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MEDIA RELEASE – Bill 38: Indigenous Lands Are Poised to Gain Protection

Aerial view flying over the proposed Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve,
located near Lutsel K’e, NWT. ©Ducks Unlimited Canada 2019

May 31, 2019

Yellowknife, NWT: Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) National Boreal Program commends the Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT) for agreeing to expedite the assessment of Bill 38: Protected Areas Act, during the May/June sitting of the Legislative Assembly in the spirit of consensus government. With the many parties involved in assisting in the modernization of Bill 38, we were pleased to see GNWT’s Joint Release Announcement on May 23, 2019.

We fully endorse the Environment and Natural Resources Minister Robert C. McLeod and Standing Committee of Economic Development and Environment Chair Cory Vanthuyne for moving ahead with this legislation together. The Minister and Committee members recognize the importance of the Protected Areas Act to the indigenous governments who co-drafted the legislative proposal and the united support the Act has for Indigenous Governments and non-government organizations. This cooperation with the Minister and the Standing Committee will contribute the governments to both work towards efforts to conserve “Thaidene Nëné”, “Ts’ude niline Tu’eyeta” (Ramparts), and other proposed protected areas in the territories. The process of conserving wetland habitat in the north is crucial to maintaining North American waterfowl populations. Mahsi Cho for the sound decision to expedite Bill 38!

About Bill 38

Ducks Unlimited Canada provided input on Bill 38 as an active participant on the Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG). DUC very much supports the GNWT’s initiative to amend existing and develop new legislation as an important part of their devolution responsibilities and to contribute to their mandate commitments for the 18th session of the Legislative Assembly. With the continued threats of global climate change, landscapes in the north are particularly vulnerable. DUC strongly supports the expedited passage of Bill 38 as it will enable large parcels of wetlands and forests to be protected for conservation.

The Northwest Territories (NWT) boasts some of the most beautiful, intact wetland landscapes in the world.  Composed of 42 unique ecoregions, the NWT is a very diverse land containing pristine lakes, rivers and mountains all surrounded by various wetlands in the vast boreal forest. Treasured by all northerners, Canadians and people worldwide, the picturesque landscape of the NWT is home to hundreds of water bird species.

Wetlands are areas that are saturated with water long enough to support aquatic plants and wildlife for part of their life cycle. Canada’s wetlands are diverse. They take the form of marshes, bogs, fens, swamps and open water. Every type helps to keep our communities healthy and safe. Wetlands are productive ecosystems that provide a host of ecological services and benefits and form an integral component of NWT’s diverse landscapes.

Quick Facts

  • 20% of NWT is covered by wetlands
  • Wetlands, land and water are an integral part of land, life and livelihood in NWT
  • Culturally, physically, and socially significant
  • Highly important to the Indigenous People
  • Supports ecotourism within the region
  • Helps provide clean water for everyone
  • Provides carbon storage to provide climate change mitigation benefits
  • Buffers the impacts of floods and drought to provide resilience to climate change
  • Provides biodiversity conservation – contribution to Target 1

About Ducks Unlimited Canada: Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment.


Barrett Lenoir

For all inquiries, contact:

Sonny Lenoir, Manager, NWT
Ducks Unlimited Canada
(867) 873-6744