purpose: Environmental DNA (eDNA) is a new and emerging tool for the conservation of biodiversity. Compared to traditional capture methods, eDNA collection is simple, non-invasive, inexpensive, and does not require a permit. 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.). Thus, eDNA is especially useful for detecting rare and/or cryptic species at risk, which may be missed by visual or capture-based surveys. The goal is to train NSMA members and staff how to collect eDNA samples so that they can conduct their own monitoring studies on species at risk, such as northern leopard frog. Empowering Aboriginal groups will help protect species at risk and their habitats by expanding monitoring networks, modernizing traditional and scientific knowledge of species distribution (and possibly abundance), and providing data to inform conservation management decisions. In addition, local stewardship will greatly reduce the need to spend limited resources on outside services. This project aims to develop and distribute training materials for freshwater eDNA sampling and to provide on-site training for NSMA staff and members, who can then further transfer this knowledge to NWT communities. Training materials will include instructions for eDNA sample collection, filtration, and storage; equipment and laboratory lists; a slide presentation to provide an introduction to eDNA methodology; and on-site training (demo) equipment and consumables. On-site training will be led by knowledgeable staff from Zoetica Environmental Consulting Services, who have experience working in the NWT and conducting workshops for Aboriginal groups.