From: ScienceDaily
Published September 5, 2012 07:10 AM

Mackenzie River Basin Governance Forum

The governance of Canada's massive Mackenzie River Basin holds enormous national but also global importance due to the watershed's impact on the Arctic Ocean, international migratory birds and climate stability, say experts convening a special forum on the topic.

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"Relevant parties in western Canada have recognized the need for a multi-party transboundary agreement that will govern land and water management in the Mackenzie River watershed. Successful collaboration will effectively determine the management regime for a watershed covering 1.8 million square kilometers or about 20 percent of Canada -- an area roughly three times the size of France -- and include the country's vast oil sands," says University of California Prof. Henry Vaux, Chair of the Rosenberg Forum, which meets Sept. 5-7 at Vancouver's Simon Fraser University with the support of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation.

The Forum's goals include identifying legal and scientific principles relevant to the processes leading ultimately to a coordinated basin-wide approach to management, as well as prioritizing knowledge gaps.

Complex challenges confront this immense territory rich in natural assets, which include intact forests, vital habitat for wildlife and for birds that migrate as far as South America, deep stores of trapped carbon, and vast deposits of oil, oil sands, natural gas and minerals.

A 2011 report published by the Gordon Foundation urges the federal government to work with jurisdictions in the basin to implement a world-class water monitoring program and support credible, independent water research.

Mackenzie river photo courtesy borealbirds.org

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