The governance of fresh-water river basins is among the most pressing challenges of our time (Pahl-Wostl et al. 2012; Gupta and Pahl Wostl 2013). The task of governance is greatest in multi-jurisdictional environments such as those of the Mackenzie (1), Mekong (2) and Amazon (3) River Basins (Fig. 1). The Mackenzie River Basin is home to First Nations, Métis and Inuvialuit peoples who value the river as the basis of livelihood and well-being (MRBB 2003). The Mekong and Amazon River Basins also underlie the economies, culture and health of ethnic Lao peoples of Thailand, Cambodia and Laos and the Caboclos communities of Brazil (Silvano and Valbo-Jorgensen 2008; Baird and Flaherty 2005; Baran and Baird 2003; Valbo-Jorgenson and Poulsen 2000). The knowledge of these subsistence river users has long been overlooked – viewed as only “local in scope, relevance, and power, whereas the rules and knowledge of the state have much bigger scope and significance” (Lebel et al. 2005: 18). Although the local perspective is critical, the knowledge of these communities can also yield insights about social- ecological change at larger scales of study and governance. This has been done elsewhere in research on marine ecosystem health (Berkes 2001; Gadgil et al. 2003; Haggan et al. 2007; Ommer 2007) and that on climate change (Nuttall et al. 2005; Krupnik et al. 2010; Pulsifer et al. 2011). A coordinated approach to local and traditional knowledge (LTK) research in river systems has yet to develop to the same extent. This knowledge gap is problematic for co- management boards, Aboriginal governments and others in the Mackenzie River Basin, who are mandated to include LTK in resource management decisions and practices including monitoring (e.g., IJS 2014; GRRB, 2014; SRRB 2014, DCFN 2014, GNWT 2010; 2014, MRBB 2003). Previous research in this region has been fragmented and patchy owing to uneven access to research resources and limited how-to insights for linking LTK of many communities together across socio- political boundaries. A bottom-up and networked approach to LTK research involving multiple communities, regional organizations and governments can yield “big picture” insights about core issues of social-ecological change while at the same time increasing the capacity of communities to continue to generate LTK beyond the life of this Partnership grant.