The Berry Project

There are numerous berry crops that grow well in the region and which could be grown for the local market on small areas of land. This project explored the possibility of commercial berry growing in the NWT as a way of making use of the natural attributes of local soil.

Local agricultural land is in very limited supply, but berries are high value crops that require only small areas of land for production. Berries are very perishable, which results in relatively high losses and high prices in grocery stores when compared to other fruit and vegetables. This study thus examines the feasibility of producing berries in the Yellowknife, Dettah and N’dilo region (capital region) for the fresh local market.

This research helped to support the Yellowknife Community Garden Society (YCGS) and Ecology North to plant a demonstration orchard in Yellowknife in 2014. This community orchard produces raspberries, saskatoons and Haskap berries, and is open to all Yellowknife residents and anyone visiting the city. The orchard is maintained by the YCGS and volunteer gardeners, and will continue to benefit the community in the years to come.

Summary:

  • The paper considers blueberries, sour cherries, cranberries, Ribes (currants & gooseberries), Haskap berries, raspberries, saskatoons, strawberries, gogi berries, and sea buckthorn, for their potential in a local orchard.
  • A survey of residents was completed to determine what berries are locally harvested and grown, which would be preferred for a local orchard, and how people use berries.
  • Four marketing options were explored for selling local berries: selling to grocery stores and other wholesale customers, selling at stands or farmers markets, selling through community supported agriculture programs (CSAs), and direct farm sales including u pick.
  • The business case was explored for two types of orchards. The first was a 5 hectare orchard with multiple species and multiple marketing techniques. The second was a 0.2 hectare orchard growing primarily raspberries, with saskatoons as a secondary crop, and where all berries are prepicked for wholesale customers. Both models were found to be profitable and viable based on estimated berry production levels and equipment costs.

Funding for this project was provided by the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), which is administered by the Territorial Farmers Association (TFA).

Click below to read the report:

Stimulating Commercial Berry Production

Biodiesel Project

In 2009, Yellowknife resident Daniel Gillis began experiments to create biodiesel and use it in his diesel truck and oil stove. Dan surveyed Yellowknife restaurants in early 2010 to determine that about 84,000 litres of used vegetable oil was being produced and landfilled each year. In September of 2010, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) and Government of the Northwest Territories – Environment and Natural Resources (GNWT-ENR) agreed to fund an expanded biodiesel project that would include renting an appropriate facility and producing biodiesel as a pilot project with the intent of the project eventually becoming a self-sustaining business. This funded project officially began in October 2010. The goals of the project were to create an alternative home heating fuel, divert used vegetable oil (UVO) from the landfill, create a feasible business model, and pass the knowledge of the project on to others.

Restaurants in Yellowknife produced approximately 84,000 litres of waste vegetable oil in 2010.  Funded by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency in 2011, Ecology North worked with Dwayne Wohlgemuth to conduct research to find out how feasible it would be to transform this waste oil into biodiesel for use in diesel powered vehicles.  The study found that burning used vegetable oil in boilers to heat buildings was a more economically feasible solution to the problem. If you’d like  to know more about this project you can read and download the final report here.

Click below to view the report:

Feasibility of Biodiesel Production and Direct Use of Used Vegetable Oil for Heating in the City of Yellowknife

Fort McPherson Adaptation Planning Project

The Fort McPherson Adaptation Project was initiated by Ecology North with the support of CS Environmental. It was loosely based on a process developed by the Northern Climate Exchange for the Dawson City Adaptation Plan (NCE, 2009). The resulting collaborative process drew knowledge and expertise from both the community and technical experts from the Northwest Territories.

Tetl’it Zheh Climate Change Adaptation Plan – This report is based on a series of community climate change workshops hosted in Tetl’it Zheh in 2010 and 2011. It includes climate change concerns and next steps for the community.

Tetl’it Gwich’in Climate Change Adaptation Plan Summary – This brochure summarizes the key aspects of the community’s Climate Change Adaptation plan.

Fort McPherson Community Profile – This document provides basic historical, geographic, and demographic information about Tetl’it Zheh.

Tetl’it Gwich’in Adaptation Plan Environmental Scan – This scan is based on the research and process of writing the Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the community of Fort McPherson, NWT. The scan outlines research completed into background issues related to climate change impacts that may be affecting the community and more broadly the Gwich’in region.

Tsiigehtchic Adaptation Planning Project

The Tsiigehtchic Adaptation Project was loosely based on a process developed by the Northern Climate Exchange for the Dawson City Adaptation Plan (NCE. 2009). The resulting collaborative process drew knowledge and expertise from both the community and technical experts from the Northwest Territories.

Gwichya Gwich’in Climate Change Adaptation Plan – This report is based on a community climate change workshop hosted in Tsiigehtchic in December, 2009. It includes climate change concerns and next steps for the community.

