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Caribou Lake


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Mackenzie No. 23 AB
Canada

Caribou Lake


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Location

AB
Canada

A review and assessment of existing information for key wildlife and fish species in the Regional Sustainable Development Strategy study area. Volume 1: Wildlife


Year: 2002

Abstract:
This report summarizes the life history and habitat requirements, distribution and population characteristics (e.g., size and trends) of key wildlife species and communities in the Regional Sustainable Development Strategy (RSDS) study area of northeastern Alberta. A summary of information on key fish species is presented in Volume 2 of this report. Key wildlife included 7 priority #1 species/communities (woodland caribou, moose, muskrat, fisher/small mammal, lynx/snowshoe hare, old growth forest bird community, and Canadian toad) and 8 priority #2 species/communities (black bear, beaver, river otter, ruffed grouse, pileated woodpecker, boreal owl, mixedwood forest bird community, and ducks and geese). Key fish included 2 priority #1 species (northern pike and walleye) and 4 priority #2 species (lake whitefish, Arctic grayling, longnose sucker, and burbot). The information presented in this report is organized into detailed species and community accounts. Data was compiled from numerous sources, including government, industry, university and private/ non-profit organizations. Over 300 published and unpublished reports were reviewed to assimilate the information presented in this report. Habitat/life history requirements for each wildlife species were summarized as general living, foraging, reproducing, protective/thermal cover and migrating/ moving habitat requirements. Habitat elements that characterize moderate-high suitability habitats were also identified based on the results of existing habitat suitability index (HSI) models. Population sizes and trends, as well as the natural variability in population size, were reported where possible. Limited information was available on the population dynamics of most species. Information on population trends was augmented by a discussion of habitat trends within the oil sands area using the results of Cumulative Effects Assessments for various oil sands development projects. Data collected from oil sands projects, as well as other sources, on species sightings/ occurrences and important habitat areas were mapped using GIS. Finally, information gaps pertaining to habitat use, habitat requirements, and population characteristics for each key species/ community were identified.

A review and assessment of the baseline data relevant to the impacts of oil sands developments on large mammals in the AOSERP study area


Year: 1979

Abstract:
The available baseline data which are relevant to the documentation and evaluation of the impacts on large mammals (moose, woodland caribou, wolf) which would result from oil sands development are reviewed. An approach to the analysis of impacts was developed to provide a logical framework for the determination of what types of baseline data were relevant to the objectives of study. Baseline data for each species were discussed under three categories: seasonal population dispersion, the potential impacts of large development projects, and population dynamics. The review forms the basis of the evaluation of the state of baseline knowledge of large mammals in the AOSERP study area and a statement of the research which should be completed in order to provide the data. A critique of the state of the baseline knowledge of large mammals (moose, woodland caribou, wolf) was conducted with the objectives being to determine whether or not baseline knowledge of these species is adequate to assess the impacts of large developments on large mammal populations in the AOSERP study area, and to identify specific knowledge gaps. Major gaps in the baseline knowledge of moose were: seasonal habitat use, the effects of sensory disturbances and population density; a minor gap was identified in the knowledge of the effects of development on direct mortality of moose. Major gaps in the baseline knowledge of woodland caribou were: distribution on the AOSERP study area, seasonal habitat use, the effects of sensory disturbance, and population density; minor gaps were identified in the knowledge of the effects of development on direct mortality of woodland caribou. Major gaps in the baseline knowledge of wolf were: seasonal habitat use and population density; minor gaps were identified in the knowledge of the seasonal movement patterns, the effects of sensory disturbances, and the effects of development projects on direct mortality of wolves.

Call in the lawyers; First Nations in both B.C. and Alberta file legal challenges over Site C dam


Author(s): Stodalka, W.

Year: 2014

Abstract:
Another First Nation Chief, McLeod Lake Indian Band Chief Derek Orr, noted that the two earlier Peace River dams influenced his group's decision to oppose Site C. "The W.A.C. Bennett Dam and Peace Canyon Dam were constructed without consultation with our First Nations," he said. "Our fish have been poisoned; our caribou have almost been completely extirpated (driven to localized extinction); we're rapidly running out of places to meaningfully exercise our rights. We do not consent to Site C." "When they built the Bennett Dam, no one thought about how the Delta might be affected," he said. "No one thought about how First Nations might be affected. Once the dam was built, it was too late to address our concerns. We are worried that history is repeating with Site C." "There is too much at stake in the Delta to ignore potential effects of yet another dam on the Peace River," added Mikisew Cree First Nation Chief Steve Courtoreille. "Governments needed to take a cautious approach and ensure they understood effects to the Delta and on the Mikisew before they approved Site C. Unfortunately, they chose not to do so."

