What is NOGAP?
(in detail)

The Northern Oil and Gas Action Plan (NOGAP)

The Northern Oil and Gas Action Plan (NOGAP) was initiated in the aftermath of the first flurry of impact assessment activities that marked the Mackenzie Corridor of the early 1970s (see, for example, Pimlott et al.: 1973), and in the wake of the conclusions of the Berger Inquiry (Berger 1977). As perceived by these and other reviewers, a major difficulty with the proper assessment of the potential impacts of proposed oil and gas developments in the Mackenzie Valley, Beaufort Sea and Northwest Passage areas lay in either the dearth or the unevenness of knowledge pertaining to various facets of the natural, cultural and social environments that would almost certainly be affected.

In anticipation of oil and gas exploration and exploitation developments, the primary study area was defined as the Mackenzie Delta-Beaufort Sea region without, however, initially excluding other pertinent regions from consideration. In brief, the programme was put together, in a coordinated fashion, as a means to acceleration scientific data gathering and to increase the capabilities and levels of expertise on the part of those government agencies which, through mandates of various kinds, were already involved in carrying out long-term resource management and advisory or regulatory roles in the areas under consideration. The overall orientation and definition of the programme profited greatly from the proceedings and subsequent recommendations of the Beaufort Sea Environmental Assessment Panel (BSEAP 1984).

The NOGAP Archaeology Project

NOGAP Research Sub-Areas:

1-Yukon Coastal Plain and Herschel Island
2-Mackenzie Delta
3-Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula and Eskimo Lakes
4-Horton River/Cape Bathurst Peninsula
5-Southwest Anderson Plain
6-Lancaster Sound/South Devon Island

The NOGAP Archaeology Project was developed in a coordinated fashion with the participation of all concerned and pertinent federal and territorial government agencies. This brought together representatives of the Yukon Heritage Branch, the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (Yellowknife, N.W.T.), and the Archaeological Survey of Canada (Canadian Museum of Civilization) in order to ensure both short and long-term protection, preservation and interpretation of a vast and intricate array of non-renewable and very fragile archaeological resources. Such remains are deemed essential to our understanding of the prehistory and early history of a large portion of Canada. The ASC-CMC contribution to this approach emphasized archaeological data gathering and interpretation through field inventories, impact assessment surveys, test-excavations, laboratory processing, curatorial treatment, conservation (when required), and analyses.

A hallmark of our strategy was to deal with generic, i.e. regional, archaeological problems rather than addressing issues related to site-specific project proposals such as found, for example, in actual pipeline or highway construction. In this manner, the results are broadly applicable and provide a crucible into which development-specific data can be integrated. In addition, this component allowed for the provision of information to both the scientific community and the general public. The intrinsic value of archaeological resources can only become a useable reality through interpretation, integration into a larger body of historical knowledge, and dissemination to both specialized and broader audiences.

The extent of the activities of the territorial agencies, were defined on the basis of internal (governmental) resource allocations and priorities. Thus, the Yukon Heritage Branch conducted a detailed inventory and study of the heritage resources on Herschel Island and, in collaboration with the ASC-CMC, an overall survey of the historical heritage resources of the Yukon Coastal Plain. The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre focussed its attention on an accelerated study of Mackenzie Inuit prehistory as found along the eastern edge of the Mackenzie Delta. It also undertook, in the context of a series of field-school programmes, the training of northerners in the techniques of archaeological surveys and excavations.