For the most part, the range of the Porcupine Caribou herd is undeveloped. However, there are a few critical locations where development activities are increasing and may pose challenges to the herd.

Eagle Plains

Eagle Plains is located within the Porcupine Caribou herd’s winter range. Oil and gas exploration in the Eagle Plains basin began in the late 1950s and by 1985, 33 wells had been drilled in the area. Over the past decade, a renewed interest in developing oil and gas resources has meant more focus on potential development in the area. In 2017, the Yukon Government placed a moratorium on any exploration activities in the area to allow for more detailed consultations and development agreements with First Nation governments. Concerns over impacts to the herd’s range are one of the main areas of interest.

Dempster Highway

The Dempster Highway connects Inuvik, NWT to Dawson City, Yukon. The 670-kilometre road runs through the Porcupine Caribou herd’s winter range. The road provides hunters with easy access to caribou, which means that caribou can be harvested when they are close to the highway. Road traffic can accidentally kill caribou and disturb migration patterns. The Porcupine Caribou Harvest Management Plan outlines approaches for managing and tracking harvest of the herd, particularly along the highway corridor. All partners with jurisdiction along the highway collaborate on communication materials to ensure the ethical and sustainable harvest of the herd.

Peel Plateau

The Peel River watershed is part of the Porcupine Caribou herd’s winter range. In 2011, the Peel Watershed Planning Commission, established through the Yukon’s Final Agreements, recommended a Land Use Plan calling for protection of over half of the region. The following year, the Yukon Government presented a revised plan that allowed for a much higher level of industrial development in the area. This disagreement lead to a legal battle that reached the Supreme Court. In 2017, the court sided with the First Nation governments and ruled that the Yukon must restart its planning process. The Government of Yukon is working with Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, Vuntut Gwitchin Government and the Gwich’in Tribal Council on the next steps.