What do we do at Natural Resources?
Xatśūll has an extensive territory where there is a lot of development occurring. It is our responsibility to be liaison between the stakeholders and the band.We try to address as many concerns in regards to stewardship in our referral process. We also have a agreements with larger companies where we can discuss higher level concerns
We try to address as many concerns in regards to stewardship in our referral process. We also have a agreements with larger companies where we can discuss higher level concerns.
What is referral?
A referral is a consolation package submitted by the government or a proponent to establish what Aboriginal Impacts their proposed development may have on Xatśūll Title and Rights. One a referral comes into the office the referral coordinator reviews it and accesses what types of impacts this development ill have. They will communicate this concerns with the proponent and see how these concerns will be addressed. Lots of the referral we receive are from the following industries: Placer mines, mineral exploration, forestry, range, agriculture, license of occupation, water licenses.
There are two large mines that are currently under operation in the Territory. We have relationships and Participation Agreements with both mines. This enables us to have monthly or bimonthly meetings with the mines to discuss upcoming permits, environmental monitoring, restoration work and other on-goings at the mines. The Natural Resource Department and our economic Development Corporation both attend these meetings.
Currently back to full operations since breach in August 4, 2014. Currently renegotiating PA. In conversation about long term water management plan, Reclamation and remediation plan, and Remediation of Hazeltine Creek (picture above).
Currently in operation with a mine plan extending for another 20 years (at least). Currently in conversation about permit to discharge into Fraser River. Fish sampling initiative to see if salmon safe to eat in Fraser River
Xatśūll territory is rich in minerals and has a good terrain and water available make it abundant in placer mines. As streams and rivers change course, they expose different minerals. Placer mines dig in these areas (alluvial deposits) in the hopes of finding valuable minerals. Proponents can process larger amounts of sediment through big machines using water to separate the larger rocks from smaller rocks and soil. Smaller rocks and fine material go to sluice box (shown below) this is where the gold and other valuable materials are found. To get at the valuable material miners can pan or use a finer sluice box. Water is used throughout this process; when the process finished, the water is placed in a settling pond and re-used. Currently proponents can go online and stake a claim (below is a map of placer claims within the Xatśūll territory). The areas around the Quesnel River, Cariboo River and Swift River are packed with placer claims. This is concerning for the NR department because we are told those are areas that hold traditional value.
One of the main industries with in Xatśūll territory is forestry. It extends all throughout with licenses harvesting crown land, woodlots and community forests.
The large amount of clear cuts is very concerning for the Natural Resources Department. Therefore we try to focus on landscape level objectives. This means that we express serious concerns over riparian areas, water bodies, connectivity, harvesting plants, location of wildlife tree patches. This is fundamental as it will determine the survival of large animals such as moose and deer.
We have agreements with Tolko, West Fraser Williams Lake and West Fraser Quesnel. These agreements allow us to have higher level consultation and provides us with economic and employment opportunities.
The Natural Resource Department will often hire Environmental Monitors from the community to go out on various larger projects to monitor how environmentally safe the project is. Some example projects would be: water sampling with Gibraltar, stream restoration work, Bridge replacements, BC hydro projects, etc.
Archaeology is one of the main concerns the Natural Resource Department has with most applications. This is because it such a fundamental part of Xatśūll culture and history. For this reason when the land is been disturbed we ask for archaeological assessments or preliminary a field assessment. This helps us determine if there are any features in the area of interest. This also allows for some community members to be employed. Under the BC Heritage Conservation Act archaeological sites cannot be altered without a provincial permit—one of the ways archaeological sites are protected.
Joint Resource Committee (JRC)?
The NStQ Joint Resources Committee (JRC) was developed as a forum for the four NSTQ communities to work collaboratively on natural resource issues of common interest.
Currently, the JRC is working on a Collaborative Natural Resource Stewardship Agreement that formalizes this relationship by providing structure and guidance. Each NStQ community is represented at the monthly JRC meetings by its natural resource staff and treaty managers. Representatives from community Economic Development Departments also attend JRC meetings as a way to share information and collaborate on economic development of natural resources. Typical agenda items at JRC meetings include:
- development of joint responses to proposed activities,
- updates and discussion on Government to Government Agreement negotiations,
- economic opportunities affecting natural resources on shared territory, and
- discussion on how best to further develop NStQ collaborative capacity in a way that respects the goals of individual communities.