Bathurst Caribou Range Plan

Range planning to reduce disturbance to caribou

The Project

The Bathurst herd is a population of migratory barren-ground caribou whose range extends across Nunavut, the eastern NWT and northern Saskatchewan. Over the last 30 years, the population has declined from a historic peak of over 450,000 to an estimated 20,000 in 2016. In response to concerns about the cumulative effects of mineral development and other land use activities on the Bathurst range, the Government of NWT initiated a range planning exercise to provide guidance on ways to manage and reduce disturbance to caribou and caribou habitat. 

Our Role

Compass is leading an interdisciplinary team of professionals in the development of this complex transboundary Range Plan. The multi-stakeholder planning process involves representatives from Aboriginal governments and organizations, industry, federal and territorial governments, and non-governmental organizations. Key tasks include gathering and integrating traditional, local and scientific knowledge, developing a GIS database, defining future development scenarios, modeling the potential response of caribou to these scenarios, and facilitating frank conversations about the socio-cultural, environmental and economic trade-offs of various range-scale management actions. The recently released Interim Discussion Documents describe a system of tiered disturbance thresholds and associated management actions, and are currently out for public review and comment. Next steps in this long term project will focus on recommendations to land use planners, regulators and review boards, and practical guidance for implementation.