Correlation and Climate Sensitivity of Human Health and Environmental Indicators in the Salish Sea

Tribal Profiles
Swinomish Indian Tribe. 2014. Correlation and Climate Sensitivity of Human Health and Environmental Indicators in the Salish Sea. USGS.
Year Published
USGS, NGO, Tribal Entity

In 2012, the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative awarded over $300,000 to seven projects aimed at increasing the use of TEK in climate change adaptation and natural and cultural management. The Swinomish Tribe and Tsleil Waututh First Nation, two peoples of the Salish Sea, collaborated together on one of these projects. By bringing together data on environmental, cultural and human health impacts, the project partners are refining their understanding about what areas within their communities may be most sensitive to climate impacts. In doing so, the Swinomish Tribe and Tsleil Waututh First Nation are gaining a more complete understanding of how climate change may affect their communities. This innovative approach builds upon previous work done by the Swinomish Tribe and has potential as a model for other tribal communities aiming to better understand climate impacts to their people and homelands.
Puget Sound Partnership, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment Canada scientists and land managers have identified a number of environmental indicators applicable throughout the Salish Sea to evaluate the status, or health, of the trans-boundary water body. Evaluating the current status of a set of environmental indicators is a first step toward ranking and prioritizing management and restoration actions in order to improve the health of the Salish Sea as an ecosystem. For this project, Swinomish and Tsleil-Waututh each selected a pair of environmental indicators, inventoried available data relating to those indicators, and created projections of the status of those indicators in relation to climate change. Criteria for indicator use included: 1) applicable to lands within reservation/reserve boundaries (site-specific rather than landscape scale (e.g. orcas or birds); 2) sufficient existing data supporting the indicator; and 3) indicators were culturally appropriate for the Swinomish and Tsleil-Waututh communities.