News

Removing Dams, Returning Salmon

Ecologist Jeff Duda

Ecologist Jeff Duda

This and next week Snowchange is hosting, together with other partners such as the Finnish-Swedish Transboundary River Commission, a U.S. ecologist Jeff Duda from Seattle, Washington. Mr. Duda will visit North Karelia, Lapland and Swedish Lapland on his tour of Finland. He will see the work of Snowchange Co-op on the award-winning Jukajoki restoration project, investigate the situation on the river Pielisjoki which is the homestream of the land-locked Atlantic Salmon as well as see the situation in Kemijoki and Tornionjoki river catchments in Lapland. Additionally he will make several public speeches, meet the press and participate in regional Workshops during his visit.

Jeff Duda is a research ecologist with the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) Western Fisheries Research Center in Seattle, Washington. At USGS for 19 years, he has conducted research to determine the ecological effects of human activities and natural disturbance regimes on a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial organisms and ecosystems throughout the United States. Since 2004, Jeff has developed research programs in freshwater, estuarine, and marine ecosystems during and following the largest dam decommissioning in U.S. history on the Elwha River in the state of Washington. He is the team leader of the multidisciplinary USGS Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound Elwha team and a Principal Investigator on a recent project synthesizing the physical and ecological effects of dam removal at the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis. He has published over 50 scientific articles and reports.

Elhwa river after dam removal (upper dam).

Elhwa river after dam removal (upper dam).

After decades of debate, planning, and environmental impact studies, the largest planned dam removal project in history was conducted on the Elwha River in Washington State, USA, from 2011 to 2014. The story of this river, with rugged headwaters, protected wilderness, legendary and culturally important salmon runs, and two hydroelectric dams whose placement marshaled wholesale socioeconomic and ecological changes, has become an iconic saga of change, perseverance and renewal. The two dams blocked fish migrations and disrupted sediment transport for a century, disrupting the structure and function of the Elwha River. Removal of the 64-m and 32-m tall dams and the release of a large portion of the 21 million cubic meters of stored reservoir sediment, has provided a living laboratory to study the patterns, processes and outcomes of dam removal from multiple scientific perspectives. Mr. Duda will provide a tour of what has been called a “Science Disneyland”, share progress on the rebirth of a river ecosystem, and place this project into a larger perspective of dam removals and river restoration in the 21st century. In particular, an update of the status of salmon recolonization into waters that they had not seen in a century will be provided.

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Geography from the Margins: New Discussion Paper Out

River Koitajoki. Photo: Eero Murtomäki

River Koitajoki. Photo: Eero Murtomäki

Geography from the Margins collects together essays and scientific texts that have been written in honour of the 60th anniversary of Professor of Geography Ari Lehtinen at University of Eastern Finland. They celebrate the writings, lifework and academic approaches of Professor Ari Aukusti Lehtinen in the context of human geography.

Professor Lehtinen turned 60 in October 2017. Professor Lehtinen is one of the leading Nordic scholars on for example human geography, social theory, the European Greenbelt between Norway, Finland and Russia, the taiga traditional livelihoods and Indigenous communities in the Russian boreal as well as Finland. He has been a close supporter of the Snowchange Cooperative for over a decade. Snowchange is honoured to be able to publish a range of original English-language texts connected with the celebration of Professor Lehtinen as a part of our Discussion Paper series.

These papers alongside Finnish original scientific texts were released in the Finnish language book “Marginaalien maantiede” (Semi, Tanskanen and Mustonen 2017) on 30th September 2017 . The editors felt that the invited English-language materials should be made available to international readers. The common thread for these invited essays is the concept of ‘Geography from the Margins’. They are thought-provoking forum pieces that challenge the scholars of human geography and the readers to discover innovative thinking from the “margins”. The exact positioning of a “margin” in cultural studies and human geography is left rather open.  Questions forming the meta-level approach in these essays include for example

  • What are the space, relevance and role of these ‘marginalized’ geographies from the peripheries?
  • What is the role of for example culturally endemic Sámi geographical time-space concepts and their transferability to power languages?
  • How could we ensure a culturally balanced and meaningful dialogue within the geographical disciplines on these marginalized voices?
  • Who is marginalized in human geography?

The essays included in this Discussion Paper are

  1. “Interdependence” by Anne Buttimer
  2. Cultural Resilience at the Margins by Jules Pretty
  3. Marginalia: Siida and the Alta Petroglyphs – a Fractal Alternative to Cartographic Imperialism? By Kenneth R. Olwig
  4. Marginal(ising) geographies, Gunhild Setten
  5. The contribution of Kristian Nissen (1879-1968) to knowledge of cultural and geographical margins in the north by Michael Jones and Venke Åsheim Olsen
  6. Marginalization in Canadian Forest Use by Matthew Sawatzky

The discussion paper is available here.

