Protection and Management Concept

The Broadback has about a dozen rivers that serve as major tributaries, beginning with the Assinica in the headwaters area. The recently established Assinica National Park Reserve serves as a core anchor for the protection of the headwaters of the Broadback River. The park provides the spinal cord and connectivity for anchoring the proposed Mishigamish and Chiisaakigan protected areas. Further downstream, the river flows through areas characterized by muskeg and wetlands where it eventually meets the open waters of James Bay.

The whole Broadback River watershed and the boundaries of the parks and proposed protected areas listed below (24,036 km2) form the Area of Interest for the Broadback River Conservation Area (see map below)

The conservation area represents a mix of protection, conservation measures and management approaches that together would provide for comprehensive conservation for the Broadback watershed. Some protection zones could be expanded to better protect Cree values and areas of interest and/or to meet woodland caribou protection needs. The special management zones would be designed to achieve both conservation and development objectives, and to serve as buffer zones for the core protected areas.

The proposed conservation area includes the following components:

1. Assinica National Park Reserve1 and expansion area
- Serve as core anchor for Broadback watershed protection. Provides key connectivity between different sectors for the watershed conservation concept. Tourism development will be play an important role in park management and expansion area

2. Assinica Wildlife Reserve2
- Can serve as tool to enhance Cree management in the Assinica headwaters area. Orientations could evolve to enhance woodland caribou conservation and Cree land use activities.

3. Mishigamish proposed protected area3
- Features proposed protection from industrial development for the last remaining virgin forests in the Waswanipi trapline territory, north of the Broadback River. Critical for Waswanipi for the protection and enhancement of the traditional Cree way of life. :
- Important woodland caribou habitat

4. Chisesaakahiikan proposed protected area4
- Features protection from industrial development for Lake Evans, Lake Nemascau and the Old Nemaska gathering site. :
- The Mishigamish and Chisesaakahiikan proposals come together at Lake Evans, which is of shared protection interest.
- Important woodland caribou habitat

5. Special Management zone A (North of Assinica Park Reserve in Mistissini sector).
- Much of area overlaps with Assinica Wildlife reserve
- Potential for modified forest management and road access approach, to serve as a buffer zone for the core protection areas, and to enhance the conservation of quality woodland caribou habitat and Cree areas of protection interest

6. Special Management zone B (South of Mishigamish and Chisesaakahiikan in Waswanipi Sector)
- This area could feature a modified forest management and road access approach, to serve as a buffer zone for the core protection areas, and to enhance the use and management of areas that are highly valued by the Crees of Waswanipi

7. Special Management zone C (Downstream area, Waskaganish sector)
- Different approaches can be developed to enhance conservation and wildlife management in this sector, which features large areas of muskeg and marsh

The Broadback River Conservation Area would be managed by sector. The sectors would be defined by the limits of the trapline territories associated with each community. This way, the leadership over the management of different sectors of the conservation will be shared by all of the Cree communities and land users.