Fort Smith voices fracking concerns at public meeting Residents in Fort Smith ex- pressedworriesaboutpossible damagetolandandwateratlast weeks public meeting on the NWTs new rules for fracking. See page 3. Young writers show Spark of creativity with writing contest NorthwordsNWTishonouring the best youth writers in the territory at its upcoming writ- ersfestivalwithwinnersfrom Yellowknife and Fort Smith. See page 15. DEFENDING DRYBONES Yellowknives Dene try second time in court to protect site. See page 6. Hay River to hire replacement work during strike The Town of Hay River plans to contract local eld mainte- nance staff to clean and repair playgroundsandpublicspaces during the labour dispute. See page 8. Northerners give visions for future of agriculture in NWT Local food community gar- dens and greenhouses were some of the visions dancing in the heads of NWT residents consultedonfarminglastweek. See page 7. V IS IT W W W .N O R J.C A A national award winning independent newspaper serving northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories since 1977 1.00 May 19 2015 Vol. 39 No. 3 Saskatchewan dam diverting 95 per cent of NWT river towards oilsands By MEAGAN WOHLBERG A river in a virtually unchecked corner of the Northwest Territo- ries has been losing 95 per cent of its water to Saskatchewan and Al- berta for over 50 years with little to no monitoring of the downstream impacts. The Tazin River whose head- waters arise in the Northwest Ter- ritories before dipping southward into Tazin Lake in Saskatchewan and back up again into the NWTs Taltson River system has been reg- ulated by a dam on the outow of Tazin Lake since 1939. Thatearthlldamoriginallycon- structed to support gold production in Saskatchewan was raised by an additional two metres in 1958 ef- fectively blocking 95 per cent 25 ms of natural lake outow from returning north to the territory. Environment and Natural Re- sources ENR Minister Michael Miltenberger said theres not much the NWT government can do to alter the trajectory of the historic pre-regulation dam in the territory but said lessons learned from this occurrence emphasize the need for nalized agreements with the Land-users see drop in water levels ENR scientists say the diversion has no measurable impacts on Great Slave Lake as the water from the watershed where land-users say a signicant drop in water levels over time has negatively impacted beaver moose and other wildlife as well as sh blocked by the dam. Alotofprimehabitatformoosehas dried out all the shallow water bays and some of the smaller offshoots to theriversaidDonTrueaMtishar- vesterfromFortSmithwhohashunted mooseathiscampontheTazinRiver every fall for 25 years. They used to come in the evenings and feed in the grassthatwouldgrowtherebutalot of those are just mudats now. True said growing beaches exist where there was once water. Dried up streams now prevent his canoe from leaving the main river while low water levels make docking the oat plane a challenge. Beaver dams along the shore have been left high and dry metres above the waterline which can be seen to have dropped noticeably by many feet in the mark- ings on the cliffs along the river. See Past mistakes on page 2. Saskatchewan government on in- terjurisdictional water issues. We cant undo the past Milt- enberger said. But it makes the case very clearly why we need those transboundary water agreements with Saskatchewan. Tazin is said to be returned undi- minished to the territory via Lake Athabasca and the Slave River. But there is little knowledge on the current state of the Tazin River downstream of the dam and any impacts on the rest of the Taltson This is a boon to Alberta because the ow - which is not insignicant - out of the Taltson system adds signicantly to Lake Athabasca which is very helpful in offsetting the water demands that are now there for the oilsands. Minister Michael Miltenberger NWT Environment Natural Resources PhotoDaliCarmichael Joe Mura is honoured for his 30 years of service working as an IT technician for Public Works and Services at the GNWT Long Service Awards ceremony in Fort Smith the evening of May 13. For more on his story and some of the longest-serving members of the GNWT head to page 9.