Jamestown S’Klallam Gathering Steelhead DNA for Database

By: Northwest Indian Fisheries Commissions

 

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe wants to know which age class of steelhead is surviving best within the Dungeness River watershed.

While checking smolt traps and conducting spawning ground surveys this spring, the tribe took tail and scale samples from 500 juvenile steelhead in five creeks between Sequim and Port Angeles: Seibert, McDonald, Matriotti, Bell and Jimmycomelately.

“We’re already counting the adults and juveniles every spring and fall, so why not take DNA samples and develop an age database for steelhead?” said natural resources technician Chris Burns.

 

Steelhead scales are taken to be analyzed for DNA. More pictures of the study can be found by clicking the photo.

Steelhead scales are taken to be analyzed for DNA.

Analyzing the scales will tell biologists how long a steelhead has been in fresh water before out-migrating and how long it spent at sea. The DNA also will show whether the steelhead migrated back out to sea after spawning in fresh water.

Steelhead returns are harder to forecast because of their complex life history. Juvenile steelhead leave fresh water between the first and fourth years of life, but return from salt water in one to five years. Steelhead also are repeat spawners, returning to salt water before coming back to fresh water to spawn again during their lifespan, which can be as long as seven to nine years.

The genetics information would be shared with the state to help develop a larger database.

“By zoning in on steelhead ages, it will help the tribe with fisheries management, resulting in more accurate returns and harvest management decisions,” Burns said.

Puget Sound steelhead were listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 2007.  The primary causes of the decline of the steelhead population include degraded habitat, fish-blocking culverts and unfavorable ocean conditions.

Affectionate graffiti mars sacred Indian site

This July 25, 2014 photo shows graffiti expressing affection for someone named Miranda on the sacred Jamestown S'Klallam site of Tamanowas Rock. (AP Photo/Peninsula Daily News, Joe Smillie)

This July 25, 2014 photo shows graffiti expressing affection for someone named Miranda on the sacred Jamestown S’Klallam site of Tamanowas Rock. (AP Photo/Peninsula Daily News, Joe Smillie)

 

By Associated Press Published: Aug 3, 2014

 

CHIMACUM, Wash. (AP) – Graffiti expressing affection for someone named Miranda has marred one of the most sacred sites for an American Indian tribe in Washington state.

Jamestown S’Klallam officials learned last month of the pink and white painting of “I (heart) Miranda” on the towering Tamanowas Rock northwest of Seattle. The 43-million-year-old monolith has been used for millennia by Salish Native Americans for hunting, refuge and spiritual renewal rituals.

In the Klallam language, Tamanowas means “spirit power.”

“It’s an incredibly important site for us,” Anette Nesse, chief operating officer for the tribe in Blyn, told The Peninsula Daily News.

The Jamestown S’Klallam tribe bought the rock and 62 surrounding acres from the Jefferson Land Trust for $600,000 in December.

Standing more than 150 feet tall, Tamanowas Rock is made up of a pair of basalt masses that shoot up through a dense forest, offering sweeping vistas of Admiralty Inlet, Whidbey Island and the Cascades.

The graffiti is about 8 feet long from end to end in letters that are roughly 3 feet tall.

The area is a favorite spot for rock climbers. In the past, however, the worst impact they left behind was campfire remnants.

The “I (heart) Miranda” tag also was painted on the Uptown Theatre in Port Townsend last month.

“I don’t know who Miranda is,” Nesse said. “She must mean a lot to somebody, but painting it on the rock is definitely not the best way to express it.”

Nesse and Bill Laubner, manager of the tribe’s facilities, are determining the best way to remove the graffiti without damaging the rock.

Nesse doesn’t think the painting was done with malice. “I just think whoever painted that didn’t realize how important the rock is to us,” she said.

Tamanowas Rock, also known as Chimacum Rock, was listed on the Washington Heritage Register in 1976. The tribe also is seeking to have it added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The rock, believed to have formed from molten lava, was used as a lookout for mastodon hunters, according to tribal spokeswoman Betty Oppenheimer.

Caves formed from gas bubbles during the rock’s development were used for spiritual vision quests.

Most Peninsula tribal reservations will ban marijuana as it legalizes in state

By Arwyn Rice, Peninsula Daily News

If you live on or visit a reservation on the North Olympic Peninsula, don’t bring marijuana.

