The Yukon River Basin, which encompasses 330,000 square miles in northwestern Canada and central Alaska (Fig. 1), is one of the largest and most diverse ecosystems in North America. The Yukon River is also fundamental to the ecosystems of the eastern Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea, providing most of the freshwater runoff, sediments, and dissolved solutes. Despite its remoteness and perceived invulnerability, the Yukon River Basin is changing. For example, records of air temperature during 1961-1990 indicate a warming trend of about 0.75 deg C per decade at latitudes where the Yukon River is located. Increases in temperature will have wide-ranging effects on permafrost distribution, glacial runoff and the movement of carbon and nutrients within and from the basin. In addition, Alaska has many natural resources such as timber, minerals, gas, and oil that may be developed in future years. As a consequence of these changes, several issues of scientific and cultural concern have come to the forefront. At present, water quality data for the Yukon River Basin are very limited. This fact sheet describes a program to provide the data that are needed to address these issues.