An exciting initiative to develop a Healthy Country Plan to protect threatened caribou in the MacKenzie Mountains—a biodiverse region on the border of the Northwest Territories and Yukon provinces in sub-arctic Canada—gained momentum this past summer. Over 40 community representatives of the Sahtú Settlement Region of the Northwest Territories and the Ross River Dena of the Yukon met with government representatives and NGOS, including TNC Canada, for a week-long planning session. Their efforts culminated in a draft plan called “Nío Nę P’ęnę́ Begháré Shúhta ɂepé Nareɂá,” or “Trails of the Mountain Caribou Management Plan.”
Stewart Cowell helped the group use the Healthy Country Planning process to outline targets, threats, goals, and objectives for monitoring and management strategies. The plan highlights indigenous stewardship and will not be finalized until broader community engagement is received this winter and spring. They also hope to launch a pilot community stewardship youth training program. The entire planning group will assemble again in 2019 to review progress on management strategies, funding opportunities, research, and stewardship programs.
Story from Tracey Williams, The Nature Conservancy