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About Environment and Natural Resources

What we do

Environment and Natural Resources (ENR), as part of the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), works to promote and support the sustainable use and development of natural resources and to protect, conserve and enhance the Northwest Territories environment for the social and economic benefit of all residents.

The GNWT shares this responsibility with Aboriginal and municipal governments, federal and territorial departments, boards and agencies and every resident of the Northwest Territories (NWT).

Some of our work

  • collaborate with Aboriginal governments, communities and the public to protect the NWT environment and make sure resources are used sustainably and wisely.
  • act as the management and regulatory authority for on-shore waters, wildlife species, wildlife habitat and forests in the Northwest Territories.
  • assess, monitor and mitigate impacts of development on NWT forests, water, wildlife and wildlife habitat.
  • negotiate and implement, transboundary water agreements with neighbouring jurisdictions.
  • support and promote use of alternative energy sources, such as biomass, solar, wind and geothermal, and energy conservation in communities.

How we do it

The GNWT collaborates with Aboriginal governments, communities, the public and partners to protect the NWT environment and ensure the wise and sustainable use of  resources.

Natural resource policies and programs are developed using the best available scientific, local and traditional knowledge, to makes sure management decisions are current and relevant to the NWT.

The ENR Strategic Plan 2015-2020 outlines the goals and objectives for the next five years to help the GNWT acheive its vision and mission. Departmental priorities as set out in the Strategic plan are complement to the GNWT Sustainability Development Policy and the Land Use and Sustainability Framework. They are also compatible with the ENR mandate.

Department responsibilities

Conservation, Assessment and Monitoring

Ensures NWT environment figures prominently in land use planning, including conservation lands, and the review of proposed development activities within the regulatory system.


Prevents and reduces the impact of human activities on the environment.

Forest Management

Makes sure NWT forest resources are used sustainably, and protects people, property, communities and values at risk from wildland fire.

Water Resources

Ensures water stewardship and works closely with NWT boards issuing water licenses by providing technical advice, reviewing applications and coordinating Ministerial approval for Class A water licences.


Responsible for wildlife resource stewardship by assessing and monitoring wildlife populations, habitat, species at risk, wildlife health and biodiversity.