Workshop Information


Copper River Salmon Workshop II: Building a Copper River Knowledge System through Partnerships builds on the results of the April 2005 Copper River Workshop I. This continuing session will focus on filling information gaps, building partnerships within the watershed and organizing teams to develop grant proposals to implement watershed programs.

The April 2005 Copper River workshop was attended by 90 participants. Native organizations, natural resource management agencies, educational institutions, non-profit groups, watershed residents and interested individuals were among the participants. There were 28 technical presentations, following the workshop theme of "Elevating our knowledge to a common level." A synopsis of this workshop can be downloaded at:

Focus topics and watershed issues that were identified during the workshop's daily synthesis sessions and during the facilitated discussion on the concluding day, will be brought forward in Workshop II.

Workshop II will have three components:

  1. Technical Presentations. These sessions will build on the knowledge base from workshop I, filling information gaps identified in the post meeting synthesis. Presentations will be made both from the science perspective as well as the perspective of Traditional Ecological Knowledge.
  1. Watershed Programs. Presentations will be made by other watershed programs to provide working examples for the Copper River.
  1. Capacity Building. Guided by the experience of Ecotrust's top grant writers, teams will brainstorm ideas and develop concepts for funding initiatives for the Copper River watershed.


Workshop II will be designed to open additional dialogue on issues and questions identified in Workshop 1. The last half-day will provide interested attendees an opportunity to work with development professionals and grant-writers to identify options for funding collaborative efforts and partnerships. Cooperation, partnerships and collaborations are the goal of the workshop efforts. The Copper River watershed is huge. Each agency is responsible for administering programs that contribute to sustainable salmon populations, but there are artificial boundaries of jurisdiction and land ownership. The effort to approach the watershed as an undivided natural landscape offers the best opportunities for sustainability.

Whether called a workshop series, watershed council, partnership, alliance or collaborative, working together provides the greatest opportunity for success in sustaining wild salmon populations. Efforts are already under way that represent cooperation and collaboration within the watershed: The Copper River Watershed Project, the Copper River Basin Land Managers group, the Ahtna Subsistence Committee, and the effort to create a unified Knowledge System for the area.

Cooperation and collaboration within watersheds provides opportunities to access funding that is only available for integrated partnership projects. The EPA Watershed Initiative Programs, the National Science Foundation, the Kenny Watershed Protection Foundation, the Kendell Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Trust, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Heinz Endowments, the Flintridge Foundation, the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development, and others all focus on collaborative partnerships and large landscapes.

Using the list generated by participants in the first workshop, Workshop II will begin to identify potential opportunity for two, three and even four or more interests to partner on research, economic analysis, traditional ecological knowledge, education and planning for the watershed's sustainable resources. The success of workshop II will be measured by:

At the conclusion of Copper River Salmon Workshop II, Ecotrust, under the guidance of the steering committee, will organize, edit and publish a formal Workshop Series Proceedings. The publication will include abstracts, quotes and illustrations from both workshops. The publication can help serve as a blueprint for efforts to raise funds for priority project implementation.


The theme of Copper River Salmon Workshop I was "Elevating our knowledge to a common level." More than 80 people attended, representing ten tribal governments, four federal and three state agencies, the University of Alaska, commercial fishing, aquaculture, conservation and private research.

Panel topics included Traditional Ecological Knowledge, salmon management systems, protection of wild salmon populations and their habitats, assessment of escapement, and public involvement in salmon issues. The first draft of a Copper River Knowledge System, a GIS-based profile of available information on the watershed, was presented.

On the final day of the conference, participants identified areas of interest and issues of concern that could be further addressed at a second workshop.

In the area of science, genetics, data and information, additional efforts listed were related to historical abundance and present productivity, limnology, genetic diversity, delta stock contributions to harvests, and catch and release mortality.

Accountability for harvest was identified as very important to sustainability. Upriver enumeration stations for prompt reporting of data for all upriver fisheries was identified as important, along with the need to better understand stock composition of commercial fisheries. Enforcement of current regulations was of concern.

To better understand and address habitat issues, participants identified a need to develop additional information on hydrology and geomorphology, climate change, water rights and in-stream flow reservations. The need to better understand the effects of both natural and man-made habitat changes on stock abundance was a priority, as was the expansion of anadromous waters listings using traditional knowledge for identification of areas of historic production. Understanding the economics of salmon and other resource development was identified as important.

It was noted that the use of traditional ecological knowledge along with western science offered new opportunities in fisheries and habitat management and monitoring. Tribal communities could provide much-needed "on the ground" resources through formal contractual relationships with federal and state agencies.

Participants supported the concept of further development of the Copper River Knowledge System, and saw this as an opportunity for a collaborative effort that could help facilitate better interagency dialogue, serve as a clearinghouse for information, and help keep lines of communication open between agencies and the public.

Discussions of these and other areas of interest or concern during a second workshop could lead to post-workshop commitments for partnerships. The partnerships could pursue funding for projects, research and/or programs that would address issues and areas identified as important by the participants. Partnerships could be between any of the watershed agencies, tribes, nongovernmental organizations, the University of Alaska, and private research firms. Opportunities might include watershed habitat assessment and monitoring, economics, informal science education opportunities for tribal communities and youth, water quality assessments, pollution assessments, monitoring and mitigation, wild and hatchery fish interactions, maintaining a Knowledge System and work related to traditional ecological knowledge.

Partnerships offer the people of the Copper River Watershed, with its small population, limited resources, and huge landscape, the greatest opportunities to maintain the productive ecology of this region.


All workshop sessions will be held at the Hotel Captain Cook in downtown Anchorage. Guest rooms will be available at a special rate for meeting participants. Make your reservation by calling the hotel at (800) 843-1950 or (907) 276-6000. 


The registration fee is $65.00 per person. Please register online by March 22; after that date, registration will be available only at the workshop. The fee covers a light breakfast, lunch, and break refreshments daily, as well as workshop materials. You are urged to register and pay your fees in advance so that adequate materials are available.

A dinner with speaker on Tuesday evening is available for an additional $35.00. Please sign up and pay in advance (check the appropriate box on your registration form). 

If you register by mail, please make checks payable to Alaska Sea Grant College Program. Visa and MasterCard are also accepted. The deadline for mail-in registration is March 16.

Online registration is available with our secure registration form. Or fill out and return the printable registration form to the coordinator at the address below.

Guidelines for Presenters

If you are a presenter, please see our guidelines for information about presentations and tips for presentation graphics.

Steering committee


Workshop contact information

Sherri Pristash, Coordinator
Alaska Sea Grant College Program
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 755040
Fairbanks, AK 99775-5040
Phone: 907-474-6701 • Fax: 907-474-6285