NORTH YUKON PLANNING REGION:
LMU 4: Northern Richardson Mountains and Foothills
Sub-unit #4A: Bell – Waters River
Land Use Designation
Integrated Land Management Area, Zone II
Yukon public land
Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and Tetlit Gwich'in Council (Secondary Use Area)
2,275 km2 (3.7% of Region)
Biophysical Setting (LMU 4)
Remote mountainous unit with sub-arctic conditions.
British Richardson Mountains.
Taiga Shrub, Alpine and Tundra (minor).
High elevation sparsely vegetated, herb, shrub and rock; low elevation coniferous forest and shrub; minor wetland and riparian.
Porcupine River (Bell, Little Bell and Waters rivers, headwaters of Driftwood River).
Bell River corridor in Northern Richardson Mountains is a significant Porcupine Caribou and moose habitat. (CWS photo)
Cumulative Effects Thresholds
Relative to LMU Size*
Surface Disturbance (%)
Linear Disturbance (km/km2)
Current disturbance (2020)
On the ground amounts**
Surface Disturbance (km2)
Linear Disturbance (km)
Current disturbance (2020)
Room under cautionary threshold***
*These are proportional to the size of the LMU, and correspond to table 3-2 of the Approved Plan. They are measured in the % of the LMU that can be disturbed (“Surface Disturbance”) and in km/km2 (“Linear Disturbance Density”).
**These are amounts that can be measured and apply to the whole LMU and would be more familiar to project proponents and regulators. They are measured in km2 of disturbance and in km of linear disturbance (e.g., roads, trails and cutlines).
***How much more disturbance can be added to existing disturbance before the cautionary threshold is reached.
Amount of disturbance relative to the cautionary theshold:
One of most significant caribou concentrated use areas in region. Porcupine herd may be present in at least five seasons, including summer, fall migration, rutting, winter and spring migration. Calving occurs infrequently in northern portion of unit.
Significant seasonal habitats along river corridors. Bell River corridor supports some of highest winter moose densities in Yukon.
Low-moderate winter habitat.
Status uncertain; significant sheep habitats identified in adjacent LMU #4C.
Potential over-wintering habitat in Bell and Waters Rivers.
Muskoxen can be found in area; significant bear habitat.
Wetlands and Lakes
Bell and Waters rivers, and several large tributary streams.
Major River Corridors
Heritage, Social and Cultural Resources
VGFN Heritage Routes and Sites
No identified VGFN routes or sites. Traditional use and culturally significant area for Gwich’in First Nations.
Other Heritage and Historic Resources
Documented archaeological sites.
Current Community Use Areas:
Limited use; most activities occur in lower Bell River corridor (LMU #4C).
Transportation and Access
No existing transportation infrastructure. A conceptual access route has been identified in this unit*.
Tourism and Recreation
Low interests and activity.
Oil and Gas Resources
Low or no potential; northern margin of the Eagle Plain oil and gas basin.
Low or moderate potential.
Aggregate (Gravel) Resources
No identified resources; river gravels or crushed rock offer potential sources.
* Source: Yukon Government, Department of Energy Mines and Resources. 2003.
Special Management Considerations
- North Yukon Land Withdrawal prohibits land disposition and resource exploration activities.
- One of most significant Porcupine Caribou Herd concentrated use areas in region.
- Important winter moose habitat along Bell and tributary rivers.
- Tetlit Gwich’in Secondary Use Area.
- Potential Yukon North Slope transportation corridor options may require consideration.