Canadian Aboriginal concerns with oil sands: A compilation of key issues, resolutions and legal activities


Year: 2010

Abstract:
Aboriginal communities have been raising concerns about the impacts of oil sands development on their communities and their legal rights for a number of years. Increasingly, these concerns are manifesting themselves as formal resolutions and legal challenges. This briefing note outlines their key concerns, shares their commentary and provides an overview of resolutions and legal issues.

Chipewyan ecology: Group structure and caribou hunting system


Author(s): Irimoto, T.

Year: 1981

Abstract:
Detailed study of the Caribou-Eater Chipewyan in the Wollaston Lake region in northern Saskatchewan based on field research conducted July 1975 to October 1976.

Denesoline (Chipewyan) knowledge of Barren-Ground Caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus) movements


Author(s): Kendrick, A., & Lyver P.

Year: 2005

Abstract:
Semi-directed interviews relating to thetraditional knowledge (TK) of barren-ground caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus) movements were conducted with elders and hunters from the Denesoline (Chipewyan) community of Luts'l K', Northwest Territories, Canada. The objective was to document Denesoline knowledge of past and present caribou migration patterns and record their explanations for perceived changes in movements. Elders recognized expected and unusual levels of variation in caribou movements. Local narratives show that Denesoline communities have a fundamental awareness of caribou migration cycles. Most elders thought fire frequency and intensity had increased over their lifetimes and that caribou numbers and distribution had been affected. The majority of Lutsel K'e elders thought mining development was affecting caribou movements in some way. Elders believe that disturbance around traditional migration corridors and water crossings and disturbance of "vanguard" animals might be forcing caribou to use less optimal routes and influencing where they overwinter. Elders also believe that a lack of respect for caribou will cause the animals to deviate from their "traditional" migration routes and become unavailable to the people for a period of time. Wildlife management practices may need to further accommodate aboriginal perspectives in the future.

In Conflict


Author(s): Cryderman, K.

Year: 2013

Abstract:
"Any time that we have differences with somebody like [Jim Boucher], it's a cause for concern," he said. "I think he's been a very balanced First Nation leader with respect to the oil sands industry," Mr. [David Collyer] said. "What I would encourage is for all the parties concerned to try to find a constructive way through it."

Citation:

Land ownership and chieftaincy among the Chipewyan and Caribou Eaters


Author(s): Rev. Penard, J. M.

Year: 1929

Abstract:
This paper provides detailed information about the land-owning customs of the Chipewyan caribou-eaters. Father Penard, who lived many years among the Chipewyan, describes a system of family land ownership, identical in its main outlines with the family hunting territories made familiar by the studies of Speck, Low, Davidson, and others among the Algonkian-speaking peoples. Prior to this study Simpson's account suggested family ownership of land among the Chipewyan. Penard's detailed account concurs with this theory. Moreover, the author suggests that further investigation will show the family hunting territory of the Chipewyan to be more or less prevalent over most of the northern Canadian area. The writer believes that this system is continuously prevalent from western Quebec, to the James Bay region, up the Albany to Lake St. Joseph, and around the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods districts as well.

Oil sands rules tools and capacity: Are we ready for upcoming challenges?


Year: 2014

Abstract:
Within the next decade we are likely to see some significant tests of the current oil sands regulatory and policy framework, including: • Industry-driven: such as an application for reclamation certificate or an application for release of process-affected water or a request to approve the water-capped fine tailings option • Government-driven: such as the implementation of the tailings management framework or LARP management frameworks or the wetlands policy or AEMERA • Environment-driven: such as a low-flow event in the Athabasca River or a major rainfall/flood event What other challenges can we foresee? We know there are various policy initiatives underway that will address some of these challenges but the results are not yet public and the related uncertainty is itself a challenge. In this Workshop, held October 27, 2014 at the University of Alberta, 48 people from a number of sectors explored our level of readiness to deal with such challenges, based on our existing and planned rules, tools and capacity and identify solutions to address the challenges. Each table was asked to produce a list of potential challenges, categorize them based on a set of criteria and then provide solutions to the most pressing challenges. About 84% of the challenges identified were expected to occur in the next 5 years; many of the challenges were described as happening right now. A total of 17 challenges were placed in the Parking Lot. Participants indicated we have Low Readiness to address 41% of the challenges; the small number of High readiness challenges is probably a reflection of our tendency to focus on problems rather than things that are going well. Knowledge was the most frequently identified gap while Regulation was least commonly flagged. Common themes among the 138 challenges include: • Oil sands process-affected water release – criteria, process, stakeholder acceptability, pit lake viability, treatment options and costs • Caribou – how to protect the species and its habitat; how to restore habitat • Aboriginal – what are their desires and needs; how can we accommodate those needs into plans and operational practices • Greenhouse gas and climate change – management, reduction, impact of regulation • Climate change adaptation – how do we ensure hydrology and reclamation plans take climate change into account • Closure and reclamation goals and reclamation certification – end land uses, is perpetual care an option, do we know how reclamation success will be measured • How can offsets be used to compensate for disturbance • Communicating with stakeholders – how to provide and explain complex data, how to explain plans, options and constraints • Economic forces affecting development – access to market, access to resources, price of oil, liability management programs Some of the key themes were: • Desire to see clearer roles and responsibilities for government agencies in regulation, monitoring and communication; suggestions for a single coordinator for these roles • Complete and implement all the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan frameworks • More emphasis on technical- and risk-based decision-making • More emphasis on regional outcomes and solutions • More emphasis on obtaining, considering and incorporating Aboriginal views in plans and decisions • Use adaptive management based on forecasts, scenarios, and monitoring • Need more public, stakeholder and investor communication – share success stories (but acknowledge the problems), identify champions who can take the message out • Invest in research, knowledge/data management • Invest in skills training • Retrieve, preserve and use historical knowledge and corporate memory

