OUR PROJECTS

At Fort Nelson First Nation, our top priority is to achieve results, and we know that our success depends on the quality of our campaigns and partnerships. Our approach is to build strategic networks and promote programs that will help advance our work. Learn more about the causes we’re passionate about and get in touch with us to see how you can get involved.

 

Fueling Change: Upstream Implications of the B.C. LNG Sector

BC is laying the groundwork for a massive increase in unconventional gas production, mostly coming from the northeast of the province. Currently the province is reviewing several Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal and pipeline development proposals, and a few have already been awarded their environmental assessment certificates. It is expected that the amount of natural gas needed to sustain these facilities would result in a significant increase in upstream activities - between 10 and 25 per cent of the gas for these facilities would come from FNFN territory. FNFN is considered an upstream Nation and would expect to see widespread change on the landscape if these facilities are built and operated.  In 2014 FNFN commissioned a study with The Firelight Group Research Cooperative to look at LNG extraction scenarios and the effects of LNG-induced gas extraction in our territory. Although the BC government has studied the economic benefits of LNG, this study is the first attempt to look at potential effects of LNG export scenarios on the air, water, land, wildlife and traditional way of life. The report for Phase 1: Identifying B.C. LNG Export-Induced Natural Gas Extraction Scenarios for FNFN Territory can be read here. The report for Phase 2: Effects of LNG-Induced Gas Extraction on FNFN Territory can be found here. The extended summary report of both phases can be found here.

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Improving the Regulation of Fracking Wastewater Disposal in BC

Project Link: Improving the Regulation of Fracking Wastewater Disposal in BC

A report published by the U Vic Environmental Law Centre, commissioned by Fort Nelson First Nation. The report is a detailed assessment of current BC fracking wastewater disposal regulation shortfalls and best practice examples taken from other jurisdictions that could apply within Fort Nelson First Nation's Traditional Territory.

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Keepers of the Water

Project Link: Keeper of the Waters Web Site

Keepers of the Water VI: Our Waters are One, a watershed gathering hosted by Fort Nelson First Nation, featured keynote presentations by Maude Barlow, Wade Davis and Jon Waterhouse, and was facilitated by David Marshall.​Building upon the principles of our founding Gathering in Liidlii Kue, Denendeh (Fort Simpson, NWT) in 2006, this year's gathering highlighted the Fort Nelson-Liard River basin. The use of record-breaking mass-scale fracking is causing concern among our people and those who live downstream in the Arctic Ocean Basin. Our people are increasingly worried about the impacts that fracking will have on the land, the rivers and the muskeg. Through this gathering, we aimed to bring our concerns and solutions to the world.

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Liard & Horn River Basin Water Monitoring

Fort Nelson First Nation has been involved in a wide array of water quality and quantity monitoring projects. In 2013, water quality sampling was done at 27 sites throughout FNFN’s territory. This water quality initiative was funded by Health Canada and supported in-kind with donations of time and materials from the University of Victoria Water and Aquatic Sciences Research Laboratory.
 
In partnership with Apache Corp., 75 water and 4 climate monitoring stations have been installed to establish baseline data on water quantities in the Liard River Basin. Along with the publicly accessible data from the non-profit GeoScience BC's Horn River Basin project (7 water and 3 climate stations) and Environment Canada's long-term study sites (10 water and 4 climate stations), there is a large amount of information for the Lands Department to work with when assessing the health of our waterways. FNFN has also collaborated with Peace Country Technical Services Ltd. to install water monitoring stations and collect and analyse water quality data for the Horn River Basin.
 
In coordination with the 2018  ‘Taking Our Pulse’ Fort Nelson First Nation Elder-Youth Focused Monitoring Program FNFN members established 3 new monitoring sites, collected 18 water quality samples from 9 monitoring sites and with support from contractors analysed data from 160 samples from 21 sites.
 
Water monitoring data has been uploaded to the Mackenzie DataStream, an online platform that allows users to view a variety of past and present water quality indicators. The information from this data collection has provided FNFN with a new context for current baseline environmental conditions from which to assess future changes due to anthropogenic disturbance and climate change.
 
The FNFN Lands Department intends to maintain and expand our water monitoring capacity. With time, this water monitoring network will be able to provide long-term data vital for making informed decisions on land use management focused on protecting the water which sustains us.