At least four of the six tribes in Clallam and Jefferson counties will not recognize Washington state’s 2012 legalization of recreational marijuana.

The use and possession of pot will remain illegal on tribal lands controlled by the Makah, Lower Elwha Klallam, Jamestown S’Klallam and Quileute tribes, their representatives told the Peninsula Daily News.

The Hoh tribe in West Jefferson County has yet to make a decision.

Representatives of the Quinault did not respond to Peninsula Daily News requests for information on their policy toward marijuana.

Voters statewide legalized pot by approving Initiative 502 a year ago by a 56 percent to 44 percent margin.

The state is finishing procedures and regulations on marijuana in non-tribal areas.

Pot remains illegal on federal lands, including Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest.

“Like the state of Washington and the United States, the Makah tribe is a separate sovereign,” a letter from Makah tribal authorities to tribal members said.

“We have a treaty that confirms our sovereignty and self-determination.

“A big part of that sovereignty is that state laws do not apply to the tribe and its territory.

“As a state law, I-502 could not and does not legalize marijuana within the Makah Reservation.”

Both Makah and federal law lists marijuana as a controlled substance. Possessing, using, buying and selling it is a federal crime, and a tribal crime, said Meredith Parker, general manager of the Neah Bay-based Makah tribe.

“So, on the reservation, the answer is easy: Every little bit of pot is illegal,” the notice to tribal members said.

“We will continue to follow federal law. It is part of the tribal policy as well,” said Sam Hough, Lower Elwha Klallam assistant general counsel.

“It is already a dry reservation,” Hough added.

Likewise, marijuana will not be welcome at 7 Cedars Casino, Cedars at Dungeness and other properties held by the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe.

“We believe we are on reservation/trust land held by the United States on our behalf, and since marijuana is illegal by federal law, it is illegal on our lands,” said Ron Allen, Jamestown S’Klallam tribal chairman.

The Quileute tribe, based in LaPush, also will observe federal marijuana laws, said Jackie Jacobs, Quileute spokeswoman.

The Hoh tribe is holding off a decision, said James Jaime, the tribe’s executive director.

“We don’t have a policy at this point in time,” Jaime said.

“We are waiting to see what the federal policy is in regard to the state law.”

The Washington State Liquor Control Board, charged with creating state’s marijuana regulations, added a rule that requiring notification of tribal governments if a vendor applies for a permit on tribal land.

The Yakima tribe, with the largest reservation in the state at 1.2 million acres, recently announced that marijuana sales and consumption would not be allowed on their lands.

Brian Smith, spokesman for the state Liquor Control Board said new state rules have no prohibitions against issuing permits on the Yakama reservation, but such permits would be impractical

“Why grant a license when the federal government is going to come in and take them down?” Smith asked.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tribal Nations Early Climate Adaptation Planners

Terri Hansen, Intercontinental Cry

Much has been made of the need to develop climate-change-adaptation plans, especially in light of increasingly alarming findings about how swiftly the environment that sustains life as we know it is deteriorating, and how the changes compound one another to quicken the pace overall. Studies, and numerous climate models, and the re-analysis of said studies and climate models, all point to humankind as the main driver of these changes. In all these dire pronouncements and warnings there is one bright spot: It may not be too late to turn the tide and pull Mother Earth back from the brink.

None of this is new to the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island. Besides already understanding much about environmental issues via millennia of historical perspective, Natives are at the forefront of these changes and have been forced to adapt. Combining their preexisting knowledge with their still-keen ability to read environmental signs, these tribes are way ahead of the curve, with climate-change plans either in the making or already in effect.

Swinomish Tribe: From Proclamation to Action

On the southeastern peninsula of Fidalgo Island in Washington State, the Swinomish were the first tribal nation to pass a Climate Change proclamation, which they did in 2007. Since then they have implemented a concrete action plan.

The catalyst came in 2006, when a strong storm surge pushed tides several feet above normal, flooding and damaging reservation property. Heightening awareness of climate change in general, it became the tribe’s impetus for determining appropriate responses. The tribe began a two-year project in 2008, issued an impact report in 2009 and an action plan in 2010, said project coordinator and senior planner Ed Knight. The plan identified a number of proposed “next step” implementation projects, several of them now under way: coastal protection measures, code changes, community health assessment and wildfire protection, among others.

