For the past decade, World Wildlife Fund Canada has been at the leading edge of GIS mapping initiatives and gap analyses regarding the establishment of protected areas across Canada’s lands and waters. In the Northwest Territories (NWT), we have led an open, multi-stakeholder exercise this past year to compile and digitise all existing bio-physical and cultural information for the Mackenzie Valley and NWT to produce high-quality readily available GIS maps showing the regional distribution of these values. These data will be available to all interested stakeholders to highlight information gaps and to consider the placement of pipeline related developments. Furthermore, consistent with the NWT Protected Areas Strategy (PAS) [1], communities and other groups can use the information to assist in identifying areas of high natural and cultural value which should be reserved for protection as pipeline development plans and approvals are being made. Based on these data, a defensible network of protected areas representing the diversity of landform features in the Mackenzie Valley natural regions can be established to provide all parties with greater certainty and confidence as the development proceeds. This poster shows some key preliminary results from this mapping project, describes the various data layers and analytical techniques used, and highlights spatial examples where pipeline routing, associated infrastructure and conservation/protected areas in affected natural regions could all be achieved and widely supported.

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