 

FNFN Fire Project

See the CBC National Documentary with Duncan McCue here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/b-c-first-nation-sets-fires-to-save-bison-...

The relationship between Dene and Cree people and fire is culturally complex, and dates back thousands of years. Its use in facilitating communication may be a practice from a bygone era, but many traditions that live on to this day include use of fire in: 

Supporting fertilization and re-growth of vegetation

Hunting and survival

Comfort and aesthetic practices

Ceremony

Dene and Cree people have a traditional and cultural interaction with fire. Fire is a vital practice that must be continued and passed down to the next generations.

You can read our 2015 project report titled 'Fort Nelson First Nation: Inter action with Fire and Wood Bison' here.

Forest Fire
 

FNFN Cabin Project

Reinforcing our Commitment

Before the Fort Nelson Indian Reserve #2 was created in 1960, our people lived throughout our territory in or near ten traditional villages. Throughout the year, families would travel the rivers and overland, settling at village sites according to the season and family ties.

Providing FNFN members with a place to go and practice our way of life in peace will allow us to keep our traditional culture and values alive throughout the generations. The Cabin Project will encourage community members to learn useful building skills, spend more time on the land, and help renew our traditional role as stewards of the land. 

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LIARD BASIN MONITORING INITIATIVE

One Step at a Time

​The Liard Basin Monitoring Initiative (LBMI) was a three-year pilot initiative funded by Natural Resources Canada’s Cumulative Effects Monitoring Initiative. The LBMI was initiated in 2016-17 and completed in March 2019. It was led by Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN) to develop a cumulative effects monitoring program for the Liard Watershed based on FNFN cultural and ecological values. The Liard Watershed is our homeland; nearly all of FNFN territory is in the Liard Watershed.
 
Goals of the LBMI:

  1. To better understand the state of the environment in the Liard Watershed in FNFN territory using Indigenous knowledge (IK) and science.

  2. To develop a monitoring framework that will allow FNFN to monitor and respond to changes in the environment over time, from industry and climate change.

  3. To help make informed decisions about human activities and land use in FNFN territory so that the long-term values of the FNFN are maintained while ensuring an appropriate level of resource use and development.

  4. To engage FNFN community members in this work, increasing capacity, training and employment of members in monitoring and management of our lands and waters.

  5. To create accessible information on the state and change over time in FNFN lands and waters, available to community and the general public.

 
Outcomes of the LBMI:

  1. Development of extensive trial monitoring programs with more than a dozen FNFN members and terrestrial and aquatic consultant trainers working at different times gathering data on the ground at select areas on territory.

  2. Creation of a Guardian Program Handbook by the FNFN LBMI Team. In essence, the document is designed to be a “turn-key” toolkit that can be used by future FNFN Guardians before, during and after daily (or specialty) monitoring activities.

  3. LBMI monitoring data has already informed a number of decisions and activities undertaken by FNFN and the FNFN Lands & Resources Department in Year 3, including:

i.        identification of and planning for areas requiring protection designations;
ii.       boreal caribou recovery planning;
iii.      exploration of FNFN economic opportunities in sustainable forestry; and
iv.      FNFN responses to industry referrals.
     4.  In Year 3, the LBMI (in whole or in part) supported a number of training opportunities for FNFN members including seven different environmental based/monitoring courses accessed by 24 FNFN members. Training and information sharing with community members also occurred at FNFN summer and winter culture camps.

     5.  Development of additional documents to our growing series of State of Knowledge series, which started with Year 1’s overall State of Knowledge about FNFN territory and Year 2’s Beaver State of Knowledge Report.

    6.   In Year 3 of the LBMI, the FNFN Lands and Resources Department, with assistance from contractors, analysed and uploaded data for 160 water samples from 21 different monitoring sites to the Mackenzie DataStream. These samples have provided us with set baseline conditions against which future changes will be compared in order to identify the health of FNFN territory.
 
FNFN launched the LBMI in an effort to be proactive instead of reactive. By developing our own data collection and monitoring systems, now transitioning into the FNFN Guardian Program, we are getting out in front of development to better position the FNFN to protect our values in the future.

 
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ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION

In 2019 the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) funded FNFN to implement the Caribou Habitat Restoration Fund (CHRF) Kotcho Lake Restoration Area project to benefit the Snake-Sahtahneh caribou herd by limiting predator use of legacy seismic lines and using re-vegetation to increase habitat suitability for caribou.
 
