Secretary Salazar Presents Coast Salish-USGS Water Quality Project with Partners in Conservation Award

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today presented a Partners in Conservation Award to the Coast Salish-USGS Tribal Journey Water Quality Project for their work in the Salish Sea, Puget Sound and Georgia Basin.

It was one of 26 national awards to individuals and organizations presented at a ceremony at Interior headquarters in Washington, D.C. to honor “those who achieve natural resource goals in collaboration and partnership with others.”

The 26 Partners in Conservation Awards recognize conservation achievements resulting from the cooperation and participation of a total of 600 individuals and organizations including landowners; citizens' groups; private sector and nongovernmental organizations; and federal, state, local, and/or tribal governments.

“The Partners in Conservation Awards demonstrate that our greatest conservation legacies often emerge when stakeholders, agencies, and citizens from a wide range of backgrounds come together to address shared challenges,” the Secretary said. “The U.S. Geological Survey teamed up with the Coast Salish Nation to use a traditional annual canoe journey to help in efforts to study water quality and improve coastal marine resources. This is a most symbolic partnership because salmon are more than food to the Coast Salish. The salmon is integral to their cultural identity; in fact, their annual calendar of events, subsistence and cultural rituals revolve around the life history of the salmon.”

Each year, Coast Salish families paddle hundreds of miles by canoe to a common destination to celebrate their heritage. In 2008, with the aid of trained water quality technicians and USGS scientists, the families towed water quality probes along a number of their pathways and provided the data in real time to USGS. The study spanned international borders, cultures, science disciplines and interest groups. In its first year, the effort generated more than 42,000 water-quality data points along 570 miles of ancestral waterways.

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“These 26 awards recognize the dedicated efforts of 600 people from all walks of life, from across our nation– and from across our borders with Canada and Mexico,” Salazar noted. “They celebrate partnerships that conserve and restore our nation's treasured landscapes and watersheds, partnerships that engage Native American communities, and partnerships that engage youth.”

The following individuals from USGS and tribal representatives shared the Coastal Salish-

USGS Tribal Journey Water Quality award. They were nominated by Cynthia

Barton, Director of the USGS Washington Water Science Center in Tacoma, Washington.


Coast Salish Gathering Steering Committee

Ray Harris

Debra Lekanof
Homalco Nation

Darren Blaney
Skokomish Indian Tribe

Michael Pavel
Squaxin Island Tribe

Jeremiah George

Joe Seymour
Stolo Nation

Keith Point
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community

Sarah Akin

Brian Cladoosby

Eric Day

Tiffany Hoyopatubbi

Charles O'Hara

Tara Tisdale
U.S. Geological Survey

Don Becker

John Clemens

Eric Grossman

Ray Julich

Jennifer LaVista

Susan Marcus

Paul Schuster

Clinton Charlie, Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group

Jon Waterhouse, Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council

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