DOINews: NW CSC Announces FY 13 Tribal Project Portfolio

Last edited 4/26/2016

The portfolio of tribal projects supported by the Northwest Climate Science Center (NW CSC) in Fiscal Year 2013 continues to grow, bringing the total number of projects to five. One of these projects, selected for direct NW CSC funding, will analyze the effects of climate change on selected plant species of key cultural significance to the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe in the northern and eastern Olympic Peninsula, WA. The other four projects were selected for joint funding by the NW CSC, the Alaska CSC, and the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative. One of them will explore whether climate conditions may be linked to moth outbreaks that are detrimental to subsistence berry plants in the Chugach region of Alaska. This project complements three others already selected and advertised in a previous announcement (see This collection of climate-related projects underscores the NW CSC emphasis on providing enhanced services to the Native American community. It also documents the Center's determination to enter collaborative partnerships that help leverage limited resources and address shared priorities.


Project Title: Vulnerability of traditional women's foods to climate change on the Olympic Peninsula, WA: management projections and implications for tribal perspectives on Usual and Accustomed gathering areas

Project Lead: Oregon State University – Jesse Ford

Funded by: NW CSC

Summary: Elders and wisdom keepers from tribes of the Point No Point Treaty Council (northern and eastern Olympic Peninsula, WA) have expressed deep concerns about potential effects of climate change on selected plant species of key cultural significance (KCS). The concern is that climate change will diminish or eliminate key species from Usual and Accustomed gathering areas, which have static, legally defined borders. The potential loss of species of KCS is a pressing cultural issue. This project will document historical and current statuses of plants of KCS to the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe in the Point No Point (U&A) gathering areas and analyze the potential effects of climate change on these species. Researchers will work closely with tribal elders, wisdom keepers, and resource managers to document the historic distribution of species of KCS and assess the consequences of potential losses of these species on contemporary cultural practices. The project will also make use of the most current climate scenarios to project changes in the distribution of selected plants of KCS. Study results will be combined in an iterative process with tribal wisdom keepers and resource managers to produce specific management options for addressing changes in access to plants of KCS as a result of climate change.

Cooperators include the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, Oregon State University, and University of Arizona

Project Title: Berry risk mapping and modeling of native and exotic defoliators in Alaska

Project Lead: Chugachmiut Tribal Consortium - Nathan Lojewski

Funded by: NPLCC, AK CSC, NW CSC

Summary: Chugachmiut is a tribal consortium representing the seven tribes of the Chugach region of Alaska (Chenega Bay, Eyak, Nanwalek, Port Graham, Qutekcak, Tatitlek, and Valdez). The Native people of this region rely heavily on gathered food for sustenance and nourishment. In the traditional Native diet berries were the only sweet food and hence are culturally as well as nutritionally important. A recent outbreak of geometrid moths has decimated subsistence berry harvests in south-central Alaska. According to tribal elders and scientific records, this is the first time such an outbreak has been seen in the area. Changing climatic conditions may be linked to factors allowing the moth populations to grow to levels capable of destroying the berry resource. This project will develop a risk model to predict where subsistence berry plants will be most resistant to geometrid attack. Study results will be used to target forest management operations and other adaptation measures in areas most likely to be resistant to moth outbreaks and to promote sustainable berry production.

Cooperators include the USDA Forest Service and Colorado State University

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.