QUANTIFYING FOOD SPECIES PRODUCED BY ANCIENT CLAM GARDEN TECHNOLOGIES OF THE SALISH SEA
Sonni Tadlock1, Skye Augustine2, Marco Hatch1.
1Salish Sea Research Center, Northwest Indian College, Bellingham, WA 2Gulf Islands National Parks Reserve, Sidney, BC, CA.
Worldwide, human activities are resulting in drastically altering habitats and changing climate that is negatively impacting the abundance of natural resources. For Indigenous communities, food systems and ecosystems are inextricably linked to both individual and community health. First Nations, since time immemorial, have shaped the environments around them to create and maintain energy-efficient traditional technologies, which provide livelihood to their communities. One technology that has increased the resilience of coastal communities is the use of clam gardens, which are defined as purposely constructed intertidal rock-walled terraces. These have been shown in previous studies to increase the habitat and productivity of bivalve species and may also increase the area of collection for other traditional foods. One aspect of clam gardens that has not yet been fully quantified is the traditional food availability in the rock wall structure. The purpose of this study is to quantify the edible species found within the rock wall structure compared to a non-walled beach. Edible species were quantified using low-tide comparative surveys on 10 meter by 2 meter transect lines on walled beaches and non-walled beaches. Results show a greater abundance of edible invertebrate species associated with clam gardens compared to a non-walled beach. Additionally, the sizes of individual species are larger at the rock wall than of the individual species observed at the non-walled beach. The quantification of traditional technologies’ productivity solidifies the right of Indigenous communities to be sovereign nations that are able to determine the environment they leave for future generations.