Presentation Abstracts (Bellingham Meetings Spring 2001)

Andrew Bach and Kasey Cykler, Center for Geography and Environmental Social Science, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9085. E-mail:

The Declining Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka ) Population in Lake Ozette, Washington.

This research describes changes to the Lake Ozette, Olympic Peninsula, Washington, watershed over the last 100 years which may have negatively impacted the population of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka). Numbers have declined substantially (90-98%) over the last four decades and the sockeye was recently placed on the Threatened Species list as an Evolutionary Significant Unit (ESU). The population is recognized as an ESU because of: (1) unique spawning practices, (2) large smolt and adult body size, and (3) unique genetic make up. Whether the population decline is due to changes in the lake watershed or external forces is unclear. Potential causes for the population decline include: overfishing, natural hydrologic variability (climate), anthropogenic hydrologic variability (logging and debris jam clearing), sedimentation of spawning habitat, introduced or natural predatory species or diseases, physical (temperature) or chemical changes to lake water, or unfavorable oceanic conditions.


Karen Brelsford (undergraduate student, Department of Geography, UVIC,, Joe O'Conner (undergraduate student, Department of Geography, UVIC), Dan Smith (Chair of the Geography Department and University of Victoria Tree-Ring Laboratory, UVIC,

Tree-Ring Dating of Historic Structures, Banff and Jasper National Parks, Columbia Icefield, 2000.

The purpose of this research project was to determine the date of construction of seven historic wood structures located within Banff and Jasper National Parks. Dendrochronological techniques and

methodologies were utilized in the collection and evaluation of tree-ring data. Fourteen increment core samples were extracted from each structure and analyzed. Early twentieth century dates were determined for each of the structures and historical documents were used to hypothesize the original builders.


Tara Burke, Masters Candidate in Geography: Western Washington University

The Socio-Economic Effects of the Carlyon Beach/Hunter Point Landslide.

Though the American West Coast is one of the most slide-prone regions in the world, other natural disasters dominate the headlines- earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, and wildfires. A greater frequency of landsliding around the Puget Sound has raised concerns about how to manage landslide hazards and how to help local communities respond more effectively to these types of problems. The Carlyon Beach/Hunter Point landslide, located in northwestern Thurston County Washington, is a reactivation of an ancient slide, caused by high soil-water pressure resulting from above average rainfall. It reflects a community that was not prepared for a landslide, and displays an example of how the government did not know how to react. The ultimate goal of this research is to uncover the social and economic consequences of coastal landsliding upon individual landowners and identify how governments can more effectively assist and mitigate (against) the hazards of landsliding. A survey of affected homeowners and owners of property adjacent to the slide area is being generated. The result will be a completed dataset detailing the social and economic consequences of the Carlyon Beach/Hunter Point landslide on affected community members. Roles that local, state, and federal government agencies played in mitigation efforts will also be documented


Kasey Cykler-Ignac, Graduate Student of Geography, Western Washington University

Investigation of the Effects of Hydraulic Variability on Sockeye Salmon in Lake Ozette, Washington

The sockeye salmon Oncorhynchus nerka population of Lake Ozette, WA has decreased by ~90-98% since 1949. The population, currently listed as both a Threatened Species and an Envolutionary Significant Unit (ESU) by the U.S. Federal Government, remains at an estimated 300-2,000 annually returning adults. The reason for the decreases in population is unknown, though many potential factors have been examined. Approximately 80% of the lands surrounding Ozette Basin have been logged. In this study it is hypothesized that historical logging may have resulted in changes to the Basin’s hydrology, and thus increases in lake level fluctuations. The sockeye eggs are known to be extremely sensitive to lake level fluctuations. Data on lake levels only exists for the post-logging period of 1981-1999. A statistically significant regression model is developed, relating precipitation and lake levels at Ozette, which reconstructs lake levels back to 1908. The reconstructed levels are modeled under four hydrological scenarios representing the impacts of logging. Under each scenario lake level fluctuations are examined in relation to Ozette sockeye population data. No relationship is found to exist between historical lake level fluctuations and sockeye decreases, though results indicate that Lake Ozette fluctuations have historically been large enough to de-water redds.


