Copper River Salmon Workshop Series
Elevating our collective knowledge to a common level
ON APRIL 12, 13 AND 14, 2005, Salmon were the topic of conversation during workshop one, the first in a series of workshops focused on Copper River salmon and their habitat. More than 80 people attended, representing 10 tribal governments, 4 federal and 3 state agencies, the University of Alaska, commercial fishing, aquaculture, conservation and private research.
The theme of the workshop, "elevating our knowledge to a common level," reflects the spirit of bringing together watershed stewards, resource managers, scientists, residents, and resource users to share knowledge and information. The workshop was designed to foster a broader understanding of the natural and human influenced processes affecting wild salmon stocks within the Copper River watershed. Panel topics for the workshop included Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), salmon management systems, protection of wild salmon populations and their habitats, assessment of escapement, and public support and involvement. The workshop served as an opportunity to introduce the Copper River Knowledge System, a GIS-based profile of available information on the watershed.
The synthesis report of the proceedings of the workshop is not intended to be a "slick publication" of results. Information, common language, and a focus on sharing knowledge were the focus of this first effort. At the conclusion of the workshop a new steering committee began to form, with a commitment to develop Copper River Salmon Workshop II, designed to address specific areas of interest and concern identified in this first effort. It was a pleasure to work with the steering committee, whose leadership made the workshop a success. The presenters, both from western science and TEK, provided valuable insight into the challenges facing the Copper River. The keynote address by David Montgomery helped provide a "world view" of the challenges facing wild salmon in the 21st century, and tribal elders Katie John, Nick Jackson, Johnny Goodlataw and Markle Pete provided a local perspective steeped in history and tradition.