The tribe won funding through the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Administration for Native Americans to support the $400,000 Swinomish Climate Change Initiative, of which the tribe funded 20 percent. When work began in 2008, most estimates for sea level rise by the end of the century were in the range of one to one-and-a-half feet, with temperature changes ranging from three to five degrees Fahrenheit, said Knight. But those estimates did not take into account major melting in the Arctic, Antarctica and Greenland, he said.

“Now, the latest reports reflect accelerated rates” of sea level rise and temperature increases, Knight said. Those are three to four feet or more, and six to nine degrees Fahrenheit, respectively, by 2100. “We are currently passing 400 ppm of CO2, on track for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change worst-case scenarios.”

Since the Swinomish started work on climate issues, many tribes across the country have become active on these issues as they also realize the potential impacts to their communities and resources. The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) has been funded over the last few years to conduct climate adaptation training, Knight said, “and probably more than 100 tribes have now received training on this.”

Jamestown S’Klallam: Rising Sea Levels and Ocean Acidification

Jamestown S’Klallam tribal citizens live in an ecosystem that has sustained them for thousands of years, on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. Over the past two centuries they have successfully navigated societal changes, all while maintaining a connection to the resource-rich ecosystem of the region. Though they have also adapted to past climate variations, the magnitude and rapid rate of current and projected climate change prompted them to step it up. That became apparent when tribal members noticed ocean acidification in the failure of oyster and shellfish larvae.

The Jamestown S'Klallam work on rising sea levels and ocean acidification. (Photo: ClimateAdaptation.org
The Jamestown S’Klallam work on rising sea levels and ocean acidification. (Photo: ClimateAdaptation.org)

 

“Everyone who was part of the advisory group all had their personal testimony as to the changes they’d seen,” said Hansi Hals, the tribe’s environmental planning program manager, describing a meeting of a sideline group. “Everybody had something to say.”

Tribal members brought their concerns to the attention of the Natural Resources committee and tribal council three years ago, Hals said. This past summer they released their climate vulnerability assessment and adaptation plan, which identified key tribal resources, outlined the expected impacts from climate change and created adaptation strategies for each resource. It included sea-level-rise maps are for three time frames, near (low), mid-century (medium) and end of century (high).

Mescalero Apache: Bolstering Tribal Resilience

Tribal lands of the Mescalero Apache in southwestern New Mexico flank the Sacramento Mountains and border Lincoln National Forest, where increased frequency and intensity of wildfires is due to drought-compromised woodlands. Mike Montoya, director of the Mescalero Apache Tribe’s Fisheries Department, executive director of the Southwest Tribal Fisheries Commission and project leader for the Sovereign Nations Service Corps, a Mescalero-based AmeriCorps program, has observed climate-driven changes to the landscape in his years in natural resource management.

Mescalero Apache Tribe's holding pond can contain 500,000 gallons of water and nourishes the community garden. (Photo courtesy Mescalero Apache Tribe)

Mescalero Apache Tribe’s holding pond can contain 500,000 gallons of water and nourishes the community garden. (Photo courtesy Mescalero Apache Tribe)

 

The tribe has undertaken innovative environmental initiatives to help bolster tribal resilience to climate change impacts, Montoya said. One example is a pond constructed for alternative water supply to the fish hatchery in the event of a catastrophic flood event. It holds 500,000 gallons of water from a river 3,600 feet away.

“It’s all gravity fed,” Montoya said. “Now, with the aid of solar powered water pumps, we are able to supply water to our community garden.”

Karuk Tribe: Integrating Traditional Knowledge into Climate Science

With lands within and around the Klamath River and Six Rivers National Forests in northern California, the Klamath Tribe is implementing parts of its Eco-Cultural Resources Management Draft Plan released in 2010. The plan synthesizes the best available science, locally relevant observations and Traditional Ecological Knowledge to help the Karuk create an integrated approach to addressing natural resource management and confront the potential impacts of climate change.

