HIA Receives Funds to Train and Employ SCUBA Divers for Coastal Resilience Project

A scientific diver takes measurements ( Photo by John Turnbull, 2017)

The Hoonah Indian Association was awarded $141,430 through the BIA Tribal Resilience Program for Ocean and Coastal Management Planning. The award will be used to build the Tribe’s ability to ability to deal with harmful environmental trends in nearshore areas such as warming oceans and changes in species richness and diversity. Funds will be used to purchase equipment, and provide training, employment, and educational opportunities to tribal staff members in maritime and scientific fields.

The title of the project is “Inventorying & Mapping Traditional Coastal Resources in Nearshore Sub-tidal Ecosystems for Tribal Resilience”.

Hoonah Harbor
The project will map habitat in nearshore, road-accessible areas. Photo by Ian Johnson.

The primary goal of the project is to create a baseline environmental assessment and monitoring of nearshore areas beneath the low tide line. Over time, this project will help us understand the impacts of warming oceans on nearshore habitats, which have potentially negative effects on traditional coastal foods and fisheries. Effort will also be taken to identify and flag marine debris for future removal.

In the short term, this project will develop a tribal workforce by providing valuable skills training for employees.

The project will create 6 jobs: 1 full-time position, 3 part-time positions and 2 internships. These positions will be temporary and seasonal as we work to build and sustain our growing coastal program.

Selected applicants will be trained in comprehensive SCUBA diving training and advanced SCUBA certifications that will provide valuable skills & experience that can be used to enter careers in the commercial diving field, recreational diving, and or scientific diving.

Requests for applications for positions will be posted by HIA at a later date.

HIA will make every effort to create transparency into this project, and incorporate community values, beliefs, information, wants & needs. Please make sure to attend the Hoonah Stewardship Council meetings, typically held on the third Thursday of every month at HIA Environmental at the top of Roosevelt. Be sure to follow the Environmental Department Facebook page, and check our website for project updates.

Specific information, questions, comments, and suggestions can be directed to Sean Williams at swilliams@hiatribe.org

Special thanks to partners and contributors: The HIA Environmental Department, the Hoonah Stewardship Council, The Sitka Sound Science Center, The American Indian Higher Education Consortium, Northwest Indian College – Salish Sea Research Center, University of California Santa Cruz, The BIA Tribal Resilience Program, The Hoonah Indian Association and Tribal Administrator Robert Starbard, Ian Johnson and the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, and US Americorps VISTA program volunteer Sean Williams.

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