Presentation Title

Using Situated Knowledge and Remote Sensing to Assess Climate Change Vulnerability for Coastal Ecosystems of High Cultural Importance

Session Title

Climate Change and Culturally Important Foods, Resources, and Places in the Salish Ecosystem

Conference Track

Climate Change and Ocean Acidification

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2016 : Vancouver, B.C.)

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type of Presentation

Oral

Abstract

Joan Morris was born and raised at Tl’ches, an island group near present-day Victoria on southern Vancouver Island. Within the territory of the Songhees Coast Salish Nation, it is a Cultural Keystone Place permanently occupied by Lekwungen families for generations. The island is an ecosystem shaped by millennia of resource management and subsistence practices, including important resource sites such as camas (Camassia spp.) prairies, tidal marsh root beds, seabird nesting rocks, and clam beds. There are also many sites associated with the harvesting of crabs, sea urchins, marine algae (kelps and edible red laver seaweed) and fish (including rockfish and salmon). Within Joan’s life, tangible environmental changes have occurred at Tl’ches. In 1957, a drinking water shortage forced Joan and other residents to move to Vancouver Island. Invasive species have since taken root. Today, global climate change is threatening to further impact the island chain. To understand both the deep history of Lekwungen inhabitation, and their future use of Tl’ches, our approach is twofold. First, in collaboration with the Songhees Nation, we have been using drone photography to capture images of the coastline of Tl’ches as a first step to inventorying the archaeological and other surficial cultural features of this land- and seascape. The resulting imagery will also provide baseline visual data for the current coastline ecosystem, allowing comparisons to be made in the future about beach composition, size of kelp beds and eelgrass beds, and potential erosion of coastline and the infilling of lagoons. Second, we are using high precision Lidar and orthophotos to model near-future sea level, tidal heights, and extreme weather events associated with global climate change. To date, we have identified specific risks of erosion for key village sites as well as intertidal and near-shore habitats resulting from projected sea level change.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

Type

Text

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Using Situated Knowledge and Remote Sensing to Assess Climate Change Vulnerability for Coastal Ecosystems of High Cultural Importance

2016SSEC

Joan Morris was born and raised at Tl’ches, an island group near present-day Victoria on southern Vancouver Island. Within the territory of the Songhees Coast Salish Nation, it is a Cultural Keystone Place permanently occupied by Lekwungen families for generations. The island is an ecosystem shaped by millennia of resource management and subsistence practices, including important resource sites such as camas (Camassia spp.) prairies, tidal marsh root beds, seabird nesting rocks, and clam beds. There are also many sites associated with the harvesting of crabs, sea urchins, marine algae (kelps and edible red laver seaweed) and fish (including rockfish and salmon). Within Joan’s life, tangible environmental changes have occurred at Tl’ches. In 1957, a drinking water shortage forced Joan and other residents to move to Vancouver Island. Invasive species have since taken root. Today, global climate change is threatening to further impact the island chain. To understand both the deep history of Lekwungen inhabitation, and their future use of Tl’ches, our approach is twofold. First, in collaboration with the Songhees Nation, we have been using drone photography to capture images of the coastline of Tl’ches as a first step to inventorying the archaeological and other surficial cultural features of this land- and seascape. The resulting imagery will also provide baseline visual data for the current coastline ecosystem, allowing comparisons to be made in the future about beach composition, size of kelp beds and eelgrass beds, and potential erosion of coastline and the infilling of lagoons. Second, we are using high precision Lidar and orthophotos to model near-future sea level, tidal heights, and extreme weather events associated with global climate change. To date, we have identified specific risks of erosion for key village sites as well as intertidal and near-shore habitats resulting from projected sea level change.