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes: Strategic Planning

Fire management planning on Salish and Kootenai tribal lands in Montana. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Fire management planning on Salish and Kootenai tribal lands in Montana. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

 

These tribes, who live in what is today known as Montana, issued a climate change proclamation in November 2012 and adopted a Climate Change Strategic Plan in 2013. The Tribal Science Council identified climate change and traditional ecological knowledge as the top two priorities for tribes across the nation in June 2011, according to Michael Durglo, the tribe’s division of environmental protection manager and climate change planning coordinator, as well as the National Tribal Science Council’s Region 8 representative.

So did the Inter-Tribal Timber Council, which his brother, Jim Durglo, is involved with. In fall 2012 the confederated tribes received financial support through groups affiliated with the Kresge foundation and from the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative to develop plans, Michael Durglo said. A year later, in September 2013, the tribes’ Climate Change Strategic Plan was completed and approved by the Tribal Council. Next the tribes will establish a Climate Change Oversight Committee.

“This committee will monitor progress, coordinate funding requests, continue research of [Traditional Ecological Knowledge], incorporate the strategic planning results into other guiding documents such as the Flathead Reservation Comprehensive Resource Management Plan and others, and update the plan on a regular basis based on updated science,” said Michael Durglo.

Nez Perce: Preservation Via Carbon Sequestration

More than a decade ago the Nez Perce Tribe, of the Columbia River Plateau in northern Idaho, recognized carbon sequestration on forested lands as a means of preserving natural resources and generating jobs and income, while reducing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. [With the over arching goal of restoration,] in the mid to late 1990s the Nez Perce Forestry & Fire Management Division developed a carbon offset strategy to market carbon sequestration credits. The purpose of the afforestation project, about 400 acres in size, was to establish marketable carbon offsets, develop an understanding of potential carbon markets and cover the costs of project implementation and administration.

nez_perce_tramway_before_after-nez_perce

Nez Perce project before and after. (Photo: NAU ITEP)

 

As carbon markets soften and actual project development slows, the tribe cites the increased awareness and education of other tribes of the carbon sales process and opportunities for more carbon sequestration projects in Indian country as its biggest accomplishment of the last two years.

Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians: Attacking Greenhouse Gas Emissions

This tribe in southern California has taken numerous steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the impacts of climate change on tribal peoples, land and resources. In 1998 the tribe formed the Santa Ynez Chumash Environmental Office.

“We are also looking into opening a public compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station, replacing our fleet with CNG vehicles, are installing EV charging stations, implementing an innovative home, and building upgrade training program through an EPA Climate Showcase Communities grant,” said Santa Ynez environmental director Joshua Simmons.

SYCEO’s projects are numerous and have had impressive results, including major reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. An example is the Chumash Casino’s implementation of a shuttle bus program that eliminated 800,000 car trips in 2009, replacing them with 66,000 bus trips. The casino is reducing its energy consumption, chemical waste and use of one-use materials. It also has an extensive rainwater and gray water collection and treatment system. Many of these initiatives have economic benefits and provide a model and economic incentive for tribal and non-tribal businesses to implement similar changes.

Newtok Village: Ultimate Adaptation Plan—Evacuation

This Native village on the western coast of Alaska is home to some of the U.S.’s first climate refugees. They leapfrogged over mere adaptation-mitigation as sea and river cut through and then eroded the permafrost beneath their village and a 1983 assessment found that the community would be endangered within 25 to 30 years. In 1994 Newtok began work on what then seemed the ultimate adaptation plan: relocation.

The Native Alaskan village of Newtok had to relocate as its shoreline was washed away because of melting permafrost. (Photo: Newtok Planning Group)

The Native Alaskan village of Newtok had to relocate as its shoreline was washed away because of melting permafrost. (Photo: Newtok Planning Group)

 

They selected Mertarvik nine miles to the south as the relocation site in 1996. Their efforts intensified when a study by the Army Corps of Engineers found that the highest point in the village would be below sea level by 2017. The Newtok community, government agencies and nongovernmental organizations formed the Newtok Planning Group in 2006, but as Newtok’s administrator Stanley Tom searched for funding he struck little pay dirt. Mostly, he hit walls. Now Tom is calling for evacuation, exposing it as the true ultimate in adaptation.

“It’s really happening right now,” He told the Guardian last May. “The village is sinking and flooding and eroding.”

Tom told the British newspaper that he was moving his own belongings to the new, still very sparse village site over the summer–and advised fellow villagers to start doing the same.

