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Introduction to the Research Project

The Coastal Habitat Comprehensive Research Project is a large-scale research program overseen by Niskamoon Corporation covering the entire eastern coast of James Bay and involving all four Cree coastal communities. The program was created following an agreement signed between the Cree Nation Government, Niskamoon Corporation and Hydro-Québec in August 2016 with the objective of better understanding the generalized decline of eelgrass (Zostera marina) habitats along the eastern James Bay coast. This species has been shown to be extremely important to the ecology of the coastal region.

The decline of eelgrass has coincided with larger changes along the coast by Cree land users, most notably a decline in the quality of the spring and fall goose hunt. To fully understand the scope of these changes, a comprehensive research approach is required to link the different factors of this complex system.

The research project is governed by the following central research questions:

  1. What are the main factors affecting the current growth of eelgrass along the eastern coast of James Bay?
  2. What is the impact of the current state of eelgrass beds on waterfowl presence along the coast of James Bay and, subsequently, Cree hunting activities?

Research methods and oversight

To answer these central research questions, five research teams represented by six Canadian Universities are working across the entire coastal region to understand different pieces of the puzzle, which will be brought back all together at the completion to present a full picture of the problem. These individual research components are presented in the “OUR WORK” section of this web site.

Research oversight is provided by a Steering Committee made up of representatives of the signatory parties to the Agreement, Cree Nation Government, Hydro-Québec and Niskamoon Corporation, as well as from the Cree Nation of Chisasibi, the Cree Nation of Wemindji, the Cree Nation of Eastmain, the Cree Nation of Waskaganish and Canadian Wildlife Service (Environment Canada). To find out more, visit the “COMMUNITIES” section of this web site.

 

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This diagram represents the connections between the different research components as part of the research program.