Samish Indian Nation Department of Natural Resources Honored With Map Storytelling Award

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Anacortes, WA – The Samish Indian Nation’s Department of Natural Resources has been honored with a map storytelling award for its map that depicts the impact of climate change on the San Juan Archipelago (the tribe’s traditional territory).

This is the second year in a row that the tribe has received this award (via the Esri Tribal Story Map challenge). Samish’s map was created using geographic information systems (GIS) technologies by Casey Palmer-McGee, GIS/Database Analyst and Fletcher Wilkinson, Climate Adaptation Specialist.

The map provides an overview of anticipated climate change impacts on the territory and discusses how the tribe’s Department of Natural Resources is planning to deal with these impacts. Click here to view the map and additional information about the tribe’s ongoing work with climate change. Tom Wooten, chairman of the Samish Indian Nation, had this to say of the award and the DNR’s ongoing work:

The San Juan Archipelago has been the home of the Samish people for hundreds of generations and preparing and protecting the region from the impacts of climate change is critical. The Department of Natural Resources has done a great job examining the impacts of climate change from many different angles and is currently creating a multi-phase approach to ensure we are doing all we can to protect our environment for the next seven generations and further. The map created by Casey and Fletcher is a testament to our commitment and we are so honored to receive recognition from Esri for the second year.

According to the news release from the Samish Indian Nation, Samish identified three buckets of concern for evaluation through a vulnerability assessment:

  • Natural Environment: 166 plant and animal species
  • Social Environment: Cultural resources, physical and mental health, traditional foods, etc.
  • Built Environment: Samish government property, public infrastructure such as water and roads

The tribe’s Department of Natural Resources is currently engaged in a multi-phase climate change adaptation planning process to identify areas of significant concern, prioritized planning areas, and possible adaptation strategies. This assessment should be completed in the summer of 2018.

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