State of Conservation (SOC)
Nahanni National Park
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Requests Approved: 0
Total Amount Ap proved: 0USD
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
Current conservation issues
Following the Bureau’s request, the Canadian authorities provided a report concerning the site, dated 14 September 2001, which was transmitted to IUCN for review. IUCN notes that the report focuses on the potential impacts of increased mining activity in the region surrounding Nahanni National Park World Heritage site. The report notes that:
· A study is currently underway to determine preferred boundaries for three adjacent areas which are proposed as additions to the Park
· The Deh Cho First Nations have proposed that the Park reserve be expanded to include part or all of the South Nahanni River watershed
· The Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (MVRMA) governs land and resource use in the Nahanni area and the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board has authority. The Board is required to conduct preliminary screening on any proposed development before issuing a permit or licence; this screening includes consultation with government agencies including Parks Canada and First Nations. It can lead to an EIA being requested. In cases where the screening does not lead to an EIA, a federal department such as Parks Canada may request such an assessment
· For Nahanni National Park, the Canada National Parks Act applies, so only the environmental assessment provisions of the MVRMA have effect, and under those provisions consideration must be given to cumulative impacts
· In recent months, Parks Canada has been working with other federal and territorial agencies to review permit and licence applications under the MVRMA in an effort to ensure that the ecological integrity of Nahanni National Park Reserve is maintained
· There are currently seven mining and energy companies that have submitted applications for exploration or development activities in the region. The areas potentially affected by this activity are within the watershed of the South Nahanni River. In two cases, the areas potentially affected are in one of the three candidate areas identified as proposed additions to the Park Reserve
Parks Canada is concerned that the number and location of the proposed developments could result in cumulative impacts on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, including changes to water quality, habitat fragmentation, changes to wildlife movement and resulting impacts on biodiversity. Parks Canada is continuing to work in the processes established under the MVRMA and De Cho Process to address its concerns. It is:
1. Continuing efforts to expand the Park Reserve into the three identified candidate areas identified and to work with other jurisdictions towards a comprehensive conservation regime for the balance of the watershed
2. Through the MVRMA process, focusing its reviews on the identification of potential impacts of the development proposals on ecological integrity and World Heritage values. It will work with proponents and regulatory agencies to develop appropriate mitigation measures, and if measures cannot be found, it will recommend further environmental review.
Analysis and Conclusion
Link to the decision
V.153 IUCN received reports by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - Northwest Territories Chapter (CPAWS-NWT), and confirmed by the State Party, that the Canadian Zinc Corporation has submitted land use applications to the MacKenzie Valley Land and Water Board, in order to support future production at the Prairie Creek mine site. The mine is located immediately upstream from Nahanni National Park, in the South Nahanni watershed, about 15km north of the World Heritage site boundary. Although the mine infrastructure has been in place since the early 1980s, the mine has never operated. The Canadian Zinc Corporation has applied for a land use permit to conduct a six or seven-hole mineral exploration drilling programme, and re-establish an access road to remove a cache of diesel fuel stored 40 km from the mine site.
V.154 Both the mine site and the Nahanni National Park are situated in the South Nahanni watershed, traditional territory of the Dene People of the Deh Cho First Nations (DCFN), and a proposed protected area. The Nahanni Butte Dene Band and the DCFN have expressed their wish to protect the entire South Nahanni watershed. The DCFN will be negotiating with the Government to withdraw the land in the watershed from further industrial development. In the autumn 2000, supporters of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - Northwest Territories Chapter (CPAWS-NWT) submitted over 60 letters. As a result, the Canadian Zinc application was referred for an environmental assessment. There will be two separate assessments, one for the drilling programme, and one for the access road and fuel removal. CPAWS-NWT believes that the establishment of a major industrial development within the watershed and adjacent to the Park is not consistent with the conservation values of the area. They agree that the fuel cache, which has leaked an undetermined amount of fuel, should be removed from its present location. However, they argue that rather than re-establishing a 40-kilometre road as proposed by Canadian Zinc, alternative, environmentally responsible methods should be investigated for removing the fuel.
