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Point No Point Treaty Member Tribes Develop Vulnerability Assessments to Natural Resources Using Streamflow and Temperature Climate Models on Critical Salmonid Watersheds & Estuaries

Authors: Cynthia Rossi*, Point No Point Treaty Council, Ryan Murphy, Point No Point Treaty Council
Topics: Indigenous Peoples, Climatology and Meteorology
Keywords: climate resilience, salmon, streamflow
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Port Gamble S’Klallam (PGST) and Jamestown S’Klallam (JKST) tribes in Northwest Washington State rely heavily on salmon and steelhead fish populations for subsistence and for local tribal economies. In recent years, concern has grown over the potential impacts climate change and variability might have on the tribes’ freshwater and estuarine resources. Multiple local rivers and their smaller tributaries contain critical salmon and steelhead spawning habitat that will potentially be negatively impacted by climate change. Of particular concern is the impact that climate change might have on both stream flows and water temperatures. We use the high resolution Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation Model (DHSVM) and coupled stream temperature River Basin Model (RBM) to examine the potential impacts of a warming climate on historically snow-melt driven watersheds in the Olympic Peninsula. Few efforts have been made to project the impacts that warming stream temperatures and variations in precipitation might have on not only larger streams, but also on their equally important smaller tributaries. Also of concern is the impact that climate change might have on the productive shellfish habitat of the estuaries at the mouths of many of these rivers. Therefore, there exists a need to continue on-going climate resilience projects for our tribes, which includes using streamflow models and developing estuary vulnerability assessments.

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