Baseline study for cumulative effects on James Bay Valued coastal ecosystems 

Executive Summary:
James Bay and it's surrounding environments consist of culturally and biologically valuable ecosystems, yet many of these ecosystems remain unstudied. the Cree's who rely on these ecosystems have seen significant changes brought by
hydroelectric development and climate change adversely affecting their traditional practices. But because of the considerable data gaps and sparse baseline data, these affects are not well understood. This project proposes to gather baseline data on valued nearshore ecosystems identified by the Cree's and their ecosystem services to facilitate cumulative effect studies. Our approach is to braid western-science based theories and research methods with traditional ecological knowledge.
The proposed 2-year project focuses on two ecosystem components vital to the Cree way of life: waterfowl and fish habitats. Activities and outcomes will concentrate on baseline data gathering and eventually using the data in the cumulative effect studies. 

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Project Objectives:
 

  • Gather sufficient baseline data to investigate anthropogenic and natural environmental change's

  • Valued ecosystem components sustain Cree traditional hunting and fishing activities

  • Project aims to develop local and scientific and technical capacity 

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An example of Lake Whitefish otolith from James Bay under a microscope. The rings(marked by dots) show the fish's annual growth, while the spaces between rings show the fish's growth characteristics. This fish is approximately 24 years old, with a variable growth rate during its lifespan.

Photo: CERRI

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Project Outcomes:
 

  • Outcomes will include baseline biophysical and socio-economic data of each valued ecosystem

  • Train a team of land-users to monitor and analyze cumulative effects on waterfowl and fish habitats

Project partners include:

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