Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve, a protected area on the east arm of Great Slave Lake will have six invasive species removed this summer after they were accidentally introduced by an Environment Canada team doing work on a nearby weather station.
The species – Lamb’s Quarters, White Sweetclover, Common Plantain, Common Dandelion, Horseweed, and Worm-seed Wallflower – were found in the summer of 2020, a year after the Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) team were doing remediation work on a weather station in Fort Reliance.
While a representative from Thaidene Nene Park could not be reached for comment, Rola Salem, a spokesperson from Parks Canada said that the invasive plants are very localized and have not caused any problems for the site.
She said the species’ presence in the park, and the work to remove them, would not have any impact on the summer season as the area where the plants were found is not a tourist destination.
Krystyna Dodds, an ECCC spokesperson, said the department could not confirm where the species were transported from, but said it is not uncommon for construction or maintenance projects to “reveal the presence of invasive species.”
To address the invasive plants, ECCC has proposed Tetra Tech be hired as environmental consultants. Dodds said the plants’ removal is set to take place over five days this summer in a contract estimated to cost $137,187.
Thaidene Nene National Park covers 14,305 square kilometers of boreal forest and tundra inhabited by caribou, beaver, muskox, grizzly bears, moose, lynx, fox and wolverines. It was established as a protected area in 2019 following an agreement signed by Parks Canada, the GNWT, the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation, Deninu K’ue First Nation and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.
Sheena Tremblay, Executive Director of the NWT Recreation and Parks Association, said she is “greatly disappointed to hear to hear of (the park’s) disrespect.”
“Although we don’t work in the area of protecting the land from invasive species, we value respectful relations with the land and support land-based programs,” she said. “On the land programs are such an important part of revitalizing cultures, languages, and traditions. Thaidene Nene Indigenous Protected Area is so important for the sustainability of land-based initiatives.”
Following the work this summer, the department will ensure the site continues to be free of the six species in an evaluation in early September.