Our History

The Gitksan Watershed Authorities (GWA) was founded in 1992 to complement the Gitksan aboriginal title research work initiated in the 1970’s and foster conservation, protection and management of fish and fish habitat within the 33,000km2 traditional territory. The Gitksan territory is made up of over sixty wilps or house groups and spans sections of both the Skeena and Nass Watersheds. The organization works within the traditional house system with a principal focus on fisheries-related technical support. GWA conducts a wide range of technical programs focused on fish harvest monitoring and fish population and habitat monitoring and related research. Some of our core funding comes through agreements with Fisheries and Oceans Canada Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy programming through which the Gitksan manage fishery agreements. Along with other First Nations along the Skeena, GWA participates in technical and management discussions with Federal and Provincial fish biologists and mangers to promote meaningful change to processes through both the Skeena Fisheries Commission and Skeena First Nation technical committees. Annually we apply for additional project or research-based funding to increase our capacity for collaborative initiatives and as a member of the Skeena Fisheries commission often partner with their staff for technical and process supports.

Staff Members

Charlie Muldon

Born and Raised in the Hazeltons, Charlie is of the Fireweed clan, house of Wii Gyet Charlie has worked with the GWA since 1992 and has over 28 years of experience and knowledge of Gitksan and modern fisheries operations. Charlie began fisheries in the 70’s commercial fishing for a few summers with his Grandfather and then worked at Oceanside Cannery. In 1984 Charlie participated in the Gitksan and Wet’suwet’en Fisheries Technician Training Program. Gitksan culture, traditions, values and laws are important to him and guide his actions within the GWA.

Rodney Harris
Gitksan Ranger

Born in Hazelton, Rodney is of the Lax Gibuu and Wilps XGwoimitx and brings to the GWA 27 years of fisheries experience and an education in Rangers Fishery Programs. As the lead in our Catch Monitoring Programs, Rodney’s role is to patrol and monitor the Section 35(1) Fishery, covering from downstream of Fiddler Creek, up river to Caribou by boat, including up to Hagwilget Bridge on the Bulkley River, and Babine River up to Gitsegaas Canyon. He also assists on the Adult escapement counts in the fall.

During the fishing season Rodney collects direct, interview, set new log data from all the Section 35 Fishery, which includes set net, drift, dip and seine methods, and enters all the data to formulate the estimated weekly catches for reporting. Having an interest in working on the river brought Rodney to his current position, and finds enjoyment in being out on the river with the jet boat, helping whoever needs help, and teaching our monitors how to run the boats on the river.

Alicia Fernando

Alicia is Métis on her mother’s side and was born and raised in Smithers, B.C. She has served as a Biologist for the GWA since 2007 and also as Technical Coordinator full time since 2019. In 2017 she received her MSc. in Environmental Practice from Royal Roads University, and before that she obtained a BSc. in Fisheries Biology from Vancouver Island University, as well as a two-year technical diploma in Fisheries and Aquaculture. The opportunity for Alicia to work in the communities and beautiful wilderness that she grew up exploring is one of the primary reasons Alicia was drawn to this profession. To be able to work on all aspects of fisheries projects through to completion and communications is appealing to her. Key to this has been rich learnings from community and colleagues.

Alicia has over fifteen years working full time in the field of aquatic biology. This experience has ranged from fish and invertebrate stock and habitat assessments, to fish culture and lab and field components for freshwater and marine research projects. Alicia has worked on other Indigenous led projects with communities in Brazil, Cook Islands and on Vancouver Island.

Within the GWA, Alicia works as a technical advisor, programs manager and field biologist. From 2007 to 2016 she led field work and later managed the Slamgeesh Salmon Program which included remote smolt and adult salmon fences. Alicia has been successful in project management of the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy Program as well as a variety of other successful initiatives proposed through: Pacific Salmon Commission Northern Fund, BC First Nations Environmental Contaminants Program, Fish Habitat Restoration Initiative, Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Program and Indigenous Habitat Participation Program as well as collaborations with regional universities, neighboring First Nations and government departments.

