Healing the waters: a holistic native American Indian approach

For the Pacific Northwest Indian tribes, integrating spirituality and science is a practical reality and a way to keep precious resources vibrant for future generations.

The tribes have been in this area for thousands of years and have relied on the nearby water for their mainstay of fish, clams, oysters, crabs, and mussels. They also found food in cattail tubers and the bulbs of water lilies. They were fishers par excellence and experts at building canoes. But now, water pollution and development threatens this precious source on which their way of life depends.

That's why the Suquamish Tribe (Chief Sealth aka Chief Seattle's Tribe) and the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe asked geologists to help them manage water quality through a long-term approach. These tribes have reservations on a large peninsula in the central portion of Puget Sound. Their vision is to implement programs to protect their water resources for at least seven generations.

David R. Fuller is a water resources manager and hydrogeologist for the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe. He will provide an overview of the water quality issues as well as the approaches, projects, and activities these two tribes have taken to address their water concerns at Earth Systems Processes on Thursday, June 28, in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Geological Society of America and the Geological Society of London will co-convene the June 24-28 meeting.

One example Fuller will present is the wetland monitoring program. The Suquamish Tribe established staff gauges and monitoring wells in this upland wetland. The project included weekly water level measurements, precipitation monitoring, and basic water quality monitoring for 18 months to establish changes in hydrology and quality. Wetland vegetation was mapped and impervious surface areas were determined with GIS and GPS to assist in the analysis of the changes in water quality and quantity in the wetland as a function of increased impervious surface

Contact: Ann Cairns
303-447-2020 x1156
Geological Society of America

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