QIN receive $150k from Department of Interior as part of climate related funding

The Department of the Interior announced it is investing $46 million in funding to Tribal communities to address the unique impacts of climate change in Indigenous communities.

The Quinault Indian Nation will receive $150,000 of that funding to allow them to hire a Coordinator/Emergency Management Administrative Coordinator to assist with their local issues.

This initial nationwide funding, made available from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and fiscal year 2022 appropriations, is available for projects and initiatives that address and strengthen climate resilience and adaptation; ocean and coastal management; community-driven relocation and protect-in-place activities; and internships and youth engagement.

The Interior Department will support planning, relocation expenses, infrastructure investments, and other forms of assistance to Tribal communities.

“Climate change and rising sea levels are threatening coastal communities across our region – including the homelands of several of our region’s tribes. The federal government has an obligation to fulfill its trust and treaty responsibilities and to make sure that people aren’t put at risk,” said Rep. Kilmer. “That’s why I have continued to push the government to step-up to deliver critical federal funding that can help ensure Tribal communities in our region get the support they need as they build climate resilience, move to higher ground, and keep their people out of harm’s way.”

 The new funding also includes over $2 million for the Makah Indian Tribe. This will help the Tribe expand and relocate the critical medical services of the Sophie Trettevick Indian Health Center out of the Tsunami Inundation Zone and better meet the needs of their growing population.

The new funding also includes over $2 million for the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe to help families on the Port Gamble reservation move away from high-risk, predominantly bluff-backed beaches where landslides have occurred. The funding will also help restore the shoreline vegetation.

In addition, the new federal funding aims to help Tribes in the region (including the Suquamish Indian Tribe, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, and the Quinault Indian Nation) implement climate adaption and resilience plans, hire staff to help facilitate such plans, and inform young people about the ways they and their community can mitigate and adapt to climate change.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a total of $466 million to the Bureau of Indian Affairs over five years, including $216 million for climate resilience programs.

Of that funding, $130 million is provided for community relocation, $86 million is provided for Tribal climate resilience and adaptation projects, and $43.2 million will be available to spend annually for five years. Today’s announcement is supported by $21.7 million from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding and $24.5 million from fiscal year 2022 annual appropriations.

Since 2011, Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Branch of Tribal Climate Resilience has awarded over $120 million to Tribes and intertribal organizations for climate adaptation, ocean and coastal management, and community-driven relocation efforts.

A summary of awards by Tribe, title, funded amount, and project description is provided on the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Tribal Climate Resilience website and can be found below for Washington’s sixth congressional district.

Tribe: Quinault Indian Nation

Amount Funded: $150,000.00

Project Description: The Quinault Indian Reservation is located on the Olympic Peninsula, with 23 miles of pristine coastline, on the Pacific Ocean. Sea level change from climate change stands to affect the Quinault quality of life, through changes in the landscape and waters that influence changes in cultural practices, and impact the economy of natural resource industries, infrastructure, and the subsistence way of life. The most pressing concern seems to be the threat of coastal flooding to Quinault Indian Nation’s main villages of Taholah and Queets. The Tribe will hire a Coordinator/Emergency Management Administrative Coordinator.

Tribe: Makah Indian Tribe of the Makah Indian Reservation

Amount Funded: $2,056,574.00

Title: Sophie Trettevick Indian Health Center (STIHC) Relocation Project

Project Description: Climate change induced impacts that include flooding, landslides, coastal inundation, and erosion, threaten the Sophie Trettevick Indian Health Center (STIHC) and community access to it during emergencies. The STIHC must maintain operational capacity to provide emergency medical services for this rural and remote community. The Tribe has made significant organizational and logistical planning efforts to prepare and respond to climate change and build resiliency. The Tribe plans to relocate the STIHC to a site at a higher elevation above the hazard zone.

