Environmentalists not fans of Ottawa and Queen’s Park’s caribou protection plans – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – May 5, 2022)


Groups call federal environment minister’s collaboration with the province a “betrayal” of a promise to protect caribou habitat

A joint federal and provincial commitment to revive the boreal caribou population in Northern Ontario doesn’t go far enough for some conservation and environmental groups.

A news release penned by the David Suzuki Foundation, Ontario Nature, Ecojustice and the Wildlands League said the new agreement will “do more harm than good” for the threatened species which roams mostly in Ontario’s Far North. They collectively say the agreement contains no real commitments or targets to protect or restore caribou habitat.

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Canada has a quarter of world’s soil carbon. Keeping it in the ground could curb climate change, experts say – by Inayat Singh and Alice Hopton (CBC News Science – November 10, 2021)


Canada has 384 billion tonnes carbon stored in peatland and other soils, new study has found

Canada stores about a quarter of the world’s soil carbon, according to a new study that puts a spotlight on the country’s role in protecting that carbon to help prevent further climate change.

Those carbon-rich soils are found especially in peatland: boggy wetlands in northern Ontario and parts of Manitoba that are filled with accumulated plant matter that’s been collecting over thousands of years.

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Could an Indigenous conservation area in Hudson Bay also be the key to saving carbon-rich peatlands? – by Inori Roy (The Narwhal – November 6, 2021)

The Narwhal

The Mushkegowuk Council has been pushing to protect the area in northern Ontario — a major carbon sink the size of Portugal — for decades

Lawrence Martin can’t put a date on when he first heard community Elders call for conservation efforts in James Bay and Hudson Bay — but the interest goes as far back as he can remember.

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Modelling threats to caribou in Ontario’s Ring of Fire – by Claire Farrell (Canadian Geographic – October 26, 2021)


For caribou in the far north region of Ontario, there are storm clouds gathering. A recent analysis published in the Journal of Wildlife Management, which I helped to coauthor, projected possible population declines of anywhere from 17 to 30 per cent for northern caribou over the next 50 years.

There are two major factors behind this decline: climate change and expanding resource development, including a race to develop the mineral-rich Ring of Fire area in the Hudson Bay lowlands. These factors will combine to make life a lot more difficult for caribou in multiple ways.

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Conservationists cheer latest proposal to protect land in Nunavut – by David Venn (Nunatsiaq News – July 20, 2021)


The Nunavut Planning Commission’s new proposal for what parts of the territory should be protected from industrial activity is getting some early approval from World Wildlife Fund Canada.

That’s because the new draft of a land-use plan for the territory identifies more caribou and walrus calving areas and marks them as off limits year-round.

Specifically, the government uses Inuit traditional knowledge and a study from the Qikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board to mark calving grounds on Baffin Island, and these areas would be protected for the first time.

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Northwest First Nations protest provincial caribou strategy – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – May 29, 2019)


Red Rock Chief won’t be “force-fed” conservation plan that jeopardizes development, threatens communities

The province’s rollout of a woodland caribou recovery strategy in northwestern Ontario threatens the gains made by First Nations in natural resource development, said the chief of the Red Rock Indian Band.

Matthew Dupuis and a group of protesters were taking to the road to delay traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway at the Nipigon Bridge on May 29.

They take issue with Ontario’s Woodland Caribou Conservation Plan to create corridors for woodland caribou that they say is potentially devastating to communities and industry along the north shore of Lake Superior.

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Caribou protection plan generates protests among northern residents – by Vaughn Palmer (The Province – April 2019)


Folks in the northeast have their doubts. “Caribou consultations: Are they already a foregone conclusion?” as the headline in the Dawson Creek Mirror put it last week.

VICTORIA — The NDP government’s rush-job consultations on a caribou protection plan have generated protests among northeast residents fearing for jobs and feeling left out of the process.

Provincial officials spent almost a year consulting on the plan with the federal government and local First Nations, all the while excluding other local governments and residents from knowing what was in the works.

Forests and Lands Minister Doug Donaldson finally took the wraps off the plan in late March, leaving by his own admission a mere five weeks to gather feedback via public consultations.

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Environmental groups call on federal government to protect caribou in northern Ontario – by Nicole Thompson (Canadian Press/Global News – November 14, 2018)


TORONTO — Three environmental groups are calling on the federal government to protect boreal caribou in northern Ontario, saying a decade of mismanagement by the province has put the animals increasingly at risk.

The David Suzuki Foundation, Ontario Nature and the Wildlands League issued a petition to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna this week, requesting that she recommend federal cabinet issue what’s known as a “safety net order” under the Species at Risk Act for two boreal caribou populations about 120 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay.

The move would prevent damage to or destruction of 65 per cent of the caribou populations’ habitats — the amount of undisturbed land that the federal government said in a 2012 report would give the animals a 60 per cent shot at becoming self-sustaining.