V.155 The State Party has also informed IUCN that the company North American Tungsten Ltd. is assessing plans for re-opening the Cantung mine (a tungsten mine) in response to changes in the global tungsten market. This mine was closed in 1986 and is located on the Flat River, a tributary of the South Nahanni River, about 45 km upstream from the boundary of the World Heritage site. A further 139 claims have recently been staked by the company. An all-weather road has been reopened to the mine site. A major seismic exploration programme is also being developed and may be proposed for the South Nahanni watershed in the very near future. The State Party notes that these mining proposals are of concern to them and with respect to its mandate to protect ecological integrity. It will continue to monitor developments and make interventions to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board. It also intends to seek a final boundary for the Park that has a better ability to maintain ecological integrity. This will be sought through the Deh Cho land claims process.
V.156 The Delegate of Canada informed the Bureau that five permit applications from the Canadian Zinc mine were received by the MacKenzie Valley Resource Management Board. One is specifically for up to an additional 60 drill sites and another relates to tailing ponds. Parks Canada referred the first two permit applications to second level environmental assessment, to the Environmental Impact Review Board. Parks Canada has also undertaken to create stronger relationships with other federal government departments and with the government of the Northern Territories. This has led to a broader support for the referral of the total permit applications to be assessed as a package and examination of cumulative impacts. It was noted that with other applications, open discussion with companies such as ARCIS has led to amendments to sensitive activities. The staff continues to work co-operatively with the DFCN and discussion has been initiated internally to move towards more permanent boundary definition.
V.157 The Bureau requested the State Party to submit a detailed report on the potential impacts these proposals may have on the World Heritage site by 15 September 2001.
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Reports on the state of conservation of natural properties inscribed on the World Heritage List noted by the Committee
Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
Fraser Island (Australia)
The Sundarbans (Bangladesh)
Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Bialowieza Forest (Belarus/Poland)
Gros Morne National Park (Canada)
Nahanni National Park (Canada)
Los Katios National Park (Colombia)
Caves of the Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst (Hungary/Slovakia)
The Committee noted that the issues raised concern only the Slovak part of this transboundary site.
Sundarbans National Park (India)
The Delegate of India informed the Committee that there is no National Waterways Project that is planned or likely to impact this site.
Kaziranga National Park (India)
Komodo National Park (Indonesia)
Lorentz National Park (Indonesia)
The Observer of Indonesia thanked the Australian authorities for their financial assistance. He informed the Committee that it would be difficult to comply with the deadline of 1 February and that a report could be provided by the end of March 2002.
Aeolian Islands (Italy)
The Observer of Italy confirmed that there was a court decision on 4 December 2001, which is not yet public, but that it is hoped to be available soon. She informed the Committee that the collaboration between the autonomous regional Government and the central Government has commenced and that a meeting will take place to find a solution.
Banc d'Arguin National Park (Mauritania)
The Delegate of Egypt brought to the attention of the Committee the importance of protecting the wetlands, which are known to be important rest places for the migratory birds along their routes. He suggested that the World Heritage Centre should have a plan defining the wetlands, which are important for the birds and to use this information for establishing "satellite" World Heritage sites. IUCN informed of the co-operation between the World Heritage Centre and the Ramsar Convention as well as with Bird Life International for the protection of the wetlands. He also highlighted the importance of the surrounding areas to the World Heritage sites and the links with the Man and Biosphere programme for the protection of the sites. The Secretariat informed of the on-going discussions with the Secretariat of the Convention of Migratory Species to establish a Memorandum of Understanding between these two Conventions.
Gunung Mulu National Park (Malaysia)
Sian Ka'an (Mexico)
The Delegate of Mexico informed that the confirmation of the Ecological Land-Use Plan is in its final phase and consequently she asked that the deadline for the report requested by the Bureau be set for 15 May 2002 for examination at the twenty-sixth session of the Committee in June.
Royal Chitwan National Park (Nepal)
Western Caucasus (Russian Federation)
Golden Mountains of Altai (Russian Federation)
Doñana National Park (Spain)
Sinharaja Forest Reserve (Sri Lanka)
Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast (United Kingdom)
St Kilda (United Kingdom)
Serengeti National Park (United Republic of Tanzania)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (United States of America)
Canaima National Park (Venezuela)
Le Bureau pourrait souhaiter adopter la décision suivante :
« Le Bureau note l’importance qu’attache Parcs Canada à la question des impacts cumulatifs de l’exploitation minière sur ce site du patrimoine mondial, ainsi que les mesures en cours pour résoudre ou atténuer ce problème. Le Bureau demande à l’Etat partie de fournir un rapport d’avancement sur la mise en œuvre de la MVRMA et du Processus Deh Cho avant le 1er février 2002, pour étude par la vingt-sixième session du Bureau. »
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).