In October of 2007 the Swinomish Indian Senate issued a Proclamation directing action to respond to climate change challenges. The Proclamation acknowledged the potential for issues and impacts in the vicinity of the Swinomish Indian Reservation and directs tribal departments and staff to undertake efforts and studies for promoting long-term proactive action.
A climate change report issued in late 2006 by the State of Washington Department of Ecology identified the lower Skagit River area as one of two “high-risk” areas within the state for sea level rise. The potential for sea level rise impacts was demonstrated prior to that in February of 2006 when a strong low pressure system and storm surge, combined with a high tide, pushed water several feet above normal, resulting in some flooding and damage to property on the Reservation and in LaConner. This event heightened awareness of the potential for local changes and impacts, and it helped provide a catalyst for developing a project to more thoroughly examine potential climate change issues and responses.