The Point No Point Treaty Council (PNPTC) Climate Program is part of the PNPTC Habitat Protection Program and focuses on monitoring, understanding and preparing for the effects of changing climate in northwest Washington, an area where our Tribes have lived for thousands of years. Our staff studies and assesses the well-being of terrestrial, nearshore, and freshwater habitats to ensure Tribal hunting, fishing, economic, and cultural practices can remain strong even in a changing environment.
The PNPTC Climate Program is focused on research, data management and analysis, and on using high resolution models to help resource managers anticipate the impacts of climate change and take actions to mitigate them. Our staff works with non-profit, academic, federal, state, and local governments to protect, preserve and restore natural resources to further protect Treaty rights at risk. The goal is to provide validated scientific information to monitor and predict environmental system changes that affect our communities and our natural resources.
In conjunction with the work already being done by our member tribes, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, the Point No Point Treaty Council is assessing natural resource vulnerabilities in three main areas:
- Stream flow and stream temperature variability
- Estuary structure and function
- Sea level rise impacts on estuary habitat
- Sediment movement in rivers and estuaries
With some federal assistance and strong support by our tribal governments, our tribes have made it a priority to build the capacity to address future climate adaptation needs. Three areas of significant need for further study are 1) the development of validated climate models for important streams in the Treaty area, 2) focused research on climate change impacts on local estuaries, and 3) the application of predictive models to guide resource management responses to sea-level rise impacts on terrestrial and estuarine environments. To that end, we are using detailed numerical modeling techniques to provide streamflow projections for several watersheds in this region through the end of the twenty-first century under a range of climate change scenarios to identify highly vulnerable fish habitat areas. We are also working on a current habitat mapping and water quality monitoring project of three primary estuaries and plan to apply sea level rise modeling scenarios to these estuary areas.