Webinar – Yukon North Slope Wildlife Conservation and Management Planning
Developing a Baseline Ecological and Cultural Conservation Assessment and Decision-Support Tool
Kim Heinemeyer (Lead Conservation Scientist, Round River Conservation Studies) and Lindsay Staples [Chair, Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope)]
Wednesday April 13, 2016, 2-3pm MDT
The Yukon North Slope (YNS), Canada, is one of North America’s climate change hot spots. YNS conservation planners are seeking collaborators as they synthesize Traditional Knowledge and western science data to assess the cultural and ecological values of the region. The effort will produce an updated Wildlife Conservation and Management Plan and complementary decision support tools.
In 1984, the Inuvialuit of the Western Arctic entered into a land claim agreement – the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA) – with the governments of Canada, Yukon and Northwest Territories. The full geographic scope of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region includes much of the Western Arctic including portions of the Beaufort Sea, a large area of the Northwest Territories, and the entire YNS. The IFA confirmed that the management priority for the YNS was conservation of the land, near and off shore waters, wildlife and habitat, and Inuvialuit traditional use. To assist in delivering on this management priority, the IFA established the Wildlife Management Advisory Council, North Slope (WMAC(NS)) as a co-management body comprised of federal, territorial and Inuvialuit representatives and required the development of a wildlife conservation and management plan to provide direction on meeting the management priorities of the YNS. A Wildlife Conservation and Management Plan (Plan) was developed in 2003 but never ratified and is now considered out-of-date. The Plan requires significant updating including the development of spatial analyses and tools to support decision-making that may affect priority values of the region.
The WMAC(NS) has initiated the update of the Plan. This includes inviting partners to assist in the development of key aspects of the Plan. Round River Conservation Studies is assisting WMAC(NS) in the collection, consolidation, development and synthesis of spatial data, models and analyses of cultural and ecological values of the YNS. There is significant ecological and cultural information and data for the YNS that will provide the basis for regional analyses of cultural and ecological values.
Additional key data are currently being developed including the generation of an ecological land classification and a comprehensive Inuvialuit traditional use study, as well as the collection of Traditional Knowledge (TK) of the seasonal distribution, habitats, movements and status of focal fish and wildlife species and observed changes to these. The baseline ecological and cultural conservation assessment will provide multiple stand-alone products including habitat models and connectivity assessments for selected focal species based on TK and western science data. It will also include a spatial synthesis and analyses of cultural and ecological values to identify areas of exceptional importance such as areas of high diversity, key movement areas, critical habitat areas, and irreplaceable values for cultural and ecological sustainability. These products will be packaged for ease of use into a spatial decision-support tool and data library that complements the non-spatial aspects of the Plan. The YNS is a circumpolar “hot spot” of climate change-induced geophysical and biophysical effects with profound significance for the Inuvialuit and for the management of the area. Critical to the work will be the intelligent incorporation of potential climate changes that affect the high priority values of the YNS and therefore should fundamentally affect decisions for the long-term resilience of the region.
Much of this effort is just being initiated and the YNS team is seeking collaborators to assist with the work. The presentation will provide background on the values and status of the YNS and current status and proposed work to develop the baseline ecological and cultural conservation assessment.
To join the webinar online:
Contact Brett_Parks@fws.gov [(907)456-0404] with any questions.