The Olympic Coast as a Sentinel – Tribal Communities at the Forefront of Ocean Change

Indigenous people have depended on Olympic Coast marine species for their livelihoods, food security and cultural practices for thousands of years. Today, these species—and the tribal communities that depend on them—are at risk from ocean acidification. Washington Sea Grant, in partnership with the Olympic Coast Treaty Tribes, federal and academic scientists and coastal managers, is working to understand and plan for the impacts of ocean change to tribal community well-being.

This beautiful 18-minute film about the Olympic Coast research partnership uses collaborators’ own voices and perspectives on ocean change and tribal resilience to bring the story to life.

The Olympic Coast as a Sentinel (full-length)

This 4-minute trailer for the film ‘Olympic Coast as a Sentinel’ invites viewers to learn how indigenous coastal communities are experiencing and adapting to ocean change. 

Olympic Coast as Sentinel (trailer)

About the Project

The Olympic Coast, located in the Pacific Northwest U.S., stands as a region already experiencing effects of ocean acidification (OA). This poses risks to marine resources important to the public, especially local Native American tribes who are rooted in this place and depend on marine treaty-protected resources. This project brings together original social science research, synthesis of existing chemical and biological data from open ocean to intertidal areas, and model projections, to assess current and projected Olympic Coast vulnerabilities associated with OA. This critical research aims to increase the tribes’ ability to prepare for and respond to OA through respective community-driven strategies. By constructing a comprehensive, place-based approach to assess OA vulnerability, decision-makers in the Pacific Northwest will be better able to anticipate, evaluate and manage societal risks and impacts of OA. This collaborative project is developed in partnership with tribal co-investigators and regional resource managers from start to finish and is rooted in a focus on local priorities for social, cultural, and ecological health and adaptive capacity.

This collaborative investigation and project video were funded by the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program (Project #NA17OAR0170166), and is led by Dr. Jan Newton, UW Applied Physics Lab, and Dr. Melissa Poe, Washington Sea Grant.