Quinault Tribe Strive to Outpace Their Climate Future

Due to rising oceans and natural tectonic subduction, the Quinault Indian Nation of Washington have repeated flooded during high tide cycles and storm surges. The Quinault have plans to move the coastal village of Taholah, including a school, food market, and other key infrastructure, to higher ground.  Some work has begun, but the tribe lacks the estimated $150 million dollars needed to complete the work.

Compounding the tribe’s problems, sockeye salmon runs, once ubiquitous with life on the coast, have dwindled, and the Quinault Pride fish processing plant in Taholah is processing far fewer fish that they once did. The Anderson glacier in the Olympic mountains no longer feeds the Quinault river system and, without the chilling effects of glacial melt, the waters run warm, which is detrimental to salmon at all life stages.

Hoping to restore the fishery, the tribe has repaired culverts, improved channeling, and protected streambanks, but they can only do so much without robust federal support programs to assist Native Americans confronted by climate change.

One possible source of income may be a carbon tax on companies that do business on the reservation, including forestry and a harbor. If enacted, the Quinault Tribe would be the first tribe in the United States to price carbon. Read the full article here.

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