Deninu Kųę́, Fort Resolution Métis receive $3.1M for protected area
The Deninu Kųę́ First Nation and Fort Resolution Métis Government have announced $3.1 million in federal funding to help develop a new Indigenous protected area.
Protecting portions of the Slave River delta and Taltson watershed was first proposed earlier this year. Existing protected areas in the NWT include Edéhzhíe, Thaidene Nëné and Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta.
Fresh funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada, announced on Thursday at a biodiversity conference in Montreal, will pay for development of an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area proposal, a joint news release stated.
“Fresh water is needed for life. It is vital to our cultural, social and ecological well-being of the Dene people living in the NWT. We need to protect these ecosystems,” Chief Louis Balsillie of the Deninu Kųę́ First Nation was quoted as saying.
“Many strong partnerships already exist in the NWT. We need to combine our resources,” stated Arthur Beck, president of the Fort Resolution Métis Government.
The two parties said they will incorporate traditional knowledge, science, and land use options while working with governments, philanthropists and environmental non-profits. Conservation groups Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society were described on Thursday as supporting partners.
There is no published timeline for the proposal to be designed and submitted.
The area proposed for protection – which has not yet been precisely defined – is described as an important habitat for moose, fish, fur-bearing animals, ducks and geese, providing food security alongside economic and cultural activity for Indigenous peoples who live locally. It is also a “hot-spot for migratory birds,” Thursday’s press release stated, and a spawning area for fish.
“Extensive peatlands and old-growth forest contribute carbon storage, a critical natural solution to climate change mitigation,” the press release concluded.
The announcement follows news earlier this week that a chunk of an $800-million federal conservation package will be spent on a project involving various NWT communities.
So far, little is known about what exactly that project will be and which communities are involved.