Project goals:

  1. Develop a prioritization scheme for identifying boreal caribou restoration areas within FNFN’s territory and apply it to identify large (60,000 – 100,000 ha) areas for restoration over three year periods for the next 20 years; and

                       

  1. Develop a restoration plan for the highest priority area, the Kotcho Lake Restoration Area. The resulting plan will use different approaches to restore the entire 600,000 ha area over the next three years.

 
FNFN has implemented a prioritization scheme for identifying key areas for boreal caribou habitat restoration and created a restoration plan. Restoration progress will be monitored over the course of several years to evaluate the impacts of restoration on caribou habitat.

FNFN/ BC OGRIS/ BC OGC TRIAL PROJECT

 Please check out the project video here.

In Fall of 2018 FNFN, BC Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) and the Oil and Gas Research Innovation Society (BCOGRIS) piloted a trial restoration project to restore former oil and gas industry sites to their natural state. Utilizing funding from the BCOGRIS, the working group has restored some borrow pits in the Clarke Lake area and other former industry sites, using ecologically suitable and culturally appropriate restoration techniques. The project working group initiated field sampling and site specific prescriptions during the summer of 2018. Earth work followed in the early fall, completed by the FNFN’s contractor and employees. Native plant seeds collected during the early fall were provided to Spring Time Garden Center in Fort Nelson to grow for planting. The sites were successfully planted in Summer 2019 and on-going monitoring of the sites will occur over the next few years.

RELAW

In 2016 FNFN collected traditional stories from community members as part of the Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air & Water (RELAW) project supported by West Coast Environmental Law and the University of Victoria. Interviews with community members were analysed based on foundational legal principles embodied in the stories. The Indigenous laws highlighted through this analysis provide support for future FNFN policy and negotiations. The RELAW project specifically focuses on Indigenous laws related to lands and waters, and this process of preserving Dene and Cree stories has strengthened the FNFN framework for communicating with government and industry about lands and waters.

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TSÀ - AMISK STATE OF KNOWLEDGE REPORT

Beaver, known as tsà in Dené K'e and amisk in the Cree language is an important animal for both Dene and Cree cultures. Beaver is a powerful animal and our people thrived for countless generations on their fur and meat. We are grateful to tsà for sharing these gifts with us. 

In 2017, the FNFN Lands and Resources Department, with financial support from Natural Resources Canada, completed Year 1 of a three-year Liard Basin Monitoring Initiative (LBMI). In Year 1 of the LBMI, we did a state of knowledge assessment on beaver. We looked at sources from our own community knowledge (for example, from prior traditional use and knowledge studies) and publicly available scientific information sources. The status of the population health of beaver, their distribution and preferred habitat, pressures they face, gaps in monitoring information, and management practices, were all subject to the assessment.
 
In 2018 FNFN authored the State of Knowledge Report: Beaver | tsá, amisk to summarize the findings of recent work by the FNFN Lands and Resources Department related to management planning and state of knowledge reporting for beaver in the Liard Watershed and FNFN territory. The document outlines the cultural and ecological context of beaver and beaver management in FNFN territory.

George Blondin, Dene storyteller tells us, "Beavers are very busy animals and smart. Like human beings, they plan far ahead for the future. They know that winter is approaching and that they are going to be frozen over. They also know that they can save food and survive under the ice. They start by building a house. They make their house so that animals like bears and wolverines cannot break it up and kill them. The beavers pile a lot of mud, stones and dry wood, and then mix this with wet mud. It then freezes, making it hard for any predatory animal to break. The beavers are safe in there and that is where they sleep and eat. They also have a place where they can sit. 

The beavers, like humans, will also ration their food if it is going to be a long winter and springtime is far away. The mother beaver will chew off a short length of willow and tell the baby beavers to eat only that for today because they are short of food. Beavers watch carefully over their food to make sure they have enough under the ice until it thaws, and the shores are ice-free. (Source: http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/kes/pdf/or_cf_fnmi_ot_ss_02_legends.pdf page 9). 

 

Quick Links

 

T: 250.774.6313

F: 250-774-6317

2028 Kennay-Yah Rd
RR1 Mile 295 Alaska Highway
Fort Nelson, BC  V0C 1R0

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