Members from Matawa First Nations in Thunder Bay, Ont. to discuss climate change adaptations
Community members and leaders from the nine Matawa First Nations were in Thunder Bay, Ont. to discuss how to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change and development pressures from December 11 to 13.
The environmental gathering, hosted by Four Rivers Environmental Services Group, was an opportunity for member First Nations to outline their concerns and to set priorities moving forward.
Sarah Cockerton, environmental programs manager for Four Rivers, said that the three-day gathering was important to have right now because northern communities are already experiencing changes as a result of climate change and land development.
"The topics that we've discussed here related to the increased frequency of forest fires ... the impact of shorter winter road seasons ... flooding as a result of an increase in severe weather occurrences and the impacts on human health," said Cockerton.
Four Rivers will be kicking off several projects in the new year to support environmental issues, including a three-year vulnerability assessment for each of the Matawa First Nations.
"Every community will need it's own solutions ... which will really be based on the issues that they are encountering and what priorities they have for addressing them," added Cockerton.
Matawa Water Futures project introduced
Researchers from Lakehead University, Laurentian University and Wilfrid Laurier University also attended the gathering to initiate dialogue about the Matawa Water Futures project.
"The Water Futures Project is about setting up the framework for how our communities can continue to lead environmental stewardship in their homelands," said Cockerton.
Cockerton adds that this project will help member First Nations develop the necessary community-based monitoring tools to track the health and the use of their watersheds.