Gwichya Gwich’in Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plan – This implementation plan outlines the recommended adaptations and attempts to provide a schedule and timeline for the implementation of adaptation activities.

Gwichya Gwich’in Climate Change Adaptation Plan Brochure – This brochure summarizes the key aspects of the community’s Climate Change Adaptation plan.

Tsiigehtchic Community Profile – This document provides basic historical, geographic, and demographic information about Tsiigehtchic.

Climate Change Impacts on Northern Water and Wastewater

The provision of clean drinking water and the effective management of wastewater (including solid waste leachate) are fundamentally important to maintaining environmental, social, and economic health.

In 2010, Ecology North worked collaboratively with Wekweètì, Déline, and Tsiigehtchic to to assess the vulnerability of their water and wastewater systems to climate change and to create a protocol that may be used by other NWT communities to do the same.

The protocol and individual community assessments can be found below.


Protocol to assess the vulnerability of northern water and wastewater systems to climate change impacts

This protocol is designed to guide communities in an initial assessment of the current and
potential impacts of climate change on their water and wastewater systems. This protocol
presents some background information on the potential impacts of climate change on
water and wastewater systems and guides communities through the process of:

  • Identifying the potential impacts of climate change on their water and wastewater systems;
  • Evaluating the likelihood of an impact occurring (the sensitivity of water and wastewater systems to climate change); and
  • Determining the severity of the impact (the consequences of an impact occurring).

Assessment of the vulnerability of Wekweètì’s water and wastewater systems to climate change impacts 

This report present a general discussion of climate change impacts and then examines the
specific impacts that may affect Wekweètì’s water and wastewater systems.


Assessment of the vulnerability of Deline’s water and wastewater systems to climate change impacts 

This report present a general discussion of climate change impacts and then examines the
specific impacts that may affect Déline’s water and wastewater systems.


Assessment of the vulnerability of Tsiigehtchic’s water and wastewater systems to climate change impacts (NOTE: link to this assessment will be added shortly. June 2020)

Ecology North worked with Tsiigehtchic to create a community climate change adaptation plan. This report is in addition to the community climate change adaptation plan.

Navigating the Waters of Change

The purpose of this paper is to provide a preliminary assessment of the potential impacts of climate change on water and wastewater systems in the NWT and recommend actions to increase the capacity of communities to respond and adapt to changes.

This paper explores the current and predicted climactic changes in the NWT, looking specifically at the impact of increasing precipitation and temperature. The paper considers effects such as permafrost thaw, increased water turbidity, and increase in wastewater levels and the impact they may have on drinking water quality and wastewater treatment in communities across the NWT

Click below to read the paper:

Navigating the Waters of Change:
Strengthening the Capacity of NWT Communities to Respond to the Impacts of Climate Change on Municipal Water and Wastewater Systems

Behind the Bottle

A four-page information sheet about bottled water. Includes information and fun facts about bottled water and the NWT.

Click below to view the resource:

Behind the Bottle

Yellowknife Centralized Composting Program

The Yellowknife Centralized Compost Program diverts organic waste into the YK Centralized Compost Facility, where it is processed into finished compost. The program began in September 2009, diverting food and yard waste from the landfill, and we continue to look for ways to increase the participation of residents and businesses.

Normally, all of this waste would just be landfilled, where it would sit, rot, and release methane into the environment. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 21x more potent than carbon dioxide! In its first five years, the Yellowknife Centralized Compost Program managed to reduce the release of over 1,000 tonnes of greenhouse gasses into the environment. This is like taking 45 cars off the road every year for the last five years. Way to go Yellowknife!

Who participates?

In November 2014, curb-side collection was introduced to Range Lake residents as part of the City of Yellowknife’s four-year compost program roll-out. The program has since expanded to include all neighbourhoods in Yellowknife as of September 2017, as well as several businesses.

How can out-of-town/off-grid residents participate?

There is a special bin for household food scraps and yard waste located next to the salvage area at the Solid Waste Facility. It is labeled “Organic materials only” and it is free of charge to drop off your appropriate waste there.

What Goes In?

Unlike backyard composting, the centralized compost program can accept materials such as meat, fish, bones and dairy products. The large windrows (long piles) at the centralized compost facility reach sustained high temperatures (above 55°C) that properly decompose and destroy any harmful organisms associated with these items.

Things that DO NOT belong in your green bin include: glossy magazines, biodegradable bags, any sort of plastic (including plastic bags and fruit trays), clean cardboard (which should be recycled), disposable coffee cups, styrofoam.

Click here for more information on Dos and Don’ts

Interested in comics about compost? http://www.thecomicstrips.com/subject/The-Compost-Comic-Strips.php