Today we are exploring a research proposal to investigate traditional ecological knowledge’s presence in supporting salmon at the Klamath River.
Learning about one’s own heritage can reveal stories containing corridors not accessible any other way. In his memoir, James McBride clears confusion about his identity by examining his past via connecting with his mother. The indigenous world view invites people to remember a rooted self-understanding, as the sense of community thrives in existing across lifetimes, and the philosophy is transportable.
My experience in New Zealand sparked my fascination with the value traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) brings to natural resource management. I was awed by the Maori indigenous population as I learned about their deep reverence for natural landscape, water, and the force sustaining life. The Maori study information, passed down by ancestors, about their homeland and then channel ancient philosophy to support the environment. While the existent literature addresses indigenous people’s particular strength in listening to the color of water, there is a gap in the content considering the principles have not yet been directly applied to the Klamath.
That said, I decided to investigate to what extent traditional ecological knowledge supports the salmon population at the Klamath River. My hypothesis is traditional ecological knowledge does not support the salmon population at the Klamath river.
The Klamath is a transboundary river. It nourishes a set of sinks, lakes, and wetlands. A study by Oliver et al depicts the basin encompasses around 40,632 square kilometers (KM) of the middle, southern area of Oregon and the left, northern corner of California. The river extends from the top of Klamath Lake to the Pacific, as it flows 402 KM. The river’s range of stakeholders is complex including tribes, farmers, fishermen, environmentalists, government entities and two independent states. The water body is also home to a collection of Coho and Chinook salmon which are threatened by human activity such as commercial fishing, logging, urban development, dredge mining, and dams.
The study’s participants involve members from multiple groups including tribes, fishermen, and federal natural resource managers. They are all impacted by the salmon population and are aiming to strengthen their voice in the land rights issue. While both the tribal people and fishermen hunt salmon in the Klamath, they use different methods and harvest different quantities of fish. The federal natural resource managers ideally aim to nourish all needs involved and take economic pressures into account.
The survey is going to be distributed by a supervisor from every group. Getting the leadership onboard is the initial step because they are the ones who are going to advocate for me by motivating members to complete the survey. I plan on calling the leaders of each participant group and following up with e-mails, letters and in-person visits as needed. Collecting the consent forms is going to provide me with the participant contact information. From there, I will distribute the surveys via e-mail. After two weeks pass, I will e-mail those who agreed to participate but did not yet fill out the survey. Finally, following an additional two weeks, I will send one reminder e-mail to those I am still waiting on responses from. Lastly, after a month has gone by, I will send a hand-written thank you note in the post office mail to all who responded and begin organizing the data.
Incorporating the literature review into the anticipated results is crucial because I need to distinguish the potential of TEK to support the salmon population from the actual application of TEK at the river. There is no gap in the literature review depicting how TEK is useful in restoration. However, the study is more so measuring the extent to which stakeholders implement TEK. Based upon the literature review, I expect the survey results to confirm a decline in salmon population overtime. That said, my anticipated results are going to show while restoration embedded with TEK has the capability to support the salmon, until shortcomings of the area’s co-management are abolished, TEK does not support the salmon.
I am going to use the research to improve approaches in river restoration at the Klamath Basin. Therefore, the study’s function is going to be grounds for giving the tribal groups greater influence over natural resource management decisions. The information is useful for federal agencies, including both the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Forest Service. Considering the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is a part of the study’s population, I am hopeful federal organizations are going to be open to the survey results. I can provide the tribal council with the study’s answers so they can teach traditional ecological knowledge’s impact and the river’s conditions to future generations.
I reflected on the study in order to grow as a researcher. A key strength of the study is the survey distribution tactic. I am going to distribute 50 surveys through every group’s supervisor to aim for a substantial response rate. That said, both the amount of people I am reaching out to, as well as the strategy I am using to contact them is conducive to gathering accurate results.
Further, in order to get in touch with the fishermen, I am contacting the commercial fishing group Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association (PCFFA). They can connect me with a specific company in the Klamath Basin region that deeply contrasts the tribal fishermen’s approach. The technique is superior to simply researching a company who sources salmon from the Klamath because the PCFFA is going to link me with an organization conducive to my study. I just need to make the study’s purpose clear to the PCFFA so their referrals align with my main interests.
A strength in feasibility is all three groups are incentivized to complete the survey. Both groups of fishermen, the tribal people and commercial company employees, are dependent on the salmon as the health of the salmon is crucial to their livelihood. The natural resource managers can use the data to make improvements to their work. In any case I experience difficulty generating survey responses, I can increase the benefits listed on the consent form.
One area for improvement of the project is handling the bias in terms who fills out the survey because people who care about indigenous land rights are more likely to complete it. In addition, the study has a slow data-storing process. It is inefficient and may be exhausting. I can improve it by using a software that automatically organizes the responses.
I look forward to seeing the insight derived from the survey.