About the Region

Shared by Northwest BC and Southeast Alaska, the transboundary region is vast, alive and abundant. In all, the transboundary watersheds cover over 130,000 square kilometers/32 million acres, a geographic area equal in size to Switzerland and Portugal put together. The region extends from high alpine tundra, through boreal landscapes and coastal rainforests, and finally to the island marine environment of Southeast Alaska.

It is home to the Tlingit, Tahltan, Haida, Champagne-Aishihik and Carcross-Tagish First Nations, among others.

The land and rivers support healthy populations of wildlife including: grizzly and black bears, moose, caribou, mountain goats, sheep, wolves, and rare migratory birds. The major rivers of the region are abundant with wild Pacific salmon, which play a central role in both the natural ecosystems and the economies of Southeast Alaska and Northwest BC. With climate change warming water temperatures globally, cooler northern waterways will become increasingly important for the survival of salmon and other species.

The cultural and ecological riches of the watersheds are matched by their mineral and energy wealth. Unfortunately, the race to locate and exploit these highly prized commodities puts great pressure on the ecosystems and the local communities. Past mining and logging has already damaged some areas of these magnificent watersheds and the short-sighted and rapid development being proposed falls far short of what is needed to ensure environmental and economic sustainability.

We divide the watersheds of this transboundary region into a northern and a southern group. The northern group includes the Tatshenshini-Alsek, Chilkat, Chilkoot, Skagway, and Taiya watersheds. The southern group includes the Taku, Iskut-Stikine, Unuk, and Whiting. The focus of our campaign work is currently in the watersheds of the southern group, in particular in the Taku and Iskut-Stikine, as they are facing the most imminent threats.

Rivers Without Borders works to secure the future of this globally significant and largely intact landscape. We are the only organization engaged in all of the watersheds of the transboundary region and holding a regional vision on both sides of the border.