The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has received grant money to help restore wetlands on the reservation that are being affected by drought conditions.
Spokane Public Radio’s Steve Jackson reports.
In recent years, low precipitation has increased the dry conditions on the Coeur d’Alene reservation.
Tribal Fisheries Manager Angelo Vitale has worked for the tribe for 27 years.
“And I’ve seen these small streams go dry in the summertime, some of them for probably the first time in recorded history, and these are the same streams that support spawning for important species like redband and cut throat trout.”
Now the tribe is receiving a $500,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to improve conditions of wetlands that have been drying up.
Wetlands can mitigate the impacts of drought by absorbing and retaining excess water during wet periods and returning it to the water table when it’s dry.
Six projects aim to improve conditions in sections of Hangman, Lake, and Benewah Creeks.
Vitale says the work will focus on restoring some of the natural character of streams, disrupted for years by human interventions.
“And in a place like that, we’re plugging all of the drainage ditches, restoring the stream to its historical location in the valley bottom, and that’s going to help to re-wet this valley bottom sponge and recreate that stored reservoir of water.”
Work will also be done to preserve existing beaver dams or replicate them with wood and brush.
Besides ensuring fish will have more available water, the restored wetlands will provide habitat for migrating waterfowl, and help plants considered important to the tribal culture like water potato, camas, cottonwood and aspen, thrive.
Tribal leaders discussed the impacts of climate change at the National Congress of American Indians annual convention Thursday in Sacramento, CA.
As Rhonda LeValdo reports, tribal communities located in coastal areas say their communities are going underwater.
Tribal nations on the west coast are being affected by climate change in regard to coastal erosion.
The Shoalwater Bay Tribe in Washington has seen lands eroded by rising waters.
Charlene Nelson, tribal chairwoman says their decision to move the tribes is in the best interest of the people.
“I think they’ll like it. I think they will be able to have more say in what’s being built. I think it can become kind of exciting and it will be for them and anybody who comes after them because that’s what we need to think about. We want our tribe to survive. All tribes are survivors and we want our tribe to survive.”
Mike Williams Yupiit Nation of Akiak Native Community in Alaska explains how warmer temperatures affect his people.
“Fall time is when we see a lot and we just had a recent Merbok disaster impact and we prepared for it. I think we seen like 30 yards of erosion during that recent storm.”
Work is being done in the federal government to streamline applying for aid in these natural disasters for tribes, which can’t come fast enough.
Get National Native News delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up for our newsletter today.