Understanding the Cumulative Affects of Environmental and Psycho-Social Stressors that Threaten the Pohlik-lah and Ner-er-ner Lifeway: The Yurok Tribe’s Approach

EPA Grant Number: R833708
Title: Understanding the Cumulative Affects of Environmental and Psycho-Social Stressors that Threaten the Pohlik-lah and Ner-er-ner Lifeway: The Yurok Tribe’s Approach
Investigators: Sloan, Kathleen
Current Investigators: Sloan, Kathleen , Steinberg, Steven J , Steinberg, Sheila , Fluharty, Suzanne
Institution: Yurok Tribe Environmental Program
Current Institution: Yurok Tribe Environmental Program , Humboldt State University
EPA Project Officer: Klieforth, Barbara I
Project Period: July 1, 2008 through December 31, 2012 (Extended to December 31, 2013)
Project Amount: $974,389
RFA: Issues in Tribal Environmental Research and Health Promotion: Novel Approaches for Assessing and Managing Cumulative Risks and Impacts of Global Climate Change (2007) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice , Climate Change , Tribal Environmental Health Research , Human Health


  1. Identify the chemical stressors associated with coastal & river subsistence resources
  2. Identify the common mechanism groups (CMG) pathways & routes of exposure
  3. Evaluate potential links between a focal CMG and Yurok Tribal Members’ health
  4. Develop measures and policies to reduce contributions of chemical stressors from identifiable sources and decrease exposures that are not related to subsistence activities


The Tribe is requesting phased support of this proposal, with the first year of funding to support the scoping, planning and preliminary research phase. The second phase will comprise research to document chemical contaminants in coastal and river subsistence resources and assess the cumulative effects of environmental stressors on Yurok Tribal Members’ health. The final phase will involve epidemiological analyses of data garnered in phases one and two and policy development. Coastal and river resources are primary and secondary food sources for a majority of Tribal Members, particularly those residing near or within Yurok ancestral territory. We will combine ethnography and qualitative data on subsistence resources and practices from previous and current tribal studies with quantitative data on chemical exposures and epidemiological analyses of health data to determine how these factors interact to affect the health of various vulnerable sub-populations within the Tribe.

Expected Results:

  1. Chemical exposures resulting from subsistence use of the waters and resources of Klamath, its tributaries within the YIR and the coastal waters within Yurok ancestral territory.
  2. Data on patterns of health and disease within the Yurok Tribe and vulnerable sub-populations within the Tribe associated with complex chemical exposures.
  3. Tribally delineated risk levels for use in risk characterization
  4. Information that can be used by the Tribe for cooperative efforts to manage Klamath River and its watershed management efforts.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 17 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Microcystis, microcystin, pesticides, diabetes, cancer, endocrine suppressors, flame retardants, salmon, candlefish, Pacific lamprey, freshwater mussels, Mytillus, sturgeon, steelhead, metals, PCBs, PBDEs, DDT, organochloride, organophosphate,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2008 Progress Report
  • 2009 Progress Report
  • 2010 Progress Report
  • 2011 Progress Report
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • 2013 Progress Report
  • Final Report