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Yukon Wetlands Policy Public Outreach

Yukon Government is inviting the public to comment on their draft Wetlands Policy, which fails to protect wetlands from continued development and human impacts. Wetlands have sustained our community, lands, waters, and wildlife since time immemorial. Our Elders consider them the “lungs” of our Traditional Territory. We must protect our wetlands.

We invite all citizens and groups to share their comments and concerns on the policy directly with YG, by emailing Tyler.Kuhn@yukon.ca and Amy.Law@yukon.ca, and on social media by tagging @yukongov @ENV_Yukon @EMRYukon.

You can read the draft Policy and accompanying documents here: https://yukon.ca/en/engagements/yukon-wetlands

FNNND’s vision and objective for wetlands is for wetland habitats to thrive indefinitely for the benefit of future generations and for all lands, waters and living things. Yukon’s draft policy does not achieve this goal.

Make your voice heard and share your feedback by next Friday, December 3 by filling out the survey here: https://ygsurvey.yukon.ca/surveys/2021-Wetlands-policy-survey.

FNNND’s key concerns with the draft Policy are outlined below. We invite you to draw from FNNND’s points for your own submission:

  1. No Net Loss of Wetlands: FNNND’s ultimate goal with respect to wetlands is for wetland habitats to thrive in the Yukon indefinitely for the benefit of future generations and for all lands, waters and living things. A way to incorporate this in the policy is clear recognition of the goal of “no net loss of wetlands.” Likewise, Yukon’s concept of ‘Wetlands of Special Importance’ implies that some wetlands are not special. FNNND is of the view that all wetlands are vital.
  2. Respect our Treaty: The policy gives YG a lot of discretionary power, including over the nomination and designation process for Wetlands of Special Importance. The policy needs to respect our treaty, and the core promise of co-management and co-governance of our Traditional Territory. This includes respecting Chapter 10 (Special Management Areas), Chapter 11 (Land Use Planning), Chapter 14 (Water), and Chapter 16 (Fish and Wildlife).
  3. Protection is Key: The policy must provide clear guidance to assessors, regulators and decision-makers that protection of wetlands is paramount.
  4. Slow Climate Change: Climate change needs to be integrated throughout the policy. The policy must consider and measure climate change effects on wetlands, and also consider the changing permafrost and human impacts on wetlands accelerating climate change. 
  5. Moratorium on Developing Wetlands: There are key information gaps and management mechanisms we need in place to protect wetlands. We need a comprehensive wetland inventory, establishment of ecological and management thresholds, permafrost mapping and offsetting measures. There needs to be clear timelines and action points for filling information and management gaps and interim measures until these are filled. Applying the precautionary principle, all development on wetlands should be suspended until these mechanisms and data are in place. 
  6. Mitigation is not Enough: The policy must include clear definitions of key concepts such as reclamation and restoration, and articulation of “avoidance” and “minimize” within the mitigation hierarchy. The mitigation hierarchy at present provides no metrics, thresholds or management tools beyond what we currently have and will not provide any certainty or protection if implemented as written. 

Protect our wetlands and protect our collective future.

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