Integrating Socio-Cultural Values for Salmon Habitat Restoration in the Quinault Indian Nation

Justine James Jr., Sophia Amberson, Katharine Wellman
Puget Sound Institute
Project Period: 
January 2013 to December 2015

Quinault culture is deeply tied to the health and abundance of local salmon.  To enhance abundance, the Quinault Indian Nation is pursuing strategies such as hatchery development and engineered log jams to support fish habitat.  While we can measure the extent to which these projects enhance fish, we may also be interested in understanding how such projects enhance Quinault culture and wellbeing related to salmon habitat.  This project sought to identify Quinault socio- cultural values related to salmon and riparian areas and their appropriate measures.

In phase 1, we interviewed thirty adults in the Quinault Indian Nation and two high school classrooms to better understand the diverse values associated with salmon by men and women, youth and elders. Data from the interviews were coded into six value types: Cultural values, Social values, Economic values, Psychological health, Physical health, and Governance associated with fisheries management.

Based on these identified values, we developed initial potential questions to measure the status of each socio-cultural value, represented as the petals in the image to the left.  NOTE: The length of the petals are based on a non-representative and thus do not represent the status for the entire community at this stage.

For the second phase of the project, we conducted 21 interviews to explore values associated with QIN riparian areas.  In the spring of 2015, we will launch a survey to a random sample of the Quinault Indian Nation members using online, in-person, and paper surveys.  The surveys will collect data on general values associated with salmon and riparian areas, including cultural values and economic benefits as well as alternative uses of salmon habitat.  Lastly, we will use structured decision making processes with the Quinault Natural Resources departments to explore the best salmon restoration strategies considering ecological, economic and socio-cultural needs. 

Topic Area: 
Funding source: 
The Nature Conservancy
Research area: 
Ecological/Environmental economics
Ecosystem Services
Environmental governance: policy & institutions
quality of life
human wellbeing
tribal values