Tribal Canoe Journey for Troubled Sea: Part 2

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Detailed Description

The USGS and the Coast Salish Tribal Nation have partnered during the annual Tribal Canoe Journey to study and help improve resources of the Salish Sea.

This final episode in the Corecast Tribal Journey gives an overview of the journey, including a look at preliminary results.

Details

Episode Number: 61

Date Taken:

Length: 06:41:00

Location Taken: WA, US

Transcript

Welcome, and thanks for tuning in to a special
Tribal

Journey edition of CoreCast. I'm Jennifer
LaVista.

This is the final day of the 2008 Coast Salish
Tribal

Journey and over 100 canoes are landing here
in Quw'utsun,

British Colombia. Five of which are carrying
water-quality

probes as part of the US Geological Survey
and Coast Salish

Nation Partnership. Let's check out what has
happened over

the past few days.

It was an amazing journey. Six days on the
water paddling

through different types of water bodies, beautiful
islands.

Got to witness the kids looking out of their
environment, it was great.

The Tribal Journey is an event that is held
every year and

it travels to different locations throughout
the Salish Sea.

We come together once a year to celebrate
and to work on

things that we think are important to the
environtment.

We live in an amazing eco-region and interestingly
enough it

has one aboriginal group that inhabits that
area and that is

the Coast Salish people. Their cultures rely
on the

resources of the Salish Sea. And those resources
are

diminishing and are threatened.

The Salmon Dancer is the canoe that we purchased
this year and it carries approximately 14

paddlers fully

loaded. We are salmon people. We have for
thousands of years been able to sustain ourselves

on salmon and we were

able to do that year-round. Unfortunately,
there has been a rapid decline in the salmon

over the last 30, 40, or 50 years.

The Coast Salish gathering in Tulalip we unanimously
voted

to team up with USGS and allow them to participate
in our

canoe journey this year.

So, before the journey we trained five technicians
to take

this water-quality probes on the canoes and
that entailed

teaching them how to calibrate and audit the
probes, set up

files, make sure that the equipment is functioning
properly

and was maintained along the way.

We are just hopeful that during the first
year we would

get the logistics ironed out, the equipment
working, test

the idea of having multiple probes on different
canoes or

cross such a large area in operation and collecting
data

and that seem to work pretty well.

During the journey I would take the technicians
to their

respective families and see them off in the
morning, and

welcome them back in the evening, download
the data,

process it a little bit and send it off to
Ray Julich

from the Tacoma office to send it on to the
website.

What is phenomenal about this is that the
readings that

we are getting out of this equipment is possible
because

it's being pulled behind canoes where there
is no engine

prop or gas or this or anything distributing
the equipment.

And we have this partnership that was created
that is

allowing us not only to have information that
we need but

the whole world needs to see. This will be
information that

people around the world will say, "Wow cool,
let's do that too!"

It's a little early to talk too much in detail
about the

results but we did look at some of the first
few days of

the journey up through the Southern Puget
Sound and Hood

Canal, and across the San Juan Islands. And
there is a few

interesting preliminary results. Hood Canal
was quite warm.

We measured water temperatures upwards of
71 degrees fairly

early in the morning, 8:30 in the morning
after several days

of gloomy cloudy weather like this.

That points to an interest to examine that
further. I did

also a lot of jellyfish in Hood Canal relative
to the other

areas that we paddled through. Often, but
not always, a lot

of jellyfish are indicative of poor water
quality conditions.

They're the last ones to thrive in those kind
of conditions.

Trying to engage some of the local folks in
terms of what

they've known about the environment to compare
what we're

finding in this trip. A group of us will get
together

possibly with members of different Coast Salish
groups

and look at the results, talk about them,
compare them

to what they understand the system to be.

These people have been here for literally
10,000 years.

If you talk to some of the elders they will
tell you,

"We know what this place is, but you never
ask us about it."

And so, i think this is an opportunity to
blend those two

traditions and to really put the spotlight
on the issues

in the Salish Sea and the value of the traditional

people who live here.

It's a great partnership that we have created
and I hope

we continue to do it year after year, after
year.

Funding has really come from several sources.
USGS has

provided not only technical assistance, but
funding for

the equipment. The Northwest Straits Commision
provided

funding for the technicians. The Potlatch
Foundation

provided a small amount of disretionary money.
And then

the Swinomish Tribe of course has provided
a lot of

resources, time and equipment et cetera to
the effort.

We know what has happened in the last 150
years and you

just look around you and you see that everything
has

been degraded and so our goal it to try to
make the

Salish Sea something that our children and
grandchildren

and seven generations down the way will be
proud of it and

something hopefully that we will leave them
in better

shape than what we have received then.

Log on usgs.gov/coastsalish for upcoming reports
and

analysis over the next few months.

CoreCast is a product of the U.S. Geological
Survey, Department of the Interior. Until

next time, I'm Jennifer LaVista.