Vulnerability Assessment of the Slave River and Delta Report
On January 24–26, 2012, members of the Slave River and Delta Partnership (SRDP) gathered in Fort Smith, NWT, for a three-day workshop to assess the vulnerability of the Slave River and Delta ecosystem and provide direction on monitoring priorities for future work. This vulnerability assessment workshop was part of the Sediment Coring and State of the Knowledge and Vulnerability Assessment project that was supported by the NWT Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program (CIMP).
A vulnerability assessment is a process that captures the state of an ecosystem and its components. Ecosystem vulnerability is a function of 1) the influence of stressors on the ecosystem components, 2) the importance of ecosystem components to the overall ecosystem and to local residents, and 3) the strength of linkages between the ecosystem component and other components.
In breakout groups, workshop participants discussed current knowledge, observations of change, vulnerability and monitoring questions for six ecosystem components: hydrology and sediment load, water quality, fish and insect/benthic communities, wildlife, vegetation and air and climate. The group then gathered to identify the top five monitoring priorities for each topic, to rank these five priorities in importance, then to rank the six ecosystem components for priority in monitoring. Participants also ranked the vulnerability of each ecosystem component on a scale of one (not vulnerable) to five (highly vulnerable) and provided rationale (lack of information or observed changes) for the vulnerability ranking.