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Environment

Taltson River is rising to record levels, NWT government warns


The ongoing melt season combined with high levels of snow and rainfall means water in the Taltson River is nearing record levels set last year, the territorial government says. 

The NWT’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources said in a Friday statement that while the Taltson’s rising water does not currently pose a risk to any communities in the South Slave, hunters and trappers should be aware.

For the first time since 2014, two out of three gates at the Nonacho Lake Dam have been opened to release water from Nonacho Lake into the Taltson River system, the NWT Power Corporation said in a separate statement.

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The power corporation said data from the Taltson indicated that opening two gates will “add just over five percent to the total river flow.”

While the gates are normally used during low water years, they can also be used when the lake’s water levels get too high, the corporation said. 

Unprecedented overflow from the Tazin River is also impacting the Taltson’s water levels.  

“In a normal year, the Tazin River is not a major contributor to the overall volume of water in the Taltson River system,” said the power corporation.

“In 2020 and 2021, however, the Tazin has been a major contributor.”

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Rivers and basins around Great Slave Lake have been experiencing record or near-record water levels for a year or more.

Harvesters and trappers who operate around the Taltson River have already been affected by flooding in the past year. High water levels flooded cabins and ruined the trapping season for some, leading to the establishment of a compensation fund by the territorial government.

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