Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

Coastal Climate Impacts to First Foods, Cultural Sites, and Tribal Community Health and Well-being

EPA Grant Number: R835595
Title: Coastal Climate Impacts to First Foods, Cultural Sites, and Tribal Community Health and Well-being
Investigators: Donatuto, Jamie , Grossman, Sarah , McBride, Aundrea
Current Investigators: Donatuto, Jamie , Campbell, Larry , Grossman, Eric , Grossman, Sarah , McBride, Aundrea
Institution: Swinomish Indian Tribal Community , Skagit System Cooperative , USGS Western Fisheries Research Center
EPA Project Officer: McOliver, Cynthia
Project Period: June 1, 2014 through May 31, 2017
Project Amount: $756,620
RFA: Science for Sustainable and Healthy Tribes (2013) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Tribal Environmental Health Research , Health


  1. The combination of sea level rise, wave impacts, and shoreline development will change coastal ecosystems that support Swinomish first foods and place-based relationships, which in turn impacts community health and well-being;
  2. Community sustainability will benefit from a spatial and temporal ecological assessment of vulnerability that is integrated with Indigenous Health Indicators to strengthen adaptive capacity and inform strategic coastal planning.


  1. Develop an integrated model characterizing the variability in projected coastal hazards of inundation and erosion due to the combined influence of sea-level rise, storm surge, and wave energy through Year 2100 alongshore of the Swinomish Reservation.
  2. Map the vulnerability of Swinomish coastal ecosystem habitats of first foods and culturally significant sites in relation to cumulative impacts of sea level rise, storm surge and shoreline development.
  3. Using results from Objectives 1 and 2, assess impacts to Swinomish community health and well-being, and opportunities to build adaptive capacity using a sustainable systems-based approach.
  4. Create assessment and strategy matrices based on outputs of Objectives 1-3 as adaptation/ mitigation planning tools in Swinomish Climate Change Initiative.
  5. Employ a multi-pronged education and dissemination approach to ensure that tools (models), results and associated meanings for Tribes are widely disseminated locally, regionally in Coast Salish communities, and beyond.


  1. Characterize and inventory present day nearshore and beach habitats and process drivers along the western shore of the Swinomish Reservation.
  2. Develop a predictive Coastal Vulnerability Model that will quantify the expected change and relative impacts to habitats, morphology, and substrate of beaches, pocket estuaries, spits, feeder bluffs, and sediment transport.
  3. Integrate habitat characterizations and coastal vulnerability outputs to create models, maps, and data layers of projected relative impacts to shorelines, habitats, and cultural sites.
  4. Run community workshops to evaluate current community health and well-being, to assess and prioritize projected impacts based on results from Objectives 1 & 2, and discuss ways to best bolster adaptive capacity.
  5. Analyze and compare results across workshops.
  6. Translate results from aforementioned activities into established assessment and strategy matrices as part of Swinomish Climate Initiative related to habitat for juvenile salmonids, shellfish, forage fish, crab, culturally important resources and sites and human health and well-being.
  7. Create and disseminate educational and outreach tools for local, regional and national use.
  8. Create nearshore and community health assessment and strategy templates and workshop/ webinar materials.

Expected Results:

  1. 1) A set of maps and models that highlight potential impacts in regard to Swinomish first foods and cultural sites.
  2. An evaluation of community health impacts, concerns and priorities in relation to these impacts.
  3. More detailed assessment and strategies matrices, specifically filling in information gaps on vulnerable first foods and community health and well-being indicators, for use in planning.
  4. Development of tools to be shared with other coastal tribal communities for climate change planning.
  5. An education/ dissemination plan that will engage a multiple sectors of the Swinomish Community and beyond.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 5 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

risk, health effects, integrated assessment, marine, social science, community-based, decision making, Pacific Northwest, EPA Region 10, Native American, American Indian, mixed methods

Progress and Final Reports:

2014 Progress Report