2015 Progress Report: 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 , McBride, Aundrea , Grossman, Sarah
Current Investigators: Donatuto, Jamie , Campbell, Larry , Grossman, Sarah , McBride, Aundrea , Grossman, Eric
Institution: Swinomish Indian Tribal Community , USGS Western Fisheries Research Center , Skagit System Cooperative
Current Institution: Swinomish Indian Tribal Community , Skagit System Cooperative , USGS Western Fisheries Research Center
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: June 1, 2014 through May 31, 2017 (Extended to May 31, 2019)
Project Period Covered by this Report: June 1, 2015 through May 31,2016
Project Amount: $756,620
RFA: Science for Sustainable and Healthy Tribes (2013) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Tribal Environmental Health Research , Human Health


The objectives are to characterize the coastal hazards of sea-level rise, storm surge, and wave energy along the shore of the Swinomish Reservation and the resulting vulnerability of habitats for first foods and culturally significant sites, and develop opportunities and planning tools to build adaptive capacity using a sustainable systems-based approach that can be disseminated using a multi-pronged education approach.

Progress Summary:

In Year 2, researchers made significant progress towards the accomplishment of project Objectives 1, 2, and 3 via the collection of new physical science data and the use of existing data to examine how sea level rise and associated wave/storm surge will potentially change the structure and function of nearshore and marine habitats, and how these climate impacts will affect Swinomish community health and well-being. In the winter of 2016, a 100-year storm event hit the Swinomish Reservation. The unfortunate event caused damage to the western shore of the Reservation, highlighting to the community that climate change is here today (the last 100-year storm event occurred in 2006), and that Swinomish is in a unique position to monitor the impacts and plan for the future. This significant storm gave researchers a unique opportunity to validate the outputs of the wave and storm surge model (Figure 1).

Researchers collated results from the wave model and habitat inventory tasks into a master table containing information on the following First Foods: clams, crab, and juvenile salmon, broken down by each of the six study sites. The table is a continuation of the climate change risk assessment table generated for the Swinomish Climate Change Initiative: Impact Assessment Technical Report (SITC 2009). At each of the study sites, researchers used new and existing datasets to rank the estimated risk for each of the listed first foods at each site. Researchers developed a presentation of the risk assessment results, and presented it at a series of meetings with the project’s Community Advisory Board. The Community Advisory Board helped project researchers clarify messages in the presentation for future use in community workshops as outlined in Objectives 3 and 4.

Future Activities:

As part of the planned activities in Year 3, researchers will create a Web-based app that displays 48-hour forecasts of wind and wave conditions generated from the model developed through this project. Researchers also will continue to develop the photographic sediment grain size characterization tools to more efficiently analyze the large volume of samples needed to characterize variability in these dynamic nearshore systems. Objective 3, Task 5: analyze and workshop results and Objective 4: create the assessment and strategy matrices, will begin in January 2017. For Objective 5, project methods and findings will continue to be disseminated via presentations, including a minimum of one peer reviewed publication. 

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 42 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

traditional foods, First Foods, community health, integrated assessment, marine science, social science, community-based, survey, decision making, Pacific Northwest, EPA Region 10, tribal;

Relevant Websites:

YouTube Video: Native Voices (Swinomish Indian Tribal Community) Exit
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Exit
Indigenous Health Indicators Tool | U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit
The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Prepares for Climate Change Impacts | U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 2014 Progress Report
  • 2016 Progress Report
  • 2017 Progress Report
  • Final Report