Saturday, July 22, 2017

Climate Change

Air view of the Village of Taholah, WA

Climate change portends many challenges that could threaten the very existence of the Quinault Indian Nation because of its location on the coast of Washington and its dependence on natural resources.

The natural environment and its resources are deeply intertwined with the culture and economy of the Quinault. The traditional tribal worldview is that the people are a part of nature, not apart from nature. “Place-based” people have developed an intimate relationship with their specific natural environment throughout history. Their physical, mental, social and spiritual health is directly and uniquely related to the health of the ecosystems of the lands and waters they inhabit.

Impacts on indigenous people and Washington’s Olympic Peninsula specifically include:

Terrestrial Ecosystems and Wildfire: Warmer temperatures and declining snowpack/water will increase stress on forests resulting in increased risk of wildfire and new insect/disease outbreaks. Ecosystems will change as species shift ranges.

Coastal Ecosystems: Ocean acidification severely impacts shellfish as well as pteropods that make up a significant percentage of the salmon diet. QIN culture was built around salmon which have already declined to mere remnants of their historic remarkable abundances.

Food Security, Subsistence and First Foods: Traditional hunting and gathering areas will be impacted. Changes in species composition and habitats are likely. Impacts are likely on salmon and other fish, shellfish, big game animals, berries, roots, medicinal plants.

Community Relocation: Storm surge, coastal erosion and sea level inundation will force relocation of communities such as reservation villages of Taholah and Queets and will force changes in livelihoods and diets. Risk of losing traditional lands and burial grounds.

Water: Increased winter precipitation will not make up for summer flows drastically reduced by lack of glaciers and snowpack. Warmer water will impact salmon habitat. Flooding is expected and will result in loss of 50% of salmon habitat over the next 40-80 years. Safe drinking water and sanitation systems may be jeopardized.

Climate change is being incorporated into many QIN policies and programs related to the environment, infrastructure, culture and economy. The long-term goal is a healthy, resilient environment and a community of Elders, families and children with the capacity to adapt to climate change with flexible management options, economic opportunities and Quinault cultural continuity.

 

For more information please contact the following QDNR team members at 360.276.8215:

Climate Change Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. x7310

Habitat Management Specialist, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. x240

Water Quality Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. x7340

Wetland Specialist, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. x7341

TFW Fish Habitat Biologist, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. x7331

Ocean Planning Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. x1810

Planning Forester, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. x512

Environmental Scientist, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. x292

Marine Resources Scientist, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. x327

Wildlife Section Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. x7321

 

Helpful Climate Change Information Links:

What is Climate Change? (Wikipedia)

Climate Change and Global Warming (NASA)

Climate Change Articles (The Guardian)

Clarence Pickernell

“This is my land
From the time of the first Moon till the time of the last Sun
It was given to my People
Wha-neh Wha-neh, the great giver of life, made me out of the Earth of this land
He said, ‘You are the land, and the land is you’
I take well care of this land, for I am part of it....”

-Clarence Pickernell, Taholah, WA

Climate Change

Quinault Division of Natural Resources Climate Change