Mackenzie DataStream: Open Access Platform
Officially launched in November 2016, Mackenzie DataStream is an open access platform for sharing, visualizing and downloading water data in the Mackenzie River Basin. Mackenzie DataStream, developed by The Gordon Foundation in close collaboration with their northern partner the Government of Northwest Territories, focuses on promoting knowledge sharing and collaborative decision-making throughout the Basin. This tool contains data collected by 22 communities, in the Northwest Territories and British Columbia, who monitor over 70 water quality parameters.
The Mackenzie River Basin is a drainage basin that covers one fifth of Canada’s land mass and spans over six jurisdictions – the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Countless rivers and tributaries, including the Peace River and the Athabasca River, gather into the Mackenzie River and drain north in the Beaufort Sea. The Basin is home to incredible ecological diversity and holds significant spiritual and economic significance to the people who have lived there for millennia.
Despite its importance at local and global levels, little research and monitoring have historically been done in the Basin relative to other world rivers of similar scale. As described in the 2012 Rosenberg
International Forum report on the Mackenzie Basin:
“The Mackenzie River system has been studied less than rivers in other regions in warmer climates. In addition, the Mackenzie River Basin is undergoing relatively rapid change. These two factors combine to create high levels of uncertainty that must be addressed in any effort to manage the basin in a holistic, integrated way.”
Efforts are underway to fill data gaps that address this uncertainty. Mackenzie DataStream ensures that high quality water data being collected by sophisticated community-based monitoring programs are available for decision-makers, scientists, and citizens. This helps communities have an active role in creating research agendas and driving the data-to-policy life cycle.
Mackenzie DataStream is continually growing as more and more communities show interest in bringing their data online. If you are involved in a monitoring program, or are interested in protecting the Mackenzie Basin and amplifying community-based monitoring impacts, please contact DataStream@gordonfn.org to learn more.