Potential impacts of beaver on oil sands reclamation success - an analysis of available literature


Year: 2013

Abstract:
The North American beaver (Castor canadensis) is a large semi-aquatic rodent that has played a central role in shaping the Canadian boreal landscape, and colonial Canadian history. Exploitation of North American beaver populations to supply the European hat industry spurred the westward expansion of European explorers and traders into the continental interior. With intensive unregulated harvest, beavers virtually disappeared across much of their range; though populations are recovering, the species is only about 10% as abundant as it was before the fur trade took its toll. As a result, much of the recent ecological history of the Canadian boreal forest has occurred in the absence of this keystone ecosystem engineer, and the ecological state that we perceive as natural is in many regions quite different than it was a century ago. Beavers, while playing an important role in structuring streams and wetlands by altering vegetation communities and water flow patterns, may also affect human structures. In the mineable oil sands region of northeastern Alberta, much of the landscape will be impacted by mining. Mine sites will have to be reclaimed, and those reclaimed sites will consist of engineered landforms (including water bodies and waterways); the long-term hydrological and ecological function of those sites may be vulnerable to beaver activity. In an effort to determine if approaches exist that could manage the risk of beavers colonizing and negatively impacting reclaimed sites, we performed an extensive literature search and analysis. Our objective was to examine characteristics of beaver ecology that might potentially impact reclamation plans, and to identify possible methods to mitigate those impacts. We also include information on traditional use, historical abundance, and current abundance in the mineable oil sands region to provide important historical and ecological context. Although beavers inhabit a range of aquatic habitats, the focus of our review is on watercourses that could be dammed by beavers. Of the aquatic habitats which will be constructed during reclamation, these systems are probably the most vulnerable to impacts from beaver activity. Note, however, that inlet and outflow streams from lakes may be vulnerable to beaver activity, which could impact the performance of constructed lakes in a variety of ways. Beavers alter stream form and function, create wetlands, and change vegetation patterns. The most important predictor of beaver occurrence is stream gradient, with low gradients being associated with higher beaver activity. Stream depth and width, soil drainage, and stream substrate are also important. Although beavers may also respond to vegetation factors, such as tree or shrub species and density, hydrological factors are more important predictors of beaver occupancy of a site. The primary forage preferred by beavers includes deciduous tree and shrub species. Aspen (Populous tremuloides) is the species most preferred by beaver, and is a common component of reclamation plantings and natural recolonization of reclamation sites in the oil sands region. Beavers are central-place foragers, meaning foraging is concentrated around a central home base. They typically harvest deciduous trees and shrubs up to 60 m or more from the water, but most harvest occurs less than 30 to 40 m from the water’s edge. Predation (and predation risk) restricts the size of beavers’ foraging areas, and may also regulate their population size. Management of wolf populations to limit predation on caribou in northeastern Alberta may have significant indirect effects on beaver abundance and distribution by releasing them from predation pressure. The boreal forest ecosystem of Canada evolved over millennia with the beaver as a keystone species altering hydrological systems, creating vast areas of wetlands and beaver meadows, changing vegetation communities and modifying geomorphological processes. Reclamation of functional ecosystems in the region must therefore integrate beavers and their engineered structures. The most ecologically- and cost-effective approach is to design reclaimed areas with the objective of including beaver, but directing beaver activity to areas away from vulnerable reclamation structures. Ecological function requires the presence of beaver on the post-reclamation landscape, and the species is important to First Nations peoples and other trappers in the area. Although beaver abundance can be expected to increase in the area after reclamation, their activities will result in the replacement of existing vegetation with species of lower nutritional quality to beaver (conifer trees). This is expected to result in a beaver population decline and then stabilization over time. With beavers an integral component of the functional landscape, it is important to create “beaver exclusion zones” to ensure that the impact of the species is diverted to areas where beaver activity does not damage reclamation structures. There are very few existing studies of beaver impacts to reclaimed areas. Incorporating ecologically-based strategies for keeping beaver density low in sensitive areas at the outset of a reclamation project, and then monitoring the effectiveness of that strategy, is the best advice that can be derived from our analysis of the existing literature. Beavers could be discouraged from settling at a site by creating streams with steep gradients (>10%) that are wide and deep enough to ensure substantial water flows, are armoured with rock or cobble bottoms, and are bordered by coniferous tree species and/or grass and sedge species. Trees should be planted at high density to prevent growth of shrubs and deciduous trees in the understory, as these are preferred by beaver. Deciduous vegetation should not be planted during reclamation near sites where beavers are to be excluded, and it may be necessary to remove existing deciduous