Bulkley Valley Research Centre - Science in the Public Interest

Project profile: Skeena Knowledge Trust

The Bulkley Valley Research Centre is partnering with Skeena First Nations, SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Province of British Columbia to design and establish the Skeena Knowledge Trust (SKT). The Trust was born from the need to know what salmon-related information exists in the watershed and how it is changing so we can work toward more informed decision-making about Skeena salmon and their habitats.

The purpose of the SKT is to become a comprehensive source of information on wild Pacific salmonids in the Skeena Watershed, including water quality, habitat and population data. Strategically, the project will be structured to integrate with existing decision-making processes, including a variety of cumulative effects initiatives surrounding the various pipeline and LNG proposals, climate change adaptation assessments, fisheries recovery plans, and sustainable forest management planning.

The multi-disciplinary SKT Governance Establishment Group is comprised of Don Morgan (Project Manager, BVRC), Johanna Pfalz (Project Coordinator, Eclipse Geomatics), Greg Knox (SkeenaWild Conservation Trust), Richard Overstall (Buri, Overstall), and Blair Ells (FLNRO). The Governance Establishment Group is currently recruiting Settlors and Trustees to finalize the formation of the Trust.

The Skeena Salmon Data Centre, managed by the SKT, is a delivery tool aimed to compile and communicate credible data and information relating to wild Pacific salmon in the Skeena watershed. This resource will help inform and enable the assessment of resource development proposals and government policy by First Nations and non-government organizations, as well as regional, municipal, provincial, and federal governments.

Johanna Pfalz explains the significance of the Skeena Salmon Data Centre as a single portal access point to salmon information relevant to the Skeena watershed. "The Skeena Salmon Data Centre links together existing information and presents it through an easy to use web interface. It is also capable of storing data and information relevant to the Skeena Watershed that is not currently catalogued, or is difficult to access from other sources," says Pfalz.

The results of the SKT's knowledge management will be made available to all stakeholders, including First Nations governments and organizations, conservation groups, municipal/provincial/federal governments, industry, and the general public. In turn, this comprehensive knowledge base for salmon and their habitat will support decision-making and serve as a basis for future work.

The team behind the SKT aims to establish and promote collaboration among those sharing an interest in salmon management, both by creating awareness about the importance of conservation efforts and providing an integrated perspective on salmon and industrial development. To learn more about the Skeena Knowledge Trust, visit skeenatrust.ca.