Jean Marie River (Tthets’éhk’edélî), Northwest Territories
Title: Permafrost Vulnerability Assessment and Landscape Changes Related to Climate Change in the Jean Marie River First Nation
Action: Changes in the landscape in specific areas induced by permafrost thawing are starting to impact the ability of Jean Marie River First Nation (JMRFN) community members to access country foods. Permafrost degradation is already altering wildlife habitats by inducing changes in the vegetation that animals eat, as well as the terrain where animals live. To address this issue it is necessary to locate these areas and to assess their vulnerability to permafrost degradation. It is also necessary to understand the health implications of permafrost degradation and resultant landscape and ecosystem changes from the cultural context of the JMRFN.
This project is the first step for the JMRFN to proactively address climate change health related issues associated with permafrost thaw (a.k.a. permafrost degradation). In addition to maintaining existing houses and infrastructure, the JMRFN has needs for new housing and infrastructure. Consequently, the assessment of the permafrost conditions under our community is crucial to determine permafrost related hazards.
Results: The project engaged in a series of activities including: geological survey, mapping and geological survey, geological deposit analysis, fieldwork vegetation survey. Community observations related to the land were also considered. A vulnerability assessment was completed regarding the impacts caused by climate change, and identified principal issues and concerns. A series of geological vulnerability hazard maps were created as a tool to assist the JMRFN to develop in areas with lower risk for permafrost degradation.
Outputs: Created a vulnerability assessment and developed a series of vulnerability hazard maps.