trees and shrubs and replace them with conifers, grasses and sedges in these areas. Although planting specific types of vegetation may be used to discourage beavers from settling a certain area in the short term, natural succession could eventually result in other vegetation communities attractive to beavers. Therefore, unless long-term vegetation management is envisioned, reclamation plans should not rely on using vegetation to dissuade beaver activity in sensitive areas alone, though this approach may be used in combination with other methods, especially in the few decades immediately following reclamation. Note that the goal is to plan for a maintenance-free environment in which ongoing beaver control is unnecessary, and the use of multiple strategies in tandem to guide beaver activity is more likely to achieve this goal. More active, maintenance-intensive techniques could be used to limit the damage caused by beaver dams to sensitive areas. These techniques include lethal (e.g., kill trapping or shooting) and nonlethal (e.g., relocation) methods to reduce population density. However, these methods require constant effort, and can be expensive. Another approach is to manipulate water flow through existing beaver dams using pipe drainage systems; this allows the beaver dam to stay in place, while reducing the risk that it will trap enough water to be dangerous if the dam should fail. Again, however, these drainage systems require long-term maintenance. One approach may be more sustainable in the long term and require less maintenance: minimize or maximize water flow through engineered channels, as beavers are less likely to use very low-flow and very high-flow watercourses. Note that beavers may still affect these channels, especially when population densities are high or other habitat is unavailable; however, the probability of beavers affecting very low-flow or high-flow channels is lower than for watercourses with more moderate flows. Creating several dispersed low-flow channels may make an area less desirable to beavers compared to a single moderate flow channel. Similarly, multiple low- to moderate-flow channels could be created, with some having characteristics that attract beavers (“decoys”) and others that do not (“exclusions”), allowing water flow to continue through some channels even in the presence of beavers. “Pre-dam” fences can be installed on decoy streams to create a structure to encourage beavers to occupy a site where damage is not a concern. Discharge could be controlled by regulating water flow through exclusion streams that are not dammed, or by installing flow devices though dams on decoy streams. A similar approach might be used on culverts that allow streams to flow beneath roadways; flow devices could be used proactively at these sites, and/or oversized culverts could be installed to allow maintenance of the natural width of the stream channel and reduce the noise of running water, which attracts beaver activity. Although many different landforms on the reclaimed landscape may be vulnerable to beaver activity, a few are considered critical areas where beaver impacts must be controlled, including the outlets of lakes, side-hill drainage systems, and constructed peatlands. Beaver activity at the outlet of constructed lakes could cause instability in containment structures, negatively affect littoral and riparian zones around the lake, and increase the probability of catastrophic outburst flooding. Damming of side-hill drainage systems could cause stream avulsion and routing of water flow into a new pathway not engineered for a stream, causing increased erosion. Flooding of constructed peatlands could convert them to open-water systems, thereby subverting their intended ecological function. These critical areas should be protected from beaver activities, while other areas should be designed to accommodate this important species. In practice, several different approaches – tailored to specific situations and landforms – will be necessary to develop and implement plans that accommodate beavers as a part of the post-reclamation landscape. As so few data exist to inform effective reclamation in the presence of beavers, all of the methods we suggest carry an unknown degree of risk. This risk can be decreased in the future by adapting methods based on observed effectiveness. We recommend implementing a research and adaptive management program on the influence of beavers on reclamation within the context of oil sands reclamation in northeast Alberta. Lack of existing information, particularly in northeast Alberta, illustrates the need to implement research that documents the positive and negative influence of beavers on reclamation sites and tests alternative methods to prevent negative and support positive influences. Otherwise reclamation strategies will be ad-hoc and tenuous, with a mixed success rate. A research and monitoring program would ideally contribute to a standardized strategic approach to mitigating negative beaver influences on reclamation of watercourses in the oil sands region. Beavers are, to a certain extent, unpredictable. No single approach will guarantee that a site will be unaffected by beaver activity. We suggest that multiple management approaches be simultaneously implemented at sites that are particularly vulnerable or critical for the functioning of the reclaimed landscape (e.g., outlet streams from constructed lakes). It is impossible to predict all eventualities, as the character of the reclaimed landscape will change over time due to successional processes, fire, global climate change, and resource extraction. The information we provide is the best available based on limited current knowledge, and provides the best chance for minimizing risk while accommodating this keystone species. Ultimately, the presence of beavers on reclaimed oil sands leases will increase biodiversity, enhance ecosystem goods and services, and assist in developing ecosystems that are consistent with natural systems in the boreal region.

