LWIC attends Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council Summit

YRITWC Summit 2017

From August 1st to 3rd, LWIC interim South Basin Representative, Holly Morrisseau and LWIC Coordinator, Johanna Theroux, attended the Yukon River Inte-tribal Watershed Council biennial summit in Carcross, Yukon. The Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) is an Indigenous grassroots non-profit organization, consisting of 73 First Nations and Tribes, dedicated to teh protection and preservation of the Yukon River Watershed. At the summit, LWIC learned about the projects and programs being undertaken by this organization, as well as their governance structure and lessons of their successes and challenges over the past 20 years.

At the summit, LWIC heard from the YRITWC staff about their four program areas developed over the organization's 20 year history including: brownfields management, drinking water safety, community based water monitoring, and solid waste management. A review of the YRITWC water management plan was also conducted at the summit, where LWIC learned about the challenges and ongoing efforts required in order to successfully implement a watershed management plan in First Nations communities. LWIC also learned from Dr. Edda Mutter about the local impacts of climate change in the Yukon River Watershed and attended a water monitoring course on the use YSI water quality monitors along with fieldwork training on passive sampling procedures to monitor for organic contaminants in water . Through this course, LWIC was able to gain hands-on experience and training in scientific water quality monitoring. A big thank you goes out to Dr. Edda Mutter for sharing her knowledge and going out of her way to provide LWIC with this opportunity. 

Finally, LWIC attended a water ceremony conducted by Elder Harold Gatensby (Tagish Tlingit spiritual leader), and learned from the YRITWC delegates about the importance of the Yukon River and the environmental impacts it faces. 

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