Understanding Tribal Participation in Collaborative Restoration: An Exploration of the Qwuloolt Estuary Restoration Project
Kennard, Haley Marie
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Large-scale collaborative estuary restoration in the Puget Sound region of Washington State represents a unique opportunity to further salmon recovery efforts and meet regional habitat restoration targets while engaging treaty tribes of Western Washington. In the Puget Sound, engagement of tribal partners is essential to successful fisheries management and salmon recovery, yet has a complicated and challenging history. This paper explores what motivated the Tulalip Tribes to participate in one such project to gain insight into how to approach collaborative restoration in the Puget Sound that successfully engages tribal partners. The Qwuloolt Estuary Restoration project, led collaboratively by the Tulalip Tribes and a group of state and federal agencies is one example of the potential of this approach. Based on a series of key informant interviews with those involved in Qwuloolt, this analysis explores the motivation for the Tulalip Tribes’ participation in this restoration project. Six factors emerged as contributing significantly to the Tulalip Tribes’ sustained participation in the Qwuloolt project: opportunity to maintain and strengthen value of tribal treaty rights, an imminent threat to culturally significant resources, concern for future generations, commitment to place in perpetuity, support from tribal leadership, and a willingness to build relationships and identify common ground with relevant non-tribal communities. These factors are discussed individually and concluding recommendations for improving approaches to tribal engagement in large-scale collaborative restoration projects are offered.
- Marine affairs