Potential impacts of beaver on oil sands reclamation success–an analysis of available literature


Year: 2013

Abstract:
The North American beaver (Castor canadensis) is a large semi-aquatic rodent that has played acentral role in shaping the Canadian boreal landscape, and colonial Canadian history. Exploitation of North American beaver populations to supply the European hat industry spurred the westward expansion of European explorers and traders into the continental interior. With intensive unregulated harvest, beavers virtually disappeared across much of their range; though populations are recovering, the species is only about 10% as abundant as it was before the furtrade took its toll. As a result, much of the recent ecological history of the Canadian boreal forest has occurred in the absence of this keystone ecosystem engineer, and the ecological state that we perceive as natural is in many regions quite different than it was a century ago. Beavers, while playing an important role in structuring streams and wetlands by altering vegetation communities and water flow patterns, may also affect human structures. In the mineable oil sands region of northeastern Alberta, much of the landscape will be impacted by mining. Mine sites will have to be reclaimed, and those reclaimed sites will consist of engineered landforms (including water bodies and waterways); the long-term hydrological and ecological function of those sites may be vulnerable to beaver activity. In an effort to determine if approaches exist that could manage the risk of beavers colonizing and negatively impactingreclaimed sites, we performed an extensive literature search and analysis. Our objective was to examine characteristics of beaver ecology that might potentially impact reclamation plans, and to identify possible methods to mitigate those impacts. We also include information on traditional use, historical abundance, and current abundance in the mineable oil sands region to provide important historical and ecological context. Although beavers inhabit a range of aquatic habitats,the focus of our review is on watercourses that could be dammed by beavers. Of the aquatic habitats which will be constructed during reclamation, these systems are probably the most vulnerable to impacts from beaver activity. Note, however, that inlet and outflow streams fromlakes may be vulnerable to beaver activity, which could impact the performance of constructed lakes in a variety of ways. Beavers alter stream form and function, create wetlands, and change vegetation patterns. The most important predictor of beaver occurrence is stream gradient, with low gradients being associated with higher beaver activity. Stream depth and width, soil drainage, and stream substrate are also important. Although beavers may also respond to vegetation factors, such astree or shrub species and density, hydrological factors are more important predictors of beaver occupancy of a site.The primary forage preferred by beavers includes deciduous tree and shrub species. Aspen(Populous tremuloides) is the species most preferred by beaver, and is a common component of reclamation plantings and natural recolonization of reclamation sites in the oil sands region. Beavers are central-place foragers, meaning foraging is concentrated around a central home base. They typically harvest deciduous trees and shrubs up to 60 m or more from the water, but mostharvest occurs less than 30 to 40 m from the water’s edge. Predation (and predation risk) restricts the size of beavers’ foraging areas, and may also regulate their population size. Management of wolf populations to limit predation on caribou in northeastern Alberta may have significant indirect effects on beaver abundance and distribution by releasing them frompredation pressure.The boreal forest ecosystem of Canada evolved over millennia with the beaver as a keystone species altering hydrological systems, creating vast areas of wetlands and beaver meadows,changing vegetation communities and modifying geomorphological processes. Reclamation offunctional ecosystems in the region must therefore integrate beavers and their engineered structures. The most ecologically- and cost-effective approach is to design reclaimed areas withthe objective of including beaver, but directing beaver activity to areas away from vulnerablereclamation structures. Ecological function requires the presence of beaver on the post-reclamation landscape, and the species is important to First Nations peoples and other trappers in the area. Although beaver abundance can be expected to increase in the area after reclamation, their activities will result in the replacement of existing vegetation with species of lower nutritional quality to beaver (conifer trees). This is expected to result in a beaver population decline and then stabilization over time. With beavers an integral component of the functional landscape, it is important to create “beaver exclusion zones” to ensure that the impact of thespecies is diverted to areas where beaver activity does not damage reclamation structures.There are very few existing studies of beaver impacts to reclaimed areas. Incorporating ecologically-based strategies for keeping beaver density low in sensitive areas at the outset of a reclamation project, and then monitoring the effectiveness of that strategy, is the best advice thatcan be derived from our analysis of the existing literature. Beavers could be discouraged from settling at a site by creating streams with steep gradients (>10%) that are wide and deep enoughto ensure substantial water flows, are armoured with rock or cobble bottoms, and are bordered byconiferous tree species and/or grass and sedge species. Trees should be planted at high density to prevent growth of shrubs and deciduous trees in the understory, as these are preferred by beaver. Deciduous vegetation should not be planted during reclamation near sites where beavers are to be excluded, and it may be necessary to remove existing