Shibogama First Nations Council is working with the Wildlands League to develop an integrated watershed plan.
“I understand the funding has been approved,” said Margaret Kenequanash, executive director of Shibogama First Nations Council. “Now we just have to sit down and develop the flow of that funding. The work that the communities are doing with the parks is already underway.”
The Wildlands League received a $200,000 2010 RBC Blue Water Project Leadership Grant from the Royal Bank of Canada to work with Shibogama to develop first principles for watershed stewardship using indigenous knowledge.
Shibogama’s five communities, Kasabonika, Kingfisher Lake, Wapekeka, Wawakapewin and Wunnumin Lake, are located in the ecologically significant watersheds of the Severn and Winisk rivers in Ontario’s Far North. The Wildlands League will map the watersheds, which are still undammed and unregulated, using the best available data on current and proposed uses.
“It’s been a real struggle to get funding and even commitments from the government to support these initiatives that will be done locally,” Kenequanash said. “That is the work that has to happen if there is going to be any movement on anything, even to look at sacred lands, to look at protected areas, to look at planning. The communities have to be the ones who take the lead in the planning of their (traditional) areas.”
RBC provided $920,000 to five organizations to support projects from wetland and shoreline restoration to water quality monitoring and sharing of water management practices in agricultural regions.
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