New York Times: Seeing Trends, Coalition Works to Help a River Adapt

The New York Times (reprinted in Seattle Times) featured the Nisqually River watershed, focusing on the leadership by the Nisqually Tribe, in their ongoing coverage on climate change. The reporter also added a note on her blog.

From the story:

To prepare for these and other potentially devastating changes, an unusual coalition of tribal government leaders, private partners and federal and local agencies is working to help the watershed and its inhabitants adapt. The coalition is reserving land farther in from wetlands so that when the sea rises, the marsh will have room to move as well; it is promoting hundreds of rain gardens to absorb artificially warmed runoff from paved spaces and keep it away from the river; and it is installing logjams intended to cause the river to hollow out its own bottom and create cooler pools for fish.

Jeanette Dorner, the director of the salmon recovery program for the Nisqually Tribe Natural Resources Department, grew up wading along a creek that feeds the river, hunting freshwater mussels. Even though protecting the rivershed requires herculean feats of coordination among various authorities and has cost roughly $35 million in the past decade, she said, “It is urgent we do not just walk away.”

Many scientists and policy analysts believe the best course of action is to do what conservationists have long tried to do: return ecosystems to their strongest natural health and then stay out of the way. This approach is known as resiliency.

How the treaty tribes in western Washington are adapting to climate change was also the topic of a recent Being Frank column.