Sebastian Belleau

Land and Resources Technician,

Garden River First Nation

"I grew up in Garden River fishing and hunting my whole life, I always had a passion for the outdoors and went to Sault College in the environmental law program. I am passionate about the issue with turtles - the amount that are dying, the loss is preventable - they could protected better than they are."

How are they making waves?

Previously the Water Quality Coordinator, and currently the Land and Resources Technician for Garden River First Nation, Sebastian works on several initiatives to support the waterways, ecosystems, fish, mammals and aquatic vegetation in Garden River.

Recently he worked on a project testing the recreational water bodies throughout the community to develop a baseline data set to understand the water quality. 

He is also the co-researcher for an Indigenous knowledge study, conducting Indigenous knowledge interviews with community members in Garden River. He is looking for information on place names in the community, culturally important areas, lakes, rivers, streams, species at risk, and stories on the land. This knowledge is highlighting important places in the community such as spawning and nesting sites for species at risk such as turtles.  

The Indigenous knowledge interviews are very handy for baseline information, to understand how the river has changed. 

Applications of innovation for future use

This research is important to make management decisions and policies in Garden River, for example, where to create an Indigenous protected area. 

Facts about issues being addressed

The St. Marys River connects Lake Superior and the rest of the Great Lakes; it is an industrial area that is highly polluted, and is being researched. 

However neighbouring Garden River and the reserve is less researched, which is important for making management decisions and policies. 

All turtles in Ontario are species at risk and are impacted by road mortality. They take a long time to mature, and have to survive for a very long time for them to reproduce.