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Alaska CSC News



AK CSC Joins Partners to Support Tribal Projects


06/11/2013


The Alaska Climate Science Center (AK CSC) working in partnership with the Northwest Climate Science Center and the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative, jointly selected three innovative tribal projects on climate change adaptation for subsistence and cultural resources. These projects are designed to help natural and cultural resource managers better understand and respond to climate change and related stressors across the coastal temperate rainforest region. The projects are closely aligned to the mission of the AK CSC Strategic Plan and the foundational documents of our partner organizations as they relate to collaborating with Tribes and First Nations to adapt to climate change effects on resources that support tribal, cultural and subsistence needs. This effort not only advances our collective understanding of climate change effects on resources important to the region’s indigenous peoples, but also underscores our abilities to efficiently and effectively pool our financial resources across programs and geographic boundaries.

PROJECT OVERVIEWS

Project Title: Identifying climate vulnerabilities and prioritizing adaptation strategies for eulachon populations in the Chilkoot and Chilkat Rivers and the application of local monitoring systems

Project Lead: Chilkoot Indian Association – Brad Ryan

Summary: Eulachon, a small anadromous smelt, are a highly nutritious fish that are culturally significant to the Chilkat and Chilkoot peoples of the Tlingit Nation in Southeast Alaska. Tribal members are increasingly concerned about how climate change and related environmental stressors might affect future viability of eulachon and what types of management actions may be appropriate to help the species adapt to climate-induced environmental change. This project will complete a tribally-based climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation plan for eulachon that spawn in the Chilkoot and Chilkat rivers near Haines, Alaska. Local monitoring will collect data on spawning populations in the Chilkoot River, and a tribal stakeholder group will be convened to analyze climate change projections, apply traditional knowledge, rank climate vulnerabilities, and prioritize adaptation strategies. Information gleaned from this project will be of high interest to tribal entities throughout the region.

Cooperators include Takshanuk Watershed Council and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.


Project Title: A coupled (ocean and freshwater) assessment of climate change impacts on Pacific lamprey and Pacific eulachon

Project Lead: Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission -- Dr. Rishi Sharma

Summary: This project will evaluate the impacts of future climate change scenarios on the survival and viability of Pacific lamprey and Pacific eulachon populations that are used as food sources by the Native American tribes of the Columbia River Basin and coastal areas of Washington and Oregon. This evaluation will couple projected changes to ocean conditions and to freshwater habitat and consider the effects of these changes on the life cycles of these fish populations. With matching funding, this project will expand the analysis to also include select anadromous salmonid populations of importance to the Columbia River tribes.

Partners include researchers from NOAA and the University of British Columbia.


Project Title: Klamath Basin traditional ecological knowledge and climate change science internship

Project Lead: Quartz Valley Indian Reservation – Kim Mattson

Summary: The Klamath Basin in Oregon and California is home to a rich diversity and abundance of natural and cultural resources, many of which are deemed sensitive to climate change impacts. Area Tribes have deep connections to this region, which is also subject to overlapping governmental jurisdictions. This project will foster a more collaborative tribal and government approach to climate change adaptation and planning in the Klamath Basin. A cornerstone to a successful future is engaging tribal youth in present day natural resource science and management. Through this project, the Quartz Valley Indian Reservation will partner with tribes, federal agencies and higher education institutions in the Klamath Basin to create a tribal youth intern program for the summer of 2014. This program will build on current efforts to integrate western science and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) for climate change planning and adaptation in the Klamath Basin. Funding will support six college-level tribal interns and program participation by tribal elders and cultural resource professionals during the summer of 2013 and 2014. These interns will work with tribal elders, cultural resource professionals, and agency scientists to develop a report and presentation that identifies specific opportunities for TEK/western science collaborations in the Klamath Basin.

Cooperators include Hoopa Valley Tribe, Karuk Tribe, Klamath Tribes of Oregon, Resighini Rancheria, Yurok Tribe, Klamath Basin Tribal Youth Program, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Aeronautics and Space Program, Humboldt State University, Southern Oregon University, and Oregon Institute of Technology.