The concept for the need of an integrated knowledge system specific to Skeena salmon began at the Salmon Habitat Conference in September 2009. This conference was created in response to the release of the Pacific Salmon Forum's final report in February 2009. A report that took three years and $5 million dollars. WIthin it provided dozens of recommendations towards improving the management of salmon. By September 2009, the BC government had not responded to the report.
Researchers, land managers and the communities along the Skeena who recognize the value of wild salmon wanted to talk about the recommendations put forth by the Pacific Salmon Forum's report. This need spurred the Skeena Salmon Habitat Conference in 2009.
A common theme through the first set of presentations at the conference was the call for institutional reform. John Fraser, the Chair of the Forum, summed up this thread passionately by asking the question: "Who's in charge to look after wild Pacific salmon?" His answer: "There isn't anybody in charge." This idea strongly tied in with Pacific Salmon Forum director of research Jon O'Riordon, who recommended governing bodies need to start "thinking like a watershed."
So we listened . . .
The conversation was formally continued in 2012 at the Adding It All Up: Balancing Benefits and Effects of Resource Development in 2012. During this conference, the conversation shifted towards managing information to make sound land use decisions in regards to salmon ecosystem. Greg Knox, Executive Director for the SkeenaWild Conservation Trust summarized the issue well: "If you can have data and analysis easily accessible and together so it is connected in some meaningful way within the system, I think this is critical." At this point in time, there was no single organization within British Columbia with a mandate to ensure salmon information for the entire Skeena watershed is available and accessible.
Building on the conferences, discussions and efforts carried out between 2012 - 2014, the Skeena Knowledge Trust Governance Establishment Group (SKT GEG) was formed. The SKT GEG was tasked with building the governance and information management tools required to develop the Skeena Knowledge Trust.
In May 2016, the SKT GEG secured 3 years of funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to fully develop the Skeena Knowledge Trust. The Bulkley Valley Research Centre provided the necessary incubation environment during the critical stages of starting up the new non-profit organization. The final Skeena Knowledge Trust was signed on September 21, 2017 and has since received charity status.
The formation of the Skeena Knowledge Trust was announced at the Adding On: Knowledge Management and Cumulative Effects Forum.