Tulalip Tribes Get $366K to Prepare for Sea-Level Rise

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Tulalip Tribes will develop strategies to protect Tribal buildings that could be under threat from sea-level rise thanks to a $366,418 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)  National Coastal Resilience Fund grant announced today by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

The National Coastal Resilience Fund invests in restoring or expanding natural coastal features that protect people, fish, and wildlife from storms, sea level rise, and other hazards. The program is funded in part through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. During negotiations of the law, Sen. Cantwell championed and delivered substantial increases in funding for coastal resilience programs like this one.

"With this $366,000 grant, the Tulalip Tribe can get an expert assessment of their climate risk so that we can identify and work on real solutions to protect homes, schools, and medical facilities in the future,” Sen. Cantwell said.

The Tulalip Tribes are adding to the $366,418 grant with a $79,508 contribution, for a total project investment of $445,926.

“We are salmon people and people of the water.  We always live near that water because that is who we are.  Sea level rise is a real threat to our harbor and tribal buildings on Tulalip Bay.  This project will help us return the shoreline to a state similar our traditional management.  We expect it to restore our shoreline and provide food and income for the Tribes,” said Teri Gobin, Chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes.

The town of Tulalip is on the shores of Tulalip Bay. Hundreds of structures including schools and medical facilities are built along the shore. This study will help the Tribe determine whether structures might be under threat by rising seas, and what might be done to mitigate those risks if they are.

The Tribe also intends to investigate nature-based solutions to climate change threats, such as restoring natural shoreline and habitat.

Sen. Cantwell – who serves as Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation –  is a strong supporter of coastal resilience, which is crucial for salmon recovery and for Washington state’s infrastructure.

Coastal resilience is also a vital issue for many Tribal communities. Earlier this month, Sen. Cantwell announced that the Quinault Indian Nation will receive $25 million from the Department of the Interior (DOI) to help relocate Taholah Village residents and important Tribal services to higher elevations. This $25 million grant to the Quinault Indian Nation was part of the DOI’s new Voluntary Community-Driven Relocation program, which is funded through investments secured in the Cantwell-championed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

In Washington state, five National Coastal Resilience Fund grants were announced today, totaling $18.5 million.

The National Coastal Resilience Fund is managed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and NOAA. Nationwide, 88 National Coastal Resilience Fund grants were announced, totaling $136 million.