8 Tribes That Are Way Ahead of the Climate-Adaptation Curve

By Terri Hansen, ICTMN

Much has been made of the need to develop climate-change-adaptation plans, especially in light of increasingly alarming findings about how swiftly the environment that sustains life as we know it is deteriorating, and how the changes compound one another to quicken the pace overall. Studies, and numerous climate models, and the re-analysis of said studies and climate models, all point to humankind as the main driver of these changes. In all these dire pronouncements and warnings there is one bright spot: It may not be too late to turn the tide and pull Mother Earth back from the brink.

RELATED: No Doubt: Humans Responsible for Climate Change, U.N. Panel Finds

None of this is new to the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island. Besides already understanding much about environmental issues via millennia of historical perspective, Natives are at the forefront of these changes and have been forced to adapt. Combining their preexisting knowledge with their still-keen ability to read environmental signs, these tribes are way ahead of the curve, with climate-change plans either in the making or already in effect.

RELATED: Adapt to Climate Change, Now

1. Swinomish Tribe: From Proclamation to Action

On the southeastern peninsula of Fidalgo Island in Washington State, the Swinomish were the first tribal nation to pass a Climate Change proclamation, which they did in 2007. Since then they have implemented a concrete action plan.

The catalyst came in 2006, when a strong storm surge pushed tides several feet above normal, flooding and damaging reservation property. Heightening awareness of climate change in general, it became the tribe’s impetus for determining appropriate responses. The tribe began a two-year project in 2008, issued an impact report in 2009 and an action plan in 2010, said project coordinator and senior planner Ed Knight. The plan identified a number of proposed “next step” implementation projects, several of them now under way: coastal protection measures, code changes, community health assessment and wildfire protection, among others.

The tribe won funding through the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Administration for Native Americans to support the $400,000 Swinomish Climate Change Initiative, of which the tribe funded 20 percent. When work began in 2008, most estimates for sea level rise by the end of the century were in the range of one to one-and-a-half feet, with temperature changes ranging from three to five degrees Fahrenheit, said Knight. But those estimates did not take into account major melting in the Arctic, Antarctica and Greenland, he said.

“Now, the latest reports reflect accelerated rates” of sea level rise and temperature increases, Knight said. Those are three to four feet or more, and six to nine degrees Fahrenheit, respectively, by 2100. “We are currently passing 400 ppm of CO2, on track for [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] worst-case scenarios.”

RELATED: Global CO2 Concentrations Reaching High of 400 ppm for First Time in Human History

Since the Swinomish started work on climate issues, many tribes across the country have become active on these issues as they also realize the potential impacts to their communities and resources. The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) has been funded over the last few years to conduct climate adaptation training, Knight said, “and probably more than 100 tribes have now received training on this.”

2. Jamestown S’Klallam: Rising Sea Levels and Ocean Acidification

Jamestown S’Klallam tribal citizens live in an ecosystem that has sustained them for thousands of years, on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. Over the past two centuries they have successfully navigated societal changes, all while maintaining a connection to the resource-rich ecosystem of the region. Though they have also adapted to past climate variations, the magnitude and rapid rate of current and projected climate change prompted them to step it up. That became apparent when tribal members noticed ocean acidification in the failure of oyster and shellfish larvae.

The Jamestown S'Klallam are dealing with rising sea levels and ocean acidification. (Photo: ClimateAdaptation.org)
The Jamestown S’Klallam are dealing with rising sea levels and ocean acidification. (Photo: ClimateAdaptation.org)

“Everyone who was part of the advisory group all had their personal testimony as to the changes they’d seen,” said Hansi Hals, the tribe’s environmental planning program manager, describing a meeting of a sideline group. “Everybody had something to say.”

Tribal members brought their concerns to the attention of the Natural Resources committee and tribal council three years ago, Hals said. This past summer they released their climate vulnerability assessment and adaptation plan, which identified key tribal resources, outlined the expected impacts from climate change and created adaptation strategies for each resource. It included sea-level-rise maps are for three time frames, near (low), mid-century (medium) and end of century (high).

