In partnership with Associated Environmental, IEG conducted an aquatic health assessment (State of the Aquatic Ecosystem Report) of the Mackenzie River Basin for Environment and Climate Change Canada.
The objective of the project was to assess the overall health of the Basin using a “braided knowledge” approach, allowing for integration of scientific and Indigenous knowledge systems as multiple lines of evidence to build a more holistic understanding of aquatic ecosystem health. Aspects of aquatic ecosystem health explored in this project included water quality and quantity, habitat and species, and health and wellbeing.
IEG led the cultural component of this work by gathering Indigenous knowledge holders’ observations of aquatic ecosystem change through a focused literature review of academic and grey literature sources and communications with natural resource management boards and organizations in the Basin. The assessment used a framework consisting of scientific and cultural indicators of aquatic ecosystem health to express:
- the changes in aquatic ecosystem health that have occurred since the last MRB SOAER was released in 2004;
- the degree of change that has occurred based on a health index rating system at the indicator, sub-basin, and basin-wide scales, both within and across knowledge systems; and
- what these changes mean for the future of aquatic ecosystems, local residents, and communities in the Basin.
This project explored the value and importance of Indigenous knowledge and scientific information in assessing the health of the Basin. It also created an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of observed changes and their consequences.
Link to the project website: soaer.ca