Samish Indian Nation honored for work in San Juans

  • Thu Jun 14th, 2018 1:30am
  • Life

The Samish Indian Nation announced has been honored as one of the winners of the 2018 Esri Tribal Story Map Challenge for its map tracking the future impacts of climate change in the San Juan Archipelago.

This is the second year in a row that the tribe has received an honor from Esri. The map was created using geographic information systems technologies by Casey Palmer-McGee, GIS/Database Analyst and Fletcher Wilkinson, Climate Adaptation Specialist.

The map depicts the Samish Indian Nation’s Traditional Territory, provides an overview of anticipated climate change impacts on the territory and addresses how the tribe’s Department of Natural Resources is building resiliency to deal with these impacts.

“The San Juan Archipelago has been the home of the Samish people for hundreds of generations and preparing and protecting the region from the impacts of climate change is critical,” said Tom Wooten, chairman, Samish Indian Nation. “The Department of Natural Resources has done a great job examining the impacts of climate change from many different angles and is currently creating a multi-phase approach to ensure we are doing all we can to protect our environment for the next seven generations and further. The map created by Casey and Fletcher is a testament to our commitment and we are so honored to receive recognition from Esri for the second year.”

Through outreach and collaboration with other partners, Samish identified three buckets of concern for evaluation through a vulnerability assessment:

Natural Environment: 166 plant and animal species

Social Environment: Cultural resources, physical and mental health, traditional foods, etc.

Built Environment: Samish government property, public infrastructure such as water and roads

The tribe’s Department of Natural Resources is currently engaged in a multi-phase climate change adaptation planning process to identify areas of significant concern, prioritized planning areas and possible adaptation strategies. This assessment should be completed in the summer of 2018.