Aseniwuche Winewak Nation

Muskeg River Watershed Stream Temperature Monitoring Report
MAY 2022 *NEW*

In 2021, AWN received funding from Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Aquatic Habitat Restoration Fund (AHRF) as part of the accommodation measures for Indigenous communities located along the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion route. One of the main objectives of the funding was to develop the technical capacity to conduct aquatic monitoring and assessment projects within the community. Download a copy of AWN’s Muskeg River Watershed Stream Temperature Monitoring Report.

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AWN reached out to Alberta Environment and Parks to discuss opportunities to collaborate on an aquatic monitoring project. As the Muskeg River watershed and bull trout recovery are significant to the AWN community, we helped develop and implement a project into whether water temperatures in 19 different streams are suitable for juvenile bull trout. Previous studies have shown that areas where August water temperatures average 11°C or higher, are unsuitable for juvenile bull trout use. We found that many creeks and the middle and upper parts of the Muskeg River met juvenile thermal needs, but several in the middle and lower parts of the watershed did not.

We also wanted to understand how susceptible streams are to increases in air temperature and, therefore, future climate warming. We found that, generally, most streams have good buffering capacity against increases in air temperature, likely due to inputs from groundwater springs and stream vegetation cover. However, water temperatures in A la Peche Creek were susceptible to increases in air temperature, likely due to greater warming in shallow A la Peche Lake and low flows due to low gradient and beaver activity. Several community members, including Mike Desjarlais, Stephen McDonald, Eric McDonald, Justin Wanyandie and Stuart McDonald, helped install monitoring equipment and collect field data. AWN has prepared a technical report summarizing the work done for this project, which can be found on the AWN website. A community engagement session is planned for June to discuss this and other aquatic projects that AWN is working on in more detail. Stay tuned!


AWN’s Consultation, Land & Resources Department is the first step in developing best practices for Alberta resource development. Before any work can begin in AWN’s Traditional Territory, Aseniwuche Winewak Nation must be consulted. AWN fully supports the development of integrated resource and land management at a landscape level that is inclusive of all values and knowledge.

AWN consultation team looking over ridge


AWN's unique guide to consultation.

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Download a map of AWN’s Traditional Territory

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TLU Portal

Submit projects to the Traditional Land Use portal.

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Working in AWN’s Traditional Territory
Manâcihtâwin · Respectful Relationships Between All Beings · ᒪᓇᒋᐦᑐᐃᐧᐣ

The Aseniwuche community holds irreplaceable knowledge and skills that have been passed down through the generations from our Ancestors. Nehiyaw pimatisiwin ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐤ ᐱᒪᑎᓯᐃᐧᐣ is the Cree way of life. Elders interpret Nehiyaw pimatisiwin as our People’s relationship to the land; a foundation of our identity [1]. The Aseniwuche Winewak lived traditionally for many years, long before Grande Cache was established. Our Ancestors travelled extensively through our Traditional Territory sustaining themselves by hunting, fishing, trapping, guiding and harvesting medicines. Our Ancestors and Elders worked hard to support themselves, their families and the community practicing traditional ways and participating in local commerce trading furs and crafts. Today, the new generation stands with a foot in two worlds: the world of our Ancestors and the world of our children. Understanding we exist in both worlds, we apply this approach to our Consultation, Land and Resources work.

“If humans treat the land in the right way, in turn the land will provide for humans and uphold their well-being[2].”

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In 2004, the Province of Alberta introduced The Alberta First Nations Consultation Policy on Land Management and Resource Development. The policy requires resource developers to consult with the Indigenous communities whose traditional lands and livelihoods are impacted by the proposed work. However, the policy does not provide regulated procedures or clear direction about what constitutes adequate consultation. AWN has taken a leadership role in developing effective, pragmatic Indigenous consultative mechanisms that reflect the values of our People and respect the values of our neighbors. We believe that successful consultation integrates Traditional Knowledge and scientific knowledge. We depend on the land, and we want to make sure that future generations of all Albertans can enjoy its beauty and bounty.

Sustainable · Kākīkiy Cetakahk · To Be Always in Existence

[1] From interviews with Elders completed in 2018 by JOHANNE JOHNSON, Wahkohtowin Lodge Researcher, AS PART OF HER Master of Arts in Native Studies.
[2] From an interview with Tom McDonald completed on July 23, 2018 by JOHANNE JOHNSON, Wahkohtowin Lodge Research, AS PART OF HER Master of Arts in Native Studies.

What is Traditional Knowledge?
Kayas Mācihowin Kiyisketamowin · Knowledge of Our Old Ways

Traditional Knowledge is inclusive: it includes qualities that can be measured such as which creeks contain spawning bull trout, and immeasurable qualities like knowing moose hide makes more durable moccasins. Traditional Knowledge considers not hunting an animal when it is endangered and keeping an eye on fur bearing populations in consecutive seasons. Traditional Knowledge is using every part of an animal, and knowing the importance of fire to healthy forests.

Traditional Knowledge is a powerful tool that has been overlooked by science because it is not documented or tested in controlled environments. It can be used to develop baseline information where it is not available or impossible to measure. It is also a good indicator of how well mitigating measures are working. As the world struggles to use resources sustainably, Traditional Knowledge must be considered equally with scientific knowledge.

The Consultation Process

AWN uses the online Traditional Land Use (TLU) Portal to process proposed projects from the oil and gas, forestry, mining and energy sectors. Companies can enter their project information and upload their documents for submission to AWN. Access the TLU Portal here or visit their website for more information.

Industry submits an application of disposition through the Traditional Land Use Portal

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AWN Reviews

  • plot dispositions
  • map review by AWN Elders & Traditional Knowledge Holders
  • cross reference with TLU sites
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  • Industry reviews results from AWN and submits to Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (AESRD)
  • AWN and Government of Alberta receives consultation log 
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  • AWN indicates any concerns, requests, impacts or comments
  • Site visit may be requested at this phase
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Caribou Patrol Program

Hunting is one of the cornerstones of traditional Indigenous culture and way of life. The Aseniwuche Winewak once relied on caribou for sustenance. The community began to notice a decline in herd numbers and although they hold the legal right to hunt caribou, the community voluntarily stopped harvesting caribou in the early 1970s and continue to refrain in hopes of conserving the animals that are left.

In 2012, AWN started the Caribou Patrol Program, a grassroots program in response to the declining caribou herd populations in west-central Alberta. The program is a collaborative effort with support from Environment an​d Climate Change Canada, Foothills Landscape Management Forum, Government of Alberta and fRI Research.

Learn more about the program, how to report caribou sightings and what you can do to support caribou herds on the Caribou Patrol Program website.

Muskeg River Watershed Stream Temperature Monitoring Report
MAY 2022