3. Mescalero Apache: Bolstering Tribal Resilience

Tribal lands of the Mescalero Apache in southwestern New Mexico flank the Sacramento Mountains and border Lincoln National Forest, where increased frequency and intensity of wildfires is due to drought-compromised woodlands. Mike Montoya, director of the Mescalero Apache Tribe’s Fisheries Department, executive director of the Southwest Tribal Fisheries Commission and project leader for the Sovereign Nations Service Corps, a Mescalero-based AmeriCorps program, has observed climate-driven changes to the landscape in his years in natural resource management.

Mescalero Apache Tribe’s holding pond can contain 500,000 gallons of water and nourishes the community garden. (Photo courtesy Mescalero Apache Tribe)
Mescalero Apache Tribe’s holding pond can contain 500,000 gallons of water and nourishes the community garden. (Photo courtesy Mescalero Apache Tribe)

The tribe has undertaken innovative environmental initiatives to help bolster tribal resilience to climate change impacts, Montoya said. One example is a pond constructed for alternative water supply to the fish hatchery in the event of a catastrophic flood event. It holds 500,000 gallons of water from a river 3,600 feet away.

“It’s all gravity fed,” Montoya said. “Now, with the aid of solar powered water pumps, we are able to supply water to our community garden.”

4. Karuk Tribe: Defending the Klamath River

With lands within and around the Klamath River and Six Rivers National Forests in northern California, the Klamath Tribe is implementing parts of its Eco-Cultural Resources Management Draft Plan released in 2010. The plan synthesizes the best available science, locally relevant observations and Traditional Ecological Knowledge to help the Karuk create an integrated approach to addressing natural resource management and confront the potential impacts of climate change.

5. Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes: Strategic Planning

Fire management planning on Salish and Kootenai tribal lands in Montana. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Fire management planning on Salish and Kootenai tribal lands in Montana. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

These tribes, who live in what is today known as Montana, issued a climate change proclamation in November 2012 and adopted a Climate Change Strategic Plan in 2013. The Tribal Science Council identified climate change and traditional ecological knowledge as the top two priorities for tribes across the nation in June 2011, according to Michael Durglo, the tribe’s division of environmental protection manager and climate change planning coordinator, as well as the National Tribal Science Council’s Region 8 representative.

So did the Inter-Tribal Timber Council, which his brother, Jim Durglo, is involved with. In fall 2012 the confederated tribes received financial support through groups affiliated with the Kresge foundation and from the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative to develop plans, Michael Durglo said. A year later, in September 2013, the tribes’ Climate Change Strategic Plan was completed and approved by the Tribal Council. Next the tribes will establish a Climate Change Oversight Committee.

“This committee will monitor progress, coordinate funding requests, continue research of [Traditional Ecological Knowledge], incorporate the strategic planning results into other guiding documents such as the Flathead Reservation Comprehensive Resource Management Plan and others, and update the plan on a regular basis based on updated science,” said Michael Durglo.

6. Nez Perce: Preservation Via Carbon Sequestration

More than a decade ago the Nez Perce Tribe, of the Columbia River Plateau in northern Idaho, recognized carbon sequestration on forested lands as a means of preserving natural resources and generating jobs and income, while reducing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. In the mid to late 1990s the Nez Perce Forestry & Fire Management Division developed a carbon offset strategy to market carbon sequestration credits. The purpose of the afforestation project, about 400 acres in size, was to establish marketable carbon offsets, develop an understanding of potential carbon markets and cover the costs of project implementation and administration.

Nez Perce project before and after. (Photo: NAU ITEP)
Nez Perce project before and after. (Photo: NAU ITEP)

As carbon markets soften and actual project development slows, the tribe cites the increased awareness and education of other tribes of the carbon sales process and opportunities for more carbon sequestration projects in Indian country as its biggest accomplishment of the last two years.

Photo: NAU ITEP
Photo: NAU ITEP

7. Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians: Attacking Greenhouse Gas Emissions

This tribe in southern California has taken numerous steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the impacts of climate change on tribal peoples, land and resources. In 1998 the tribe formed the Santa Ynez Chumash Environmental Office.

“We are also looking into opening a public compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station, replacing our fleet with CNG vehicles, are installing EV charging stations, implementing an innovative home, and building upgrade training program through an EPA Climate Showcase Communities grant,” said Santa Ynez environmental director Joshua Simmons.

