Welcome to the Marten Falls First Nation (MFFN) Community Access Road (CAR) January e-blast with updates on current and upcoming activities. In this e-blast you will learn about:
Field Studies Update
Overview of recently completed and upcoming field studies
Land Use Assessment
Indigenous Knowledge Program
Update and timeline
Valued Component Videos
Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases and Furbearer videos are ready!
Field Studies Update
Recently Completed Field Studies
Furbearer Ground Track Surveys
Field crews braved cold temperatures in the first round of furbearer ground track surveys this month. Due to extreme weather, the program had to end early and will continue in February with a second round of surveys. Ground track surveys involve walking transects, or straight lines through the study area, to inform the distribution, abundance and density of fur bearers furbearers (such as wolverines [wishkobishag / wiingwa’waakeg] and martens [wabizheshihwag / wabashtanang]), and mammals in the study area. Field crews included MFFN community member Field Support Staff.
In February 2021, 30 GPS radio collars tracking activity / movement were placed on female caribou (atigwag) in the Local Study Area. In January of this year another mortality was reported and to-date there have been four mortalities. A mortality investigation, including determining the cause of death (e.g., predation, hunter, natural causes) and retrieving the collar when we’re able to do so. The collars that are still on other caribou will continue to provide information on the location via satellite to an online database until February 2024.
Ungulate Remote Camera Check
In June 2021 remote cameras were installed in the Local Study Area to capture images of animals like moose (moozoog), caribou (atigwag) and bears (makwa’ang). In January 2022 crews returned to the cameras to inspect and replace batteries and memory cards.
Upcoming Field Studies
To help us understand the current conditions (quality and quantity) of the environment along the proposed alternative routes, scientific field studies will continue to be taking place for aquatic and terrestrial environments and wildlife. The information we collect through these studies will be strengthened by the Indigenous Knowledge shared with us by MFFN and neighbouring Indigenous communities through the Indigenous Knowledge Program.
Program-specific Discussion Guides will continue to be distributed to Indigenous community representatives with information about what the program is, why it’s important to the Community Access Road and asking for specific input. These guides are distributed ahead of field programs.
Below is a high-level overview of upcoming winter field study programs and their approximate timelines*:
- Wolverine Hair Snag Surveys (Today - May 2022): Hair snag traps will be placed in the study area to provide information about wolverine (wishkbishag) demographics (male / female). This program is starting today.
- Furbearer Ground Track Surveys (February 2022): Transects, or straight lines through the study area, will be walked to inform the distribution, abundance and density of fur bearers furbearers (such as wolverines [wishkobishag / wiingwa’waakeg] and martens [wabizheshihwag / wabashtanang]), and mammals in the study area.
- Ungulate Aerial Surveys (February - March 2022): Aerial surveys will be conducted to observe signs of wildlife including moose (moozoog), wolves (maihganang) and wolverine (wishkbishag), and to gather population and distribution information on caribou (atigwag).
- Ungulate Remote Camera Check (February - March 2022): Crews will finish the program started in early November 2021 to inspect and replace batteries and memory cards in remote cameras installed in June 2021. Cameras will capture images of animals like moose (moozoog), caribou (atigwag) and bears (makwa’ang).
- Air Monitoring (March 2022): Technicians will be performing a routine maintenance visit on the air monitoring device in MFFN.
A Field Notice for upcoming winter programs was distributed on December 8, 2021. An update was provided on January 12, 2022 confirming dates for the first round of ground track surveys, remote camera check and caribou mortality field programs. If you have any questions, comments or feedback on the planned studies, we would like to hear from you (contact information below).
*Timelines and programs are approximate and may shift; we will provide updates as required.
Land Use Assessment: Upcoming outreach
In the coming months, we will be reaching out to outfitters, trappers, tourism operators, mining claim holders and other groups / organizations to help inform the Community Access Road’s land use assessment. Stay tuned for more information.
Indigenous Knowledge Program: Update and timeline
The Indigenous Knowledge Program is a critical component for the Community Access Road. A recent update was provided to Indigenous communities with an illustrated timeline for key steps and their completion dates.
Valued Component Videos
We are continuing to develop videos to showcase the valued components we are studying as part of the Environmental Assessment and Impact Assessment. Our latest videos on Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases and Furbearers (such as wolverines [Wishkobishag / wiingwa’waakeg] and martens [Wabizheshihwag / wabashtanang]), are now live, click the links to check them out
Meet with Us Virtually!
Did you know that we’ve been meeting with different groups, including Indigenous communities, virtually throughout the pandemic? We’ve also hosted virtual webinars & Q&As with telephone and computer access—a recent success was a Community Access Road update presentation and Q&A with MFFN community members in late 2021. Reach out if you would like to set-up a virtual meeting or broader community webinar if you are interested in meeting with our team.