Per the hearing update letter of June 13, the Board has determined that the Reconnaissance Survey results for BNE ekwę́ are relevant to the Board's final decisions and recommendations, although they were not available prior to the closing of the hearing record on May 20, 2016. The Board is therefore exercising its discretion in order to take notice of this new information. This results summary provided by ENR on July 15, 2016 includes a summary of survey results for both BNE and Bathurst ekwę́, and Appendix 2 which contains additional details about the BNE survey.
The following information is provided:
- The data are from aerial surveys of the two herds during calving in early June, 2016.
- Breeding tsı́da (females) of the Bluenose-East ɂekwę́ were grouped in a more compact area on the calving grounds than in 2015. Bedzıo (bulls) were spread out south of Kugluktuk.
- The surveys are taken from airplanes flying routes, or transects, over the herds but are NOT photographic surveys which are more accurate and take more time to analyse. The next photographic survey is scheduled for 2018.
- The tight grouping of the adult ɂekwę́ on the BNE calving grounds makes accurate counting more difficult using this type of survey.
- There were 36 radio-collared tsı́da in the area surveyed, all of which were located (i.e., it is unlikely that any major groups of tsı́da were missed in the survey).
- ENR estimated that there were 18,500 adult (over 1 y old) ɂekwę́ in the BNE at ɂekwę́ nę́go lek’e (the calving grounds). There is no estimate of the number of calves present. Bedzıo were not counted.
- ENR concludes that the BNE is continuing to decline, although not as quickly as in the last 5 years. The Bathurst may have increased by a small amount since the last survey.
- The conclusions from the survey are very tentative, and are only used for rough estimates.