deciduous trees and shrubs and replace them with conifers, grasses and sedges in these areas. Although planting specific typesof vegetation may be used to discourage beavers from settling a certain area in the short term,natural succession could eventually result in other vegetation communities attractive to beavers. Therefore, unless long-term vegetation management is envisioned, reclamation plans should notrely on using vegetation to dissuade beaver activity in sensitive areas alone, though this approachmay be used in combination with other methods, especially in the few decades immediately following reclamation. Note that the goal is to plan for a maintenance-free environment in whichongoing beaver control is unnecessary, and the use of multiple strategies in tandem to guidebeaver activity is more likely to achieve this goal. More active, maintenance-intensive techniques could be used to limit the damage caused bybeaver dams to sensitive areas. These techniques include lethal (e.g., kill trapping or shooting)and nonlethal (e.g., relocation) methods to reduce population density. However, these methodsrequire constant effort, and can be expensive. Another approach is to manipulate water flowthrough existing beaver dams using pipe drainage systems; this allows the beaver dam to stay in place, while reducing the risk that it will trap enough water to be dangerous if the dam shouldfail. Again, however, these drainage systems require long-term maintenance.One approach may be more sustainable in the long term and require less maintenance: minimize or maximize water flow through engineered channels, as beavers are less likely to use very low-flow and very high-flow watercourses. Note that beavers may still affect these channels,especially when population densities are high or other habitat is unavailable; however, the probability of beavers affecting very low-flow or high-flow channels is lower than forwatercourses with more moderate flows. Creating several dispersed low-flow channels maymake an area less desirable to beavers compared to a single moderate flow channel. Similarly, multiple low- to moderate-flow channels could be created, with some having characteristics thatattract beavers (“decoys”) and others that do not (“exclusions”), allowing water flow to continuethrough some channels even in the presence of beavers. “Pre-dam” fences can be installed ondecoy streams to create a structure to encourage beavers to occupy a site where damage is not aconcern. Discharge could be controlled by regulating water flow through exclusion streams that are not dammed, or by installing flow devices though dams on decoy streams. A similar approach might be used on culverts that allow streams to flow beneath roadways; flow devices could be used proactively at these sites, and/or oversized culverts could be installed to allowmaintenance of the natural width of the stream channel and reduce the noise of running water,which attracts beaver activity.Although many different landforms on the reclaimed landscape may be vulnerable to beaver activity, a few are considered critical areas where beaver impacts must be controlled, includingthe outlets of lakes, side-hill drainage systems, and constructed peatlands. Beaver activity at the outlet of constructed lakes could cause instability in containment structures, negatively affectlittoral and riparian zones around the lake, and increase the probability of catastrophic outburstflooding. Damming of side-hill drainage systems could cause stream avulsion and routing ofwater flow into a new pathway not engineered for a stream, causing increased erosion. Floodingof constructed peatlands could convert them to open-water systems, thereby subverting theirintended ecological function. These critical areas should be protected from beaver activities,while other areas should be designed to accommodate this important species.In practice, several different approaches – tailored to specific situations and landforms – will benecessary to develop and implement plans that accommodate beavers as a part of the post-reclamation landscape. As so few data exist to inform effective reclamation in the presence ofbeavers, all of the methods we suggest carry an unknown degree of risk. This risk can bedecreased in the future by adapting methods based on observed effectiveness. We recommend implementing a research and adaptive management program on the influence of beavers onreclamation within the context of oil sands reclamation in northeast Alberta. Lack of existing information, particularly in northeast Alberta, illustrates the need to implement research thatdocuments the positive and negative influence of beavers on reclamation sites and testsalternative methods to prevent negative and support positive influences. Otherwise reclamationstrategies will be ad-hoc and tenuous, with a mixed success rate. A research and monitoring program would ideally contribute to a standardized strategic approach to mitigating negativebeaver influences on reclamation of watercourses in the oil sands region. Beavers are, to a certain extent, unpredictable. No single approach will guarantee that a site willbe unaffected by beaver activity. We suggest that multiple management approaches besimultaneously implemented at sites that are particularly vulnerable or critical for the functioning of the reclaimed landscape (e.g., outlet streams from constructed lakes). It is impossible topredict all eventualities, as the character of the reclaimed landscape will change over time due tosuccessional processes, fire, global climate change, and resource extraction. The information weprovide is the best available based on limited current knowledge, and provides the best chancefor minimizing risk while accommodating this keystone species. Ultimately, the presence of beavers on reclaimed oil sands leases will increase biodiversity, enhance ecosystem goods andservices, and assist in developing ecosystems that are consistent with natural systems in the boreal region.

