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2 Tuesday May 19 2015 ENVIRONMENT WATERSHEDS NEWS BRIEFS Yellowknife RCMP investigating sexual assault allegation Police in Yellowknife have placed a suspect in custody re- lated to a sexual assault investigation that sent a 22 year- old female to Stanton Territorial Hospital. RCMP do not believe public safety is at risk at this time. No charges had beenlaidagainstthesuspectasofpublicationdate.Thein- vestigation is ongoing though RCMP say there will be no further information regarding the victim or the person in custody to protect their privacy. Ekati Diavik diamond mines win joint environmental award Two NWT mines have been recognized for their joint ef- forts to protect the environment where they are operating. Ekati and Diavik diamond mines were honoured with the Canadian Institute of Mining Metallurgy and Petroleums topenvironmentalexcellenceawardfortheirworkonajoint regional grizzly bear DNA program. The project was cre- ated to determine if mining-related activities were impact- ing the abundance and distribution of grizzly bears over time.Localindigenousgroupswereconsultedontheproject. NWT parks open in time for Victoria Day Weekend The Northern camping season officially started this past weekend as a majority of NWT parks opened their camp- grounds.Lastyearover24000campersmadetheirwayout toparksaroundtheterritoryandtokeepthetourismboom going the GNWT has committed 2.5 million for upgrad- ingandmaintainingparksinfrastructurein2015including new hiking trails at the Gwichiin Territorial Park and fixes to Prelude Lakes marina and shoreline. Parks in the Beau- fort-DeltaregionandInuvikwillremaincloseduntilJune1. Fort Smith Mission Historic Park Community Garden TIndustry ourism Investment Fort Smith Mission Historic ParkMission Historic Park Community Mission Historic Park or 867-872-6439 To reserve space please contact Presley Beamish at Past mistakes support need for transboundary agreements minister Continued from page 1. Whilesomeofthatdeclineis likelyrelatedtoclimatechange True said the diversion has certainly been a contribut- ing factor. Whenwefirstgotoutthere 25 years ago we could see the water was three feet below where it used to be he said. Since weve been going out there its dropped another three feet. Though the diverted water is said to return to the NWT via other channels concerns about mounting industrial developmentintheAthabasca oilsandsregionofAlbertaand continueddryingfromclimate changeinthePeace-Athabasca Delta means less of that water couldbereturningnorthward inthefuturethaniscurrently- especiallyifthedroughttrend continues. Weve had no rain of any kindsincelastsummer.There were no fall rains no spring rainsandthesnowpackwasnt excessive - I think it was even slightlyundernormalMilten- berger said. Plus were in the fourthyearofthatdroughtso waterflowsacrossthelandare goingtobeimpacted.Evapora- tionisgoingtobeuprainfalls downuseisupitsallgoingto put stress on things. At present Miltenberger said oil companies in Alberta are benefitting most from the diversion. ThisisaboontoAlbertahe saidbecausetheflow-which is not insignificant - out of the Taltson system adds signifi- cantlytoLakeAthabascawhich isveryhelpfulinoffsettingthe water demands that are there now for the oilsands. Talks underway with Saskatchewan Negotiationsonestablishing a transboundary agreement withSaskatchewanhavebeen ongoingsincethegovernments signed on to the Mackenzie RiverBasinmasteragreement in1997withthosetalksramp- ingupoverthelastthreeyears. Throughoutitsvarioustrans- boundary water negotiations the GNWT has established a classification system for the health and monitoring of riv- ers wherein a Class 1 river is pristine and untouched a Class 2 river has some activ- ity requiring studies a Class 3 river is impacted by signifi- cant upstream development - liketheSlaveRiver-andClass 4 is beginning to see negative impacts of development. Sowerehavingthedebate as we do the negotiations of what class is the Tazin Milt- enbergersaid.Wecantchange whats already on it but if we look at the here and now the flowwas95percenthigherand theymovedthatwateroutside of the Tazin basin. Though the GNWT cant ask other jurisdictions to re- movedamsestablishedbefore thenegotiationoftheseagree- ments Miltenberger said the possibility is left open in the agreement for some recourse based on historical decisions. We dont close the door on any reaching back via parties forthingsthathavehappened in the past he said. The minister said the de- bate over the Tazin should be completedwithinthenextfew weekswithafinaltransbound- arywateragreementhopefully signedwithSaskatchewanbe- foretheendofthe17thAssem- bly this fall. TheSaskatchewanMinistry ofEnvironmentandtheWater SecurityAgencywerebothap- proachedforcommentbutdid not respond in time. Agreements have already thecountryafterwenegotiate thatagreementwithSaskatch- ewan Miltenberger said. The baseline samples done by AANDC were analyzed for basic physical parameters majorionsnutrientsandtotal metalsbutwereneveranalyzed fororganicsubstanceslikepoly- cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons PAHs or polychlorinated bi- phenyls PCBs. All values were reported as close to or below CCME guidelinesfortheprotectionof aquaticlife.AccordingtoENR the Tazin is characteristic of a been finalized with Alberta andareclosetocompleted with B.C.AsidefromSaskatchewan the territory still needs to fin- ish negotiations with Yukon and Nunavut. Gap exposed in water monitoring Though Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada AANDC did some water quality monitoring on theTazinbetween1982-2010 taking spring and fall surface water samples Miltenberger said the area has been a rela- tiveblindspotintheterritorys watermonitoringregimewhen compared to work being done on the Slave Liard and Mack- enzie Rivers. ThatTazinandTaltsonsys- tem has sort of been quietly allowed to move on its own without a lot of infrastructure in that area for monitoring so we have to look at paying more attention to that part of taiga shield river in that it has very low levels of suspended sedimentmetalconcentrations nutrient inputs and dissolved constituents.Along-termtrend analysis shows a slight rise in pH associated with regional climate change. Miltenberger said ENR plans to advance the gov- ernments knowledge of the Tazin and Taltson systems over the foreseeable future partnering with Canada and Saskatchewan. Given the importance of the Taltson system to us now that we are paying at- tention and aware that there has been significant activity on the Tazin in the past on a go-forward basis we want to have better information we want to have the best water monitoring that we can get among all the parties...and ensure that part of the Mack- enzieRiverbasinstayshealthy as well he said. When we rst got out there 25 years ago we could see the water was three feet below where it used to be. Since weve been going out there its dropped another three feet. Don True Fort Smith Mtis harvester Don True walks along the Tazin River where he has hunted moose for 25 years. The area used to be covered by water but has dried up over the last several years. PhotoPatti-KayHamilton