VANCOUVER - Scientists say there is a significant lack of scientific knowledge about the vast northern river basin often referred to as the Amazon of the North.
The Mackenzie River watershed is three times the size of France, stretching through B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
But Dr. Henry Vaux, from the Rosenberg Forum, a California-based think-tank, says what became clear during several days of discussions involving experts from around the world is that its the least studied and monitored watershed in the world.
It also became clear during the meetings in Vancouver that the Mackenzie River system plays a significant role in the world's climate, and that there are "worrisome" trends resulting from global warming.
The panel of experts in science, law and politics will now produce a report that they hope will guide politicians in Canada in managing the watershed.
The basin traverses six different government jurisdictions in Canada, and experts say the lack of an overall management plan poses the greatest risk.