Surface water quality in northern Alberta: the characteristics, hydrologic controls and potential impacts from forest fire and logging


Author(s): McEachern, P.

Year: 2003

Abstract:
I present the results from a six-year investigation of hydrologic processes and surface water chemistry. The study occurred in peatland-dominated boreal forest basins spanning poorly- to well-drained soils on glacial till with discontinuous permafrost. The first in the series of studies investigated the impacts of fire on lake water chemistry, phytoplankton communities and hydrology, the second details hydrologic processes in six study catchments, and the third investigates hydrologic and chemistry impacts from experimental emulation silviculture. The primary results: (1) Elevated nutrient concentrations were apparent in lake waters from burnt drainages. These changes were unprecedented in the fire literature for phosphorus and dissolved organic carbon. (2) Recovery to pre disturbance conditions spanned decades. (3) Lakes with drainage basin to lake volume ratios less then ten were particularly sensitive to fire impacts. (4) Enhanced phosphorus and carbon loading from burnt organic soils caused nitrogen and light limitation of phytoplankton growth. (5) Phytoplankton species richness was reduced in lakes impacted by forest fire. (6) Emulation silviculture impacted water yield and chemical flux from well drained and poorly drained catchments. The studies occurred on traditional lands of the Little Red River Cree and proffered a unique opportunity to include Indigenous knowledge (IK). IK identified important management issues, ecosystem relationships and several impacts that could be quantified with further investigation. The overriding hypothesis of IK was that forestry and fire negatively impact hydrology and water quality because debris caused poor drainage. Subsequent shrub growth amplified impacts on animals, such as moose and buffalo, and on LRRTC relationships with the landscape. Variable and conflicting responses arose from differences in experience that could be linked to site-specific ecology. As in empirical science, IK generalizes from facts but fails to explain them with precision. The context of IK data should be used to investigate the basis for different responses to similar themes in the same manner we search for ecological factors to explain model residuals. Shared information and the diversity of responses by the LRRTC enabled a comprehensive tableau of ecosystem concepts to emerge forming the basis for a deeper but complementary understanding of ecosystem linkages.

Ten thousand years before the fur trade in north-eastern Alberta


Author(s): Ives, J. W.

Year: 1993

Abstract:
In this article, Ives presents a vision of the Native people of northern Alberta from an archaeological viewpoint. To do this, he discusses environments and human adaptations, a chronological framework of events and processes in the human prehistory of the region, and results of archaeological projects that give us specific insights into ways of life in the prehistoric past. Although the community of Fort Chipewyan is a "historical" fixed settlement, Ives includes the lower Peace River and adjacent Caribou Mountains, the Peace-Athabasca Delta and Lake Athabasca, and the lower Athabasca River and adjacent Birch Mountains in this review, since the seasonal activities of prehistoric peoples would have routinely taken them throughout much of these areas. Photographs and sketches of prehistoric tools and debitage are included, as well as maps depicting archaeological sites and the distribution of prehistoric sites on the former Alsands lease. Ives presents evidence of hundreds of sites throughout this region, and explains that the larger site concentrations coincide with the locations of the Athabasca Cree at the onset of the fur trade hence, the locations were chosen for fur trade posts. Ives suggestion that the very existence of the fur trade was inextricably tied to an ancient history of land use that took shape over the last ten thousand years is both founded and fascinating.

The Arctic Prairies


Author(s): Seton, E. T.

Year: 2010

Abstract:
Ernest Seton was a naturalist, prolific author, and award winning illustrator who usually signed his letters with a paw print. A Native American spirit worshipping rebel, who didn't always bathe, he married twice and was sought after to speak at conferences around the globe.

The Chipewyan caribou hunting system


Author(s): Irimoto, T.

Year: 1981

Abstract:
This field study in ecological anthropology (man-nature relationships in activities), was done among the Caribou-Eater Chipewyan of northern Saskatchewan, Canada. Direct observation and active participation were used for recording and analyzing their caribou hunting system. The subsistence activities of the Chipewyan are classified in this article and recorded in terms of time-space use and participant involvement. The five major categories of activities are: food getting (FGA), food processing (FPA), sheltering (SHA), hide preparation (HPA) and manufacturing (MA). The three principles for structuring systems of activities on the basis of individual variations, particularly age and sex, are: 1) the temporal sequence of activities; 2) the allocation; and 3) the combination of activities. These various categories of activities are organized into the Chipewyan caribou hunting system.

