In mid-December, the Science and Technology Branch coordinated a teleconference for nearly 40 members of the National Boreal Caribou Knowledge Consortium (NBCKC). Represented at this meeting were Indigenous communities and organizations, wildlife management boards, ENGOs, academics, stakeholders and Federal, Provincial, and Territorial governments. The purpose of this gathering, the first since meeting face-to-face in June 2019, was to showcase completed work, provide project updates, share lessons learned, and set the direction for work in the coming year.
On day one, members of the Indigenous Knowledge Circle (IKC) provided the NBCKC with an overview of their working mandate, an introduction to a proposed report on Indigenous ways of knowing boreal caribou, and an update on projects supported by contributions agreements with ECCC. The NBCKC was also treated to a sneak peak of the test site for an online portal that will be used to share knowledge concerning boreal caribou: the Canadian Conservation and Land Management (CCLM) Knowledge Portal. Geospatial information about current initiatives is being collected and will soon be featured on an interactive map of people and projects; a key feature of the CCLM caribou portal.
Day two began with updates from NBCKC members concerning projects and initiatives underway from their respective region or jurisdiction. Working group leads also updated the NBCKC on the status of deliverables. The Monitoring Working Group announced the release of their first report and provided updates regarding ongoing development of monitoring best practices. The Habitat Restoration Working Group unveiled a draft ecological model and framework, which will inform and guide habitat restoration efforts. Next steps were also laid out for new work, including the creation of a Population Management Working Group and a Stewardship Perspectives report.
The underlying theme felt throughout the two-day meeting, was how conservation and recovery of boreal caribou will benefit from the united efforts of all experts and knowledge holders present on the NBCKC. Consensus was reached on work that would take place between now and the June face-to-face meeting; including:
- A review of Indigenous ways of knowing boreal caribou
- Best practices for monitoring boreal caribou
- Plot people and projects on the interactive map
- Refine the habitat restoration ecological model and framework
- Convene the first meetings of the Population Management working group
- Scope the work for a perspectives piece concerning stewardship