Assessing regulators’ information needs: Making decisions about cumulative effects in the Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories’ Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program (NWT CIMP) works to “…analyze data …traditional knowledge and other pertinent information for the purpose of monitoring the cumulative impact on the environment of concurrent and sequential uses of land and water and deposits of waste in the Mackenzie Valley”. The challenges facing CIMP include identifying the cumulative impact priorities of decision-makers and refining them into key cumulative impact monitoring questions that can deliver meaningful information for regulators. There is an expectation that cumulative impacts in the NWT not only be monitored but also be managed. To help support the efforts of CIMP, this research project will assess regulators’ information needs for making decisions regarding cumulative impacts to water quality under the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, and identify meaningful formats in which this can be provided.

Led by Dr. Bram Noble at the University of Saskatchewan in partnership with Dr. Kevin Hanna at UBC, this project will help determine what information regulators need about cumulative effects to make informed decisions about development impacts to water quality, and whether the information can be provided through CIMP or other monitoring agencies responsible. The results will help  agencies in the NWT provide the information needed to support decision-making, and will support a better understanding of the needs of regulators in the monitoring and management of cumulative impacts to water quality.

The project is funded by the NWT Cumulative Impacts Monitoring Program. The funding supports the research of two Masters Students – Lindsay Wong at U. Saskatchewan and Lauren Arnold at UBC.