The distribution, numbers and movements of caribou and muskoxen north of Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories


Year: 1981

Abstract:
Distribution, numbers and movements of caribou and muskoxen in a 21,000 sq. km study area north of Great Bear Lake were monitored between March 1980 and February 1981.

Traditional knowledge and land use effects assessment: Additional information


Year: 2006

Abstract:
The objectives of this supplementary traditional knowledge and land use effects assessment were to determine the extent of traditional land use; discuss the vegetation and wildlife used for nutritional and medicinal purposes; examine the potential effects the Christina Lake project may have; identify the traditional land uses including fishing, hunting, and plant harvesting, as well as cabin sites, spiritual sites, and graves; determine the project and cumulative impacts of development on these uses; and identify possible mitigation strategies. A preliminary round-table discussion with five Chipewyan Prairie First Nation Elders was held in August 2004, while three interviews with individuals were conducted, in the language of choice, in June 2005. Confidentiality was maintained through the use of numeric codes. Interview questions were semi-directed and focused on patterns of traditional occupancy use; interviewees were free to change the direction of discussion to other matters deemed important to the study. This report gives a broad and comprehensive discussion of the methodology and principles of approach used for the study, including working definitions, management goals, and the assessment approach. A large section on baseline information describes historical and current information related to Chipewyan Prairie First Nation traditional land use, exploring traditional lifestyles and values (cooperative communal relationships, sacred areas/spirituality, the homeland, place names, travel, worldview, traditional foods, biodiversity, livelihood, and health/well-being), traditional sites and areas (berry picking locales, settlement areas, burial sites, caribou range, campsites, and trails), and ecological observations (air and water quality, biodiversity/ecological health, habitat removal/landscape fragmentation, access, preservation of cultural values and traditional ways, traditional foods, health/well-being). The last section of the report describes both the local study area and the regional study area effects to various sites and resources. It also provides MEG Energy Corporation's response to the identified issues and concerns, explaining mechanics of the project, suggesting issue-specific mitigation, or promising further discussion.

Use of traditional ecological knowledge in environmental assessment of uranium mining in Saskatchewan


Year: 1999

Abstract:
Use of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) is now a requirement of many environmental review panels. It was in the remit for investigation into uranium mining in northern Saskatchewan, but there was a mismatch between the narrow, often technical treatment of TEK and the broader, more cultural comments of the Dene Aboriginal intervenors. It is essential to recognize when a development proposal's planning needs and social issues exceed the scope of environmental assessment (EA). TEK can relate to EA on three levels; detailed information from local people on the environment and wildlife; gaining insight in to socio-cultural effects of a project; and changes to a landscape or a people's relationship with it that may threaten deep identification with their environment. The last may not be a part of an ordinary EA.

Wildlife movement traditional environmental knowledge workshops: Wildlife movement in the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo


Year: 2005

Abstract:
The intention of this report is to summarize the traditional environmental knowledge information gathered during workshops with Aboriginal communities in the fall of 2005. The overall project objective was "to collect information from selected traditional environmental knowledge holders on wildlife "corridors' for seven animal species" (black bear, moose, woodland caribou, wolf, lynx, fisher, and marten). The report would then be used by the Wildlife Movement Task Group of the Cumulative Environmental Management Association's Sustainable Ecosystems Working Group to develop management strategies to help "ensure maintenance of effective habitat connectivity in order to sustain wildlife populations." One-day workshops were held with Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Métis Local #125, Fort McKay First Nation, Fort McKay Métis Local #63, Fort McMurray First Nation, Anzac Willow Lake Métis Local #780, Fort McMurray Métis Local #2020, Chard Métis Local #214, and Métis Local #193. The number of Elder participants for each workshop varied between one and six; workshops lasted on average three hours. Discussions began with the seven selected indicator species and distinguished between past movement patterns (pre-1960) and current ones (post-1960). The results of the workshops are presented by five community areas: Fort Chipewyan, Fort McKay, Anzac, Chard, and Conklin. The TEK information is then further organized by indicator species, with traditional environmental knowledge on other species presented in the appendix. In addition to movement patterns, information is also provided on habitat, behaviour, seasonality, sex, population levels, and changes to these components over time. Following this, there is a brief section on "areas that are "still good'" for animals and/or hunting, where there is little or no industrial or recreational development, clean water and air, no pollution, and abundant, healthy wildlife and vegetation. Finally, there is also a substantial section of the report on "survival areas," that is, areas that are essential for the survival of both the animal species and Aboriginal traditional lifeways. It is recommended that these areas be preserved.