Planning for Environmental Change Workshop - February 25-27 2014

Mike Durglo from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes talking to conference participants about his experience with climate change readiness planning.

TSAG’s Environment Department brought together 36 people from 17 First Nations in February 2014 for a three-day workshop to talk about how communities are being affected by environmental change. The workshop centered on effective ways to come together to adapt and respond to a changing environment.

This workshop tackled two main topics. First, the workshop focused on understanding the wide range of impacts climate change is having on Alberta Nations. Participants took part discussing ways that their communities are currently being impacted by climate change and then brainstorming ways communities can adapt. The group explored conducting climate change vulnerability assessments based on a case study from Fort McMurray First Nation. Fort McMurray First Nation partnered with TSAG in 2013 to create a document on “Lessons-Learned on Phase I of Conducting a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment.” This document was based on the Nation’s experiences under taking a vulnerability assessment in 2013 and those of the project partners (TSAG). Mike Durglo and Sue Wotkyns shared examples from south of the border on work US tribes have been doing regarding climate change adaptation planning. Adaptation to climate change will look different for all communities but may include establishing food sharing programs, changing land use planning, and creating community plans such as emergency response plans or source water protection plans.

The rest of the workshop focused on Species at Risk in Alberta. Amy Nixon from the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) discussed some effects of climate change on different bird species in southern Alberta and Carmen Calihoo from Environment Canada presented different funding options available to Alberta First Nations.

Click here for Lessons-Learned on Phase I of Conducting a Climate Change. Vulnerability Assessment: Case study with Fort McMurray First Nation.

Lake and Riparian Assessment Workshop

Have you ever wondered just how healthy is your local swimming hole?

Lands and Environment managers and monitors from 10 First Nations across Alberta learned how to measure just that at TSAG’s Lake and Riparian Assessment Workshop July 10-12, held near Battle Lake, Alberta. They spent three days in the classroom and field learning how to monitor the riparian area (shoreline plants) and water quality, using Battle Lake as an example. A healthy riparian area with natural plants is very important in making sure the lake stays clean for fish and people.

Riparian plant identification and assessment was taught by the Maskwacis Cree Nation Elders and the non-profit society Cows & Fish that work on sustainable grazing around water bodies. Participants learned the basics of water monitoring program design as well as how to test lake water quality using different types of equipment at different depths with help from Alberta Lake Management Society and TSAG staff. Workshop participants now have the tools to start monitoring lakes in their communities.

For more information on how you can get involved monitoring water in your community contact TSAG’s Environment Department.