Reimagining the history of Bellingham Bay and North Puget Sound and how it is taught, presented by Anna Booker, WCC history instructor, and the "Bellingham Working Waterfront Project" and David Jepsen, co-author of Contested Boundaries: A New Pacific Northwest History.
Like other coastal zones around the world, the inland sea ecosystem of Washington (USA) and British Columbia (Canada), an area known as the Salish Sea, is changing under pressure from a growing human population, conversion of native forest and shoreline habitat to urban development, toxic contamination of sediments and species, and overharvest of resources. While billions of dollars have been spent trying to restore other coastal ecosystems around the world, there still is no successful model for restoring estuarine or marine ecosystems like the Salish Sea. Despite the lack of a guiding model, major ecological principles do exist that should be applied as people work to design the Salish Sea and other large marine ecosystems for the future. We suggest that the following 10 ecological principles serve as a foundation for educating the public and for designing a healthy Salish Sea and other coastal ecosystems for future generations.
National Public Radio presents a podcast episode about Indigenous youth activists at the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. Indigenous activists from around the world talk about the impacts of colonialism on the lack of access to the conference.
This paper introduces official responsibility for the protection and management of the Salish Sea marine environment. Focusing on governments and their legally constituted bodies, the complex management structures on the American and Canadian sides of the Salish Sea are identified. Both countries operate in cooperative federalist systems, but there exist differences in management structures arising notably from constitutional differences, Tribal and First Nation relations, and jurisdictional authority. Both state and provincial governments have the authority to create and enforce environmental regulations but are constrained by federal legislation. Collaborative and stakeholder-engaged environmental planning and stewardship have been recognized on both sides of the border. Past and present efforts support bottom-up organizational structures that give community members and scientists a greater voice in decision-making, in partnership with government. More evidence exists of community- and state-level autonomy in Washington compared to British Columbia. Political and administrative boundaries have been recognized by some as counter to needs of environmental management, with an alternative and preferred approach being the use of ecological planning units such as watersheds or estuaries. The international boundary dividing the Salish Sea remains an administrative and organizational impediment despite evidence of trans-boundary collaborative efforts.
Increasingly, ethnoecologists, anthropologists, and conservation biologists are recognizing that Indigenous People of the Northwest Coast and neighboring regions have been astute stewards and managers—not just harvesters and consumers—of the resources and ecosystems on which they have relied. Over thousands of years, these people have developed diverse practices and protocols that have not only sustained, but enhanced the resource species both in quantity and in quality. These practices are based on long-term observation and experience, and are embedded in belief systems, ceremonies, dances, art, and narratives. Here we provide an overview of marine and coastal resource management systems that have been documented to date, and then cite three examples in more detail: clam gardens, salmon production, and estuarine root gardens. These different production systems do not function alone but are components of an entire complex of land and resource management extending across the marine and terrestrial landscapes, “from ocean bottom to mountaintop.” These traditional management systems have been seriously disrupted since the arrival of European newcomers and the resulting impacts on key habitats from colonial settlement, land encroachment, changes in land tenure, land-use conversion, and industrial scale exploitation. Today, collaborative efforts between Indigenous communities, ethnoecologists, and others are underway to recognize and restore some of these critically important Indigenous production systems and associated practices as a means of ethnoecological restoration, habitat enhancement, and food system revitalization.