Minggu, 07 Maret 2021

Wiyot Tribe secures $250K grant to plan for sea-level rise resiliency - Eureka Times-Standard

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The Wiyot Tribe recently received a $250,000 grant from the Ocean Protection Council to develop a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Humboldt Bay. The Wiyot Tribe is one of 15 grant recipients striving to improve resilience to sea-level rise along the coast.

In the first phase of the project, the Tribe will begin the process of identifying cultural and natural resources that are vulnerable to sea-level rise and climate change, according to natural resources specialist and grant writer Adam Canter.

“Humboldt Bay actually has the highest rate of sea-level rise on the West Coast because of our geology, specifically the Cascadia Subduction Zone and the Mendocino Triple Junction,” Canter told the Times-Standard. “We’re going to feel the impacts of sea-level rise in a handful of decades or less. We want to be ahead of the game as much as possible and do what we can to protect these resources for future generations.”

The first phase of the project will involve interviews and meetings with Tribal elders, youth, and community members to collect cultural and natural resources information and advice.

“We will gather traditional ecological knowledge that can help inform which resources we want to focus on. Do we want to focus on salmonids and fish or focus on the protection of sites that are at higher elevations and really expand our efforts towards land conservation and ensuring tribal access,” Canter said. “Lower elevations will become inundated and impacted by sea-level rise first, so we’ll be looking at the most vulnerable resources.”

In phase two, the Tribe will draft its Climate Change Adaptation Plan and do its best to mitigate impacts of sea-level rise, Canter said.

“We might have to accept that some sites are going to be inundated and there’s not a whole lot we can do,” Canter said. “Maybe it’s not the best thing to armor all of our shorelines and try to fight a losing battle. It could be better to focus on the more resilient, higher elevation sites that have more intact habitat qualities.”

The Wiyot Tribe will partner with other local tribes, Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, BLM, Friends of the Dunes, Humboldt State University, the county as well as private landowners.

“We’ve been talking with the county about sharing some of their GIS data with us,” Canter said.

Humboldt County Planning and Building Director John Ford praised the Tribe’s initiative in addressing the effects of sea-level rise.

“It is great news that the Wiyot Tribe has obtained funding to conduct this work,” Ford said on behalf of Humboldt County. “Sea level rise planning affects us all and this includes consideration of important cultural sites. The county looks forward to collaborating with the Wiyot Tribe as planning for Sea Level Rise progresses.”

Canter said the project should be completed in the next two years.

“Unfortunately with COVID, the tribal participation component has been a little bit more challenging,” he said. “Hopefully things will change soon and we will be able to have socially distance gatherings and field trips. We really want to get tribal citizens out to some of the more vulnerable sites to help spawn conversation and stories and start getting folks thinking about some of these places from that perspective.”

“The efforts from this project will enable the Wiyot Tribe to collaborate with land management and resource agencies with landholdings within its Ancestral lands in the development of sea-level rise and climate change adaptation strategies,” Lisa Lien-Mager, Deputy Secretary for Communications California Natural Resources Agency, told the Times-Standard. Development of the TEK protocol will provide guidance on how to appropriately and respectfully proceed with knowledge exchange to ensure that coastal and Tribal cultural resources are protected.”

“The Tribe’s input in Humboldt Bay’s future is crucial to its resiliency,” Lien-Mager added.

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March 07, 2021 at 08:40AM
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Wiyot Tribe secures $250K grant to plan for sea-level rise resiliency - Eureka Times-Standard

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