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Rejection of controversial project ‘a pretty hard blow,’ says Yukon miner (CBC News North – July 19, 2018)


Second application to mine claims near Judas Creek rejected for Yukon miner

Nicolai Goeppel said he’s ready to throw in the towel after his second attempt to operate a placer mine south of Whitehorse was rejected by the Yukon government. “I really don’t know if it’s worth putting any more money and time into it,” Goeppel said.

Goeppel’s initial application for a placer mine in the Judas Creek area was rejected by the government in 2016, largely because of a potential negative impact on the Carcross caribou herd.

His second application reduced the number of claims to be mined from 45 to 15, the period of mining was reduced from 10 years to five years, and the timing of the operations was adjusted to minimize impact on the caribou.

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NEWS RELEASE: Ontario Alliance of First Nations and Non-First Nations asks Feds to Hit the Pause Button on Species at Risk Policy (May 9, 2018)

May 9th, 2018 – An Alliance of First Nation and non-First Nation leaders in Ontario are concerned about the potential social, economic and environmental impacts of species at risk (SAR) policy being developed by the Federal Government and the current direction being proposed for managing and conserving caribou.

Al Spacek, President of FONOM and Mayor of Kapuskasing commented, “The Ontario Government has taken these concerns very seriously and have committed to achieving a better understanding of the impacts of climate change on species at risk, the cumulative impacts of all species at risk on a broad, dynamic landscape, and a much better appreciation of the socio-economic impacts on our communities.

However, delivering on this commitment will take time and we remain very concerned that the window of opportunity being provided by the Ontario Government is now being placed in jeopardy by our Federal Government.”

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Forestry exemption extended under ESA – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – May 4, 2018)


TIMMINS – An exemption under the Endangered Species Act that allowing forestry to maintain current operations has been extended by the province for another two years.

Ontario Minister of Natural Resources Nathalie Des Rosiers, who was in Timmins briefly this week, said she is encouraged by that. She said the effort will now be made to achieving a balance — protecting the habitat of woodland caribou while continuing to provide wood fibre to the forest industry.

Des Rosier did not offer any specific solution to that, but said a newly-formed roundtable is charged with finding several solutions.  “Yesterday (Tuesday), I had a really good roundtable in Hearst with different partners in the forestry industry,” Des Rosiers said in a brief interview with The Daily Press this week.

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How federal caribou protection policies could wreak widespread economic carnage across Canada – by Jesse Snyder (Financial Post – April 26, 2018)


Despite spending the better part of his career surrounded by endless stretches of boreal forest, John Unger has almost no first-hand knowledge of the boreal woodland caribou, a species whose survival instincts keep it deep in the woods and away from potential predators.

“I’ve never seen a caribou in my life,” said the chief executive of La Crete Sawmills Ltd., a northern Alberta facility that employs around 100 people and is named after the hamlet it’s located in.

But the naturally reclusive caribou could soon leave a major imprint on northern communities such as La Crete, Unger said, as Ottawa pushes ahead with contentious species protection plans to save threatened herds.

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‘It’s game over’: Last ‘Grey Ghost’ caribou herd is down to just three members, all female – by Adrian Humphreys (National Post – April 18, 2018)


The last remaining herd of cross-border mountain caribou is now effectively extinct after an aerial count found only three survived the winter, all of them female.

The alarming census of the South Selkirk population of southern mountain caribou, placing it at a number meaning de facto extinction, comes after years of warnings from scientists and conservation groups.

Government biologists twice did the head count this spring, once in ideal conditions in fresh snow to help tracking from above, and found the alarming decline, said Mark Hebblewhite, a Canadian wildlife biologist at the University of Montana and a science adviser to the federal government.

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Alberta pushes back against federal caribou protection plan – by Kelly cryderman (Globe and Mail – March 20, 2018)


The Alberta government is pushing back against a federal deadline for a plan to protect woodland caribou under the Species at Risk Act, saying the still-fragile state of the province’s economy means it will suspend any consideration of setting aside conservation lands until it studies the socio-economic effects.

A strongly worded letter – in government terms – from Alberta to Ottawa Monday sets up the potential of a political showdown over environmental measures. It asks Ottawa to ante up more funding, saying the cost of restoration over the next four decades could top $1-billion and that even rearing facilities for caribou will cost $75-million.

Premier Rachel Notley’s government also said it is sending a delegation to Ottawa to discuss the “enormous undertaking to fulfill federal law,” and asks that Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna hold off from “prematurely implementing federal protection orders that will not have effective outcomes for Canadians and Albertans.”

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Human activity takes a toll on caribou habitat in Nunavik – by Sarah Rogers (Nunasiaq News – December 14, 2017)


Researchers at Université Laval say human activity in northern Quebec is damaging and reducing the extent of caribou habitat, along with the health of the herds that migrate through Nunavik each year.

A new study attempts to quantify that impact by looking at how the animals have shifted their ranges as roads and mines are developed in the region.

The two main migratory caribou herds in Nunavik have seen their populations drop dramatically in recent years. The George River herd has plummeted from 800,000 animals in 1993 to just 9,000 in 2016, while the Leaf River herd has dropped from 600,000 caribou in 2001 to less than 200,000 today.

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