Yukon river water isotope data: interpretation of Canadian indigenous observation network results

This project examines a robust set of water isotope data collected within the Yukon River watershed. The data was collected by the Yukon River Intertribal Watershed Council (YRITWC)’s Indigenous Observation Network (ION) of community-based monitors over the past several years, at sampling nodes along the Yukon River. Here, the YRITWC has partnered with the Northern Climate ExChange (NCE) to work towards interpretation of the isotope data collected from Canadian stations.

Project Overview

The YRITWC has been charged by its signatory Tribes and First Nations with coordinating the collection, analysis and amalgamation of water quality and quantity data for the Yukon River, for the purposes of protection and preservation of the Yukon River watershed. The YRITWC’s signatories are particularly concerned about climate change impacts on fish habitat in the Yukon River, and thus the monitoring program the YRITWC coordinates through its Indigenous Observation Network aims to assess water quality within the framework of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s Water Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life.

This project, which focuses on interpretation of the water isotope component of YRITWC’s dataset, represents an important step forward in returning information to the communities in which it was collected, and to the monitors who were involved in its collection. It contributes towards the process of integrating YRITWC’s data in watershed planning, resource management, and adaptation-related decision-making.

Project Team

Project lead:

Bronwyn Hancock, Associate Vice-President, Research Development, Yukon Research Centre

Technical advisor:

Dr. Yi Yi, Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures

YRITWC advisor:

Jody Inkster, Environmental Manager


Yukon River Intertribal Watershed Council


Yukon Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Trust