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A New Climate Change Video From Indigenous Australia

Queensland coast, Snowchange 2016

Queensland coast, Snowchange 2016

Snowchange partner in Australia, Mulong Productions, releases a new community documentation of climate change from Anindilyakwa, in Far North Queensland. This important video discusses impacts of rising sea level to fisheries, sacred sites, culture and other aspects of life of Indigenous Australians. Rangers have identified a number of changes already under way in the region and in the community. You can see the film here.

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Snowchange and Maori Strengthen Cooperation

Coasts of Taranaki

Coasts of Taranaki

During the visits in September, Snowchange Cooperative and the Maori of Aoteoroa formed new partnerships and strengthened work to tackle cultural, environmental and climate change.

We participated in the world-class Conference “Deep South Challenge”, which is a NIWA-led national science challenge. Darren King leads the “Vision Matauranga” component of the work with seven Maori-specific adaptation and research projects. They include investigation of Maori travelling to the South Ocean and Antarctica, led by Professor Sandra Morrison. Additionally members of the Steering Committee were met from the South Pacific region. A joint publication on Indigenous Evaluation is on the works with Ph D Fiona Cram. She travels later this month to the US to further the cooperation talks.

IMG_4597Second half of the trip was spent in Taranaki region. We exchanged news with Rein Reinfelds, widow of Mahinekura, and remembered the Snowchange 2008 Conference at the Waitara Marae back in 2008.

A renewed contact was made with the Maori of Tongaporutu, where Snowchange delegates originally visited in 2008. This remarkable community has achieved many victories and success in maintaining and renewing Indigenous land use and occupancy and culture in their community. We agreed to strengthen cooperation and seek ways to work together to support the efforts underway in the community and bring international dialogue to the issues.

Russell Gibbs

Russell Gibbs

Russell Gibbs, from the community, writes:

Ngā Hapu o Poutama are Māori whose tribal area is on the west coast of the North Island, Aotearoa, between Waikaramuramu, Onetai, Ohura, Tahora, and out beyond the 200mile limit. Our overall iwi (tribe) is Poutama. Within that are numerous hapū (autonomous sub-tribes). These hapū have economic and political independence. At present not all the hapū have Marae.

The collective voice of the hapū is the Poutama Iwi Taumata or tribal council. The main role of the taumata is an advocate for the hapū within the tribe, and to advocate on behalf of the tribe with Government organisations on issues that individual hapū find difficult or challenging to address. Poutama have consciously retained its traditional infrastructure in the face of sustained pressure from Government to adopt non-indigenous infrastructure.

Rein Reinfelds, Russell Gibbs and Haumoana White on community lands, September 2017

Rein Reinfelds, Russell Gibbs and Haumoana White on community lands, September 2017

In the face of colonisation we have retained most of our protocols and ceremonies. The tribal area is rural and environmental restoration is a high priority in order to retain cultural integrity. Our current goal is to formalize the Poutama Heritage Park across the tribal area.

Honey production under way, September 2017

Honey production under way, September 2017

As part of Hapū and Iwi planning we recognised that we needed to build an economic base including employment in order to sustain and rebuild our tribal population in the traditional tribal area. We recognised this economic base needs to maintain cultural integrity, benefit the tribe at a number of levels, and be free from Government or political interference. The biggest successful project to date has been the formation of a beekeeping company, operating as North Taranaki Apiaries Limited.

Ngā mihi

Russell Gibbs

Parani Gibbs

Parani Gibbs

Snowchange warmly welcomes the community into the larger Snowchange network of Indigenous and local-traditional communities globally and looks forwards to many years of cooperation.

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September: Heading to South Pacific, South-East Asia and France

Landscapes of North Island from the Rua-Peka-Peka. Darren King, 2014.

Landscapes of North Island from the Rua-Peka-Peka. Darren King, 2014.

September is here. It means several international events will be under way and Snowchange delegates will disperse to various events:

  • Southeast Asia and South Pacific: We will participate in the “Deep South” Challenge in Wellington, Aotearoa (NZ) as well as will visit partner communities in Taranaki and Tongaporutu areas.
  • Steering Committee meetings for South Pacific and work ahead in 2018 will be held in Auckland, NZ.
  • Mining and Local Communities in France: Engineers without Borders will organise a mining event in France, where we will participate with the Gaia Foundation.
Vainosjoki

Vainosjoki

Ecological restoration work of Vainosjoki and Jukajoki catchment areas has received national attention in news. Work will continue in Näätämö basin on the 17th September. Otherwise all programmes running as usual.

 

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