The Eastern Athabasca Regional Monitoring Program (EARMP) is a shining example of industry, community and government coming together to ensure public safety and the health of the environment.
EARMP was established in 2011 as a partnership between the Government of Saskatchewan, Cameco, Orano, and the communities of Black Lake Dënesųłıné First Nation, Fond du Lac Dënesųłıné First Nation, Hatchet Lake Dënesųłıné First Nation, Stony Rapids, Wollaston Lake, Camsell Portage and Uranium City. Seeing value in the program, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission formally joined the partnership in 2017. This partnership provides further support to address environmental concerns and identify sustainable management practices in the Athabasca Basin. The unique industry-government-Indigenous-community partnership brings the provincial government, the federal uranium regulator and industry together to monitor environmental impacts and build meaningful relationships with the region’s residents.
“This collaboration is an excellent example of the things we can achieve through partnerships,” Environment Minister Dana Skoropad said. “By working together, we can ensure the safe and responsible development of resources, which supports growth that benefits all citizens of Saskatchewan. It is also instrumental in protecting the health of our environment and communities.”
Community members from the six study sites actively participate in the program by determining the location of sampling sites and collecting and donating samples. Input from the communities and traditional ecological knowledge are built into the design of the annual field study, with residents actively participating.
“The EARMP community program is a great example of bridging Western science with Indigenous knowledge and perspectives,” Cameco Safety Health, Environment & Quality and Regulatory Relations Vice-President Liam Mooney said. “Cameco is proud to be a long-standing partner in this program. We believe it reflects Cameco’s values regarding the safety of people and protection of the environment.”
Engagement with local communities through EARMP also contributes to increased community ownership, putting control in the hands of those who rely on the environment most and ensuring accurate and transparent information to the public.
“It’s important for the community and me, because we want to make sure the water and food we eat are safe,” George St. Pierre of Wollaston Lake, who worked on the project said. “I help out with this program because it’s my home and land, and I want to protect it.”
This collaboration has been a positive part of the robust environmental monitoring efforts and a testament to how government and industry can work with communities to ensure a safe and secure environment. Results of the monitoring program, which show water and traditional foods of the Athabasca Basin remain a safe and healthy part of the local diet, were released in January 2023. The full report can be found at earmp.ca.