Federally recognized tribal lands are rural communities that are highly dependent on the natural resources in and around them. As such they are good case studies of the impact of changing regional climate on local communities. The Tribal Climate Tool (TCT) forecasts changes in eight climate-related variables over the next century for both low and high emission scenarios. These variables include annual and seasonal temperature, precipitation, snow-water equivalent, stream temperature and flow, vegetation, wild-fire risk, and changes in relative sea level.
Though TCT looks at nearly 80 reservations, colonies, and other tribal lands spread out over the western continental United States, we will only look at one, the Quinault Indian Nation. The reservation was established in 1855 and is located on the western shore of the Olympic Peninsula 72 km (45 mi) north of Hoquiam, Washington. Included below are some key statistics for the Quinault Nation that will be useful in the following activities.
- The reservation is 819,294 sq km (316,331 sq mi) of coastal land bordered by the Olympic National Park to east and the Pacific Ocean to west.
- Two major rivers, the Queets and Quinault flow westward across a forested coastal plain making up most of the reservation.
- The population of the reservation has during the 21st century has fluctuated from 1000 to 1500, with most members living in two settlements (Kalaloch and Taholah).
- The economy of the reservation is based largely on tourism, timber, and fishing.