Tribe: Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe

Amount Funded: $2,137,650.00

Title: Relocation of High-Risk Shoreline Residents Project

Description: This project will relocate three families to newly constructed homes on other Reservation lots away from the shoreline. The project will demolish the three houses located on the high-risk properties and will restore the shoreline vegetation. The Tribe will hire a Program Manager to conduct much of this work. The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe (PGST) resides on the Reservation Trust lands in Kitsap County. The western boundary of the Reservation is approximately 2.5 miles, bordered by Port Gamble Bay, an inlet of Hood Canal. This shoreline area consists of predominantly bluff-backed beaches where landslides have occurred. “Coastal bluff erosion is evident along most of the PGST shoreline. As bluffs erode, they contribute sediment to PGST beaches and are therefore considered important for ecological functions on the PGST shoreline. However, valuable infrastructure like homes…are near the bluffs and are at higher risk due to bluff erosion”.

Tribe: Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Reservation

Amount Funded: $250,000.00

Title: Simulating Outcomes of Actions into the Future Project

Description: Build climate adaptation for ecosystems and communities. The platform being developed will be used to assess the efficacy of strategies to protect stream and salmon health. The open knowledge network on the platform also facilitates sharing data and finding partners to collaborate with on other projects. Through those interactions, federal, county staff with Tribal communities, may learn the core traditional knowledge that is the key to addressing climate change and population growth pressures: the principals of respect, responsibility, and reciprocity in the relationship between humans and the rest of the environment.

Tribe: Makah Indian Tribe of the Makah Indian Reservation

Amount Funded: $300,000.00

Title: Relocation and Resilience Master Plan Project

Description: The Makah Tribe is located in Neah Bay, Washington on the remote northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula. The Makah Tribe’s critical infrastructure, including schools, government operations, healthcare, and homes, is increasingly threatened by climate change-driven sea level rise, erosion, storm surge, and seasonal flooding. Additionally, all the Tribe’s critical infrastructure sits within the Tsunami Inundation Zone and the Reservation is adjacent to the Cascadia Subduction Zone, capable of producing a magnitude 9.0 earthquake. Relocation planning that integrates the compounding risks of climate change and extreme events is a critical need identified by the Tribal Council and highlighted in our ongoing climate resilience work.

Tribe: Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe

Amount Funded: $1,109,796.00

Title: Climate Adaptation Strategies Implementation

Project Description: Dramatic changes to the Earth’s (sčtə́ŋxʷən) atmosphere are resulting in loss of treaty protected natural resources, loss of economic opportunities, threatening Tribal facilities, and threatening the health of Tribal Citizens and the community. Tribe has suffered through historic heat waves, repeated weeks with hazardous outdoor air quality, record rainfall, drought, economic uncertainty, and global pandemic. Tribes are disproportionately impacted by these challenges. To adapt to these challenges, adaptation strategies need to provide multiple benefits and be adaptable to changing circumstances.

Amount Funded: $149,923.00

Project Description: The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe (Tribe) is a Federally recognized Tribe that has limited staffing capacity and needs a Managed Retreat, Mitigation, Adaptation, Planning and Implementation Coordinator, the Tribe needs to relocate a residence and the next immediate need is the relocation of the Natural Resources Laboratory. The project goal is to increase the resilience of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and to address the climate change impacts on Tribal properties, resources, citizens, and Tribal treaty rights.

Tribe: Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe

Amount Funded: $150,000.00

Project Description: The Program Coordinator will be instrumental in the implementation of the Relocation of High-Risk Shoreline Residents program, which will relocate three resident families from shoreline properties where an imminent threat to life and property has been identified due to landslide risks. With sea level rise and other climate change effects the Reservation shoreline properties have become more susceptible to erosion and landslide events. A combination of factors including rising sea levels, undercutting of shoreline bluffs, more extreme weather events, increased runoff, as well as soil characteristics impact the severity and frequency of these events.

Tribe: Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe

Amount Funded: $15,150.00

Title: Climate Resilience Tribal Youth Environmental Stewardship Corps

Project Description: Climate change is a real and pressing issue that is already impacting the PGST community in complex ways that interact with other environmental pressures (ex. pollution, fisheries demand, and scarcity). Most of all, the accelerating nature of climatic change means that today’s Tribal youth are likely to see significant changes in the land they live with, in the means by which they uphold important cultural traditions, and in the exercise of their treaty rights during their lifetime. In the face of this reality, it is valuable for youth to be informed regarding the nature of changes they can anticipate and ways they and their community can mitigate and adapt to climate change.