Boreal Caribou

Section 11 Conservation Agreement

On March 13, 2019, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) signed a Species at Risk Act Conservation Agreement for the Conservation of the Boreal Caribou with the federal government to strengthen conservation of boreal caribou with a commitment to complete range planning within five years. The agreement includes funding to support the conservation work within the agreement and engagement of Indigenous partners to ensure these plans reflect the values and interests of northerners.

What is a section 11 conservation agreement?

Section 11 of the federal Species at Risk Act enables a federal minister to enter into an agreement “with any government in Canada, organization, or person to benefit a species at risk or enhance its survival in the wild.” This includes boreal caribou, which are listed as Threatened in Canada and the NWT.

A section 11 agreement sets out conservation measures consistent with the Species at Risk Act, including measures to:

  • Monitor the status of a species
  • Develop and implement recovery strategies, range plans, action plans and management plans
  • Protect the species’ habitat, including its critical habitat
  • Undertake research projects in support of recovery efforts for the species

The Conservation Agreement for the Conservation of the Boreal Caribou between the governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories (NWT) describes how the two governments will work together with the territorial Conference of Management Authorities to support a healthy and sustainable population of boreal caribou in the NWT.

Why is a conservation agreement needed for boreal caribou in the NWT?

Together with other GNWT departments and co-management partners, ENR has developed a Framework for Boreal Caribou Range Planning that outlines the GNWT’s proposed approach to developing five regional boreal caribou range plans.

These plans would maintain at least 65 per cent undisturbed habitat within the NWT range of boreal caribou over the long term, as required by the national recovery strategy. This is an approach we believe will provide effective and adaptive critical habitat protection for boreal caribou in the NWT while supporting economic development.

The conservation agreement recognizes and supports our ‘made-in-the-North’ approach to boreal caribou protection and habitat management and reduces the likelihood of a federal protection order being imposed on the NWT. The agreement also provides significant federal funding to support range planning in the NWT over the next five years.

What is in the agreement?

The overarching goal of the agreement is to articulate the actions the governments of Canada and the NWT will take over the next five years to support the long-term objective of maintaining a self-sustaining population of boreal caribou in the NWT.

These include:

  • Engagement and consultation on a range planning framework
  • Development of regional range plans
  • Range plan implementation
  • Evaluation of sustainable harvest rates

Underpinning this work are the NWT Boreal Caribou Recovery Strategy and Implementation Agreement, tools developed collaboratively by the GNWT, Indigenous governments and organizations, renewable resources boards and other partners. The Framework for Boreal Caribou Range Planning will guide the development of regional range plans using a balanced approach that maintains a healthy and self-sustaining boreal caribou population while ensuring sustainable economic growth opportunities for residents of the NWT.

The conservation agreement provides $3.255 million in federal funding to support the development and implementation of these range plans over the next five years. In addition, the GNWT has negotiated $1 million in funding to support related engagement and consultation activities to ensure these plans reflect the values and interests of northerners.