Tim Wilson
Senior Fisheries Technician

From Hazelton, Tim is of the Fireweed/Killerwhale clan, and has been with the GWA since 1998. Prior to filling his current position, Tim obtained Fisheries Technician certification from Malaspina College, helping him achieve nearly 19 years experience as a Fisheries tech to date. Within the GWA, he has worked with the Slamgeesh project, which started out with several years of remote camp work. Tim then moved on to doing hydro acoustic surveys throughout the Gitksan territories and simultaneously working on other salmon stock assessment projects. During these times, the Kispiox Fish Hatchery was also in operation, in which Tim had a hand in all aspects of its operations.

Now as a Senior Fisheries Technician, his role is to supervise and run field crews for various fisheries research projects, run the water quality and quantity program, and manage and maintain field equipment. Day to day, Tim focuses his attention to running the salmon stock and habitat assessment program and the water Q&Q program, this includes writing technical reports for each of the programs he is involved in and organizing for the field season. Recent years, working on Fish Habitat Restoration Initiatives were his daily priority. With a great love of the outdoors, participating in fieldwork and learning new skills out in the field has drawn Tim to his position.

Taylor Wale

Taylor is a member of Lax Gibuu wilps xGwoimtxw. She obtained a BSc. in Natural Resource Conservation, majoring in Science and Management and is now working to complete her MSc. in Salmon Ecology & Conservation at UBC while working for GWA. She started with the Technical Department in January 2017, helping to facilitate communications with the community regarding the Gitksan Food Fishery and planning processes. Taking on new roles since her last term with GWA has brought her to managing research and restoration projects as well as more field work, yet her central role still remains to be an acting liaison between the technical research body of the GWA and the Gitksan to bolster the involvement and agency of our hereditary leaders within our watershed

Gordon Wilson
GIS Technician

Since 2005 Gordon has worked with the GWA in the GIS and Mapping Department, bringing with him over 20 years of experience working with maps and GIS and an educational background in Advanced GIS studies from Okanagan College. As a local born in Hazelton to the Giskaast (Fireweed) clan, he started with the Ministry of Forests in Hazelton. From there, Gord joined the Gitksan Treaty Office when they first acquired their GIS and have worked with various Gitksan organizations since then.

Gord’s current role is to produce maps for the GWA and SFC staff, as well as updating and maintaining Gitksan territory maps. In a typical day Gord will work on Hydroacoustic Mapping, Fish Passage and Culvert Assessment Mapping, Fish Habitat Assessment Plan Mapping, LNG Impact Mapping, Proposed Mining Impact Mapping, and Updating Gitksan Territory Maps. Gordon enjoys working with the ever-evolving technology, as GIS software is constantly changing and there are always new opportunities to learn. The best part about his job is knowing that he is doing his best to document the geographical history and land claims of the Gitksan people.

Marj Turner
Executive Assistant

Born in Bella Bella, BC, Marj is of the Raven clan from the Heiltsuk Nation and has worked for the GWA since 2008. Prior to working for the GWA, Marj obtained her certificate in Applied Business Tech with Accounting at NWCC and was employed by Carnaby Sawmill for 13 years. Some of her jobs there were the Lumber Grader, Forklift Operator and Cutoff Saw Operator. After the sawmill closure in 2001, Marj worked and managed a home-based family business until it’s closure in 2014. As the Executive assistant, Marj is tasked with office reception, handling requests and quarries efficiently, arranging and coordinating meetings and events, taking minutes and making travel arrangements, and acting as the liaison between internal staff at all levels.

Patience Muldoe
Summer Student

From Kispiox, Patience is from the killer whale/fireweed clan and has a great passion for being on her Traditional Territory. Patience will be attending UNBC in September of 2021 to obtain a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife. After receiving her degree she plans to come back to her community and encourage youth to be out on the land and learn valuable life skills. While only working for GWA for a short while Patience hopes to come back during the summers while still working on her degree. Patience has a great respect for the land and enjoys being out with her co-workers learning how to monitor salmon habitat and much more! While working for GWA Patience has taken up every opportunity offered to her with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. With a great passion for the outdoors Patience’s biggest goal is to protect her Traditional Territory just like her grandfather Ken Muldoe once did.