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 (NWT) environment for the social and economic benefit of all residents.

The GNWT shares this responsibility with Indigenous and municipal governments, federal and territorial departments, boards and agencies, and every resident of the NWT.

Some of our work

  • Collaborate with Indigenous governments, communities and the public to protect the NWT environment and make sure resources are used sustainably and wisely.
  • Manage and regulate on-shore waters, wildlife species, wildlife habitat and forests in the NWT.
  • 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 community energy conservation and the use of alternative energy sources, such as biomass, solar, wind and geothermal.

How we do it

The GNWT collaborates with Indigenous 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 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

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


Prevent and reduce impact of human activities on the environment.

Forest Management

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

Water Resources

Ensure 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.