Bulkley Valley Research Centre - Science in the Public Interest

Skeena Knowledge Trust launched at Adding On forum

April 17, 2014


A collaborative approach to compiling information about the Skeena watershed was unveiled at a forum hosted recently by the Bulkley Valley Research Centre.

The April 16-17 Adding On forum continued a discussion about cumulative effects that began at the centre’s 2012 Adding It All Up conference. The forum focused on knowledge management and the ways we collect and disseminate data so it can best contribute to informed decision-making.

“We’re adding meaning to raw data so that we can create a discussion around what’s out there,” forum co-chair Don Morgan said. “Through discussions at the forum, we moved closer to a knowledge trust for the Skeena watershed.”

Roughly 50 participants representing First Nations, government, conservation, resource management and industry attended the event, held at Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers. The two-day event included presentations, breakout groups, panel discussions and participant feedback through five-minute forums.

Smithers lawyer Richard Overstall and Eclipse GIS’s Johanna Pfalz introduced the Skeena Knowledge Trust, which creates a common source of credible data that's available to everyone. A trust separates value judgments from objective science in a way that's legally enforceable, Overstall told forum participants.

Ivan Thompson, wild salmon ecosystems program officer with The Moore Foundation, which is funding the Skeena Knowledge Trust, said the trust is an important step in managing the watershed sustainably. 

“The Skeena Knowledge Trust is a powerful opportunity to inform people over time,” Thompson said. “It allows us to capture that knowledge and have it available in the service of the people that are going to ensure this place is here for our children, not just next year but for their entire lives.”

The BVRC is facilitating the establishment of the Skeena Knowledge Trust, which links a variety of stakeholders, their data and ongoing research. More information on the trust is expected to emerge in the coming months.