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Peguis First Nation Climate Vulnerability Assessment & Integrated Emergency Response Plan

Peguis First Nation is a Treaty 1 First Nation, located in Manitoba, Canada. There are approximately 10,246 members of Peguis First Nation of Ojibway and Cree descent. The main community of Peguis, Peguis 1B, is located approximately 196 km north of Winnipeg. Peguis 1B is located in the East Interlake Watershed District along the Fisher River. Peguis First Nation depends on the Fisher River as a source of subsistence, and for transportation within the community. However, the physical location of the community on the banks of the river means the community is not only vulnerable to changes in the quality of the Fisher River, but also threatened by varying water levels and flooding due to hydro electric and water control infrastructure and climate change impacts. Peguis First Nation homes, businesses, and community infrastructure (including the water treatment plant and roads) are all adjacent to the Fisher River and potentially at risk. Peguis understands that a changing climate will impact the risk of flooding in the community. Furthermore, Peguis recognizes that water levels in the Fisher River are influenced by both environmental factors and active management by hydroelectric control structures, creating a dynamic and complex system that requires an integrated and strategic management approach. In addition to flood and water-related risks, the main community of Peguis First Nation is located in dense forest lands that have experienced several burns in the past few years, most recently in the spring of 2021. As summers get hotter and drier, the threat of fire in these mature forests presents a severe risk to Peguis citizens. As a result, fire management—including planning, prevention and fire-fighting capacity—is of utmost importance to Peguis First Nation. Hotter and drier summers are also impacting Peguis citizens’ ability to use controlled or broadcast burns to maintain and modify the landscapes to regenerate culturally important vegetation (including medicines) and pasturelands for livestock

Flood and fire risk are exacerbated by extreme and severe weather events that the community has faced for several years. These extreme weather events, such as strong winds, snowstorms and the threat of flooding, have caused significant damage to the community, and at times, have resulted in emergency evacuations. Extreme weather is another one of the vulnerabilities that the community faces as climate change continues to affect the area. Peguis First Nation aims to take action to address these risks by establishing an integrated and strategic climate change adaptation plan through this Project.