SYCEO’s projects are numerous and have had impressive results, including major reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. An example is the Chumash Casino’s implementation of a shuttle bus program that eliminated 800,000 car trips in 2009, replacing them with 66,000 bus trips. The casino is reducing its energy consumption, chemical waste and use of one-use materials. It also has an extensive rainwater and gray water collection and treatment system. Many of these initiatives have economic benefits and provide a model and economic incentive for tribal and non-tribal businesses to implement similar changes.

8. Newtok Village: Ultimate Adaptation Plan—Evacuation

This Native village on the western coast of Alaska is home to some of the U.S.’s first climate refugees. They leapfrogged over mere adaptation-mitigation as sea and river cut through and then eroded the permafrost beneath their village and a 1983 assessment found that the community would be endangered within 25 to 30 years. In 1994 Newtok began work on what then seemed the ultimate adaptation plan: relocation.

The Native Alaskan village of Newtok had to relocate as its shoreline was washed away because of melting permafrost. (Photo: Newtok Planning Group)
The Native Alaskan village of Newtok had to relocate as its shoreline was washed away because of melting permafrost. (Photo: Newtok Planning Group)

They selected Mertarvik nine miles to the south as the relocation site in 1996. Their efforts intensified when a study by the Army Corps of Engineers found that the highest point in the village would be below sea level by 2017. The Newtok community, government agencies and nongovernmental organizations formed the Newtok Planning Group in 2006, but as Newtok’s administrator Stanley Tom searched for funding he struck little pay dirt. Mostly, he hit walls. Now Tom is calling for evacuation, exposing it as the true ultimate in adaptation.

“It’s really happening right now,” He told the Guardian last May. “The village is sinking and flooding and eroding.”

Tom told the British newspaper that he was moving his own belongings to the new, still very sparse village site over the summer–and advised fellow villagers to start doing the same.

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/10/15/8-tribes-are-way-ahead-climate-adaptation-curve-151763

Tribes monitor Puget Sound for toxins

Nisqually natural resources technician Jimsan Dunstan samples water at Johnson Point in Olympia.

Nisqually natural resources technician Jimsan Dunstan samples water at Johnson Point in Olympia.

– Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

The Jamestown S’Klallam, Nisqually and Stillaguamish tribes are participating in the SoundToxins monitoring program to provide early warning of harmful algal blooms (HAB) and outbreaks of bacteria that could sicken humans.

“We want to make sure shellfish are safe to consume, not just for tribal members, but for all seafood consumers,” said Sue Shotwell, shellfish farm manager for the Nisqually Tribe.

During the shellfish growing season from March to October, tribal natural resources staff sample seawater weekly at designated sites. Additional sites across Puget Sound are monitored for toxin-producing algae by various citizen beach watchers, shellfish farmers, educational institutions and state government agencies. The monitoring results are posted in an online database.

The SoundToxins program helps narrow down the places where shellfish should be sampled for toxins, which is more expensive and time-consuming than testing the water.

“Just because we find algae that produce toxins doesn’t necessarily mean there are toxins in the seafood, but it could mean there will be soon,” said Stillaguamish marine and shellfish biologist Franchesca Perez. “If high numbers of an HAB species are found, then a sample of the water is sent to SoundToxins for further analysis, and appropriate parties are contacted to protect consumers and growers. We also look for Heterosigma, a flagellated plankton that causes fish kills.”

The Stillaguamish Tribe is sampling Kayak Point in Port Susan. Nisqually is monitoring the water at Johnson Point in Olympia, and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is taking its samples from the dock at Sequim Bay State Park, a popular shellfish harvesting site.

“Sequim Bay has had a number of harmful algal blooms historically,” said Neil Harrington, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe environmental biologist. “When we see the phytoplankton cells increase in the water column, we know to start increasing shellfish sampling for toxins.”

All three types of plankton that cause HABs in Puget Sound have been measured at toxic levels in Sequim Bay.

“The SoundToxins program aims to provide sufficient warning of HAB and Vibrio events to enable early or selective harvesting of seafood, thereby minimizing risks to human health and reducing economic losses to Puget Sound fisheries,” said Sound Toxins program director Vera Trainer of NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center.

SoundToxins is managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest Science Center, Washington Sea Grant and the Washington Department of Health.