Ryan Kernch, University of Washington

Social and Economic Factors Affecting Health in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s health situation is currently in a crisis for several key reasons. First, the issues of land ownership and an economically and morally draining war have directly and indirectly hindered the economy and thus ability to afford proper health care and caused severe social damage. Second, frequent droughts attacking a heavily agricultural dependent economy have also helped to prevent the country from having more than a few consecutive rainy seasons and have been responsible for droughts and malnourishment across the country. Third, the government has often acted unwisely when steadfast leadership was needed and it has also been the victim of severe corruption. These factors and other less tangible ones, such as common social practices and riots have contributed to a situation of poor national health not only with respect to disease and other physical ailments, but also with respect to poor social health and uncertainty about the future for Zimbabweans. This attempts to address these issues using a framework that analyzes the interactions and adaptations between the people and Zimbabwe and the natural environment, the political force and power of the government, and with each other.


Sonya J. Larocque ( and Dan J. Smith ( University of Victoria Tree-Ring Laboratory (UVTRL), Department of Geography, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C., V8W 3P5

Little Ice Age Glacial Activity at Oval Glacier, British Columbia Coast Mountains
Our knowledge of glacial activity during the Little Ice Age (LIA) in the Central Coast Mountains of British Columbia is very limited. In this paper we present a preliminary assessment of the LIA glacial activity of Oval Glacier (1100 m asl), a small valley glacier located ca. 12 km north of Mt. Waddington. In the summer of 2000, the terminus of Oval Glacier was positioned ca. 2.8 km upvalley from a series of LIA nested moraines located on the large glacial forefield (approximately 4 km2) that fringes moraine dammed Oval Lake. Dendroglaciological and lichenometric techniques were used to date these deposits and to develop a LIA advance/retreat chronology. Two nested and forested moraine complexes, discovered outside the maximum extent of glacial ice during the LIA, are believed associated with the Neoglacial Tiedemann Advance previously dated as occurring between 3300 to 2300 14C years BP. Detailed geomorphic mapping and a comprehensive lichenometric sampling (Rhizocarpon geographicum sp.) program (30 largest lichens on each moraine) show that Oval Glacier built substantial terminal / recessional LIA moraines early in the 16th century, late in the 17th century, early in the 19th century and late in the 19th century. The relationship between these LIA moraine building episodes and the regional climate is discussed in the context of a local subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) tree-ring chronology.


Kerry Lyste, Graduate Student of Geography, Western Washington University. Bellingham, WA 98225 USA.

The Cognitive Mapping Project at EVCC

The Cognitive Mapping Project (CMP) was a collaborative project between 2 classes at Everett Community College (EVCC). It was designed to show the general student population the interactive nature of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and also in their perception and how those could be translated into Spatial Analysis. The GIS 201 (Introduction to GIS) class at EVCC was responsible for preprocessing of the data that was used in a survey given to the Geography 101A class (Introduction to Geography). The GIS class digitized the EVCC campus, as well as trees on the Golf Course adjacent to the campus, and then rectified these features in a coordinate system using a Digital Raster Graphic. These features were than placed on a survey and given to the Geography 101A class on the 2nd day of the quarter. The students did a great job of drawing in features in the areas around campus, and indicated what they felt was a Social Impact Area that EVCC had on the surrounding neighborhoods.

These maps were then scanned and converted to grids, and combined to form a series of composite grids, based on: all responses, gender, estimated travel time to EVCC, and estimated travel distance to EVCC. One of the features of this project is that it was downloaded to a web location, and each student can go to the presentation and look up the map that they drew. The Composite Grids indicated a bias to transportation linkages to the east, as well as a more focused range of Social Impact Areas based on localized knowledge.


John Newcomb, Geography, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C. <>

"A Brief Survey of Energy Issues Linking B.C. to Washington and Beyond"

The past several months have illuminated energy resources and problems that are shared between B.C. and Washington borderlands, including higher energy prices, drought-reduced hydropower potential, and siting issues. These borderlands have been a historically-sensitive energy geography "interface", and new borderlands energy issues will undoubtedly emerge in the future. However, new transmission links between far-Northern energy production and the "Lower-48-States" consumers reach far beyond the borderlands, and with economic pressure for greater continental energy integration and resource convergence, it is uncertain what role the borderlands region may continue to play.


Kalina T. Noel, University of Victoria

Conservation measures for aiding the safe passage of urban wildlife about cities

As cities expand with growth of human populations, native wildlife may no longer be able to cope with the dynamic and fragmented nature of these concrete ecosystems. There is though, a group of wildlife species that do well within cities. These species, termed 'Urban Wildlife', may or may not be native to that area. Whether deemed nuisances or pests, these urban wildlife species should be considered just as important. Appreciably alloting intrinsic value to these species may be hard to grasp, but they may be the fine line between wildlife within cities and no biodiversity at all. A vicious cycle involving these urban wildlife species has become apparent. Urban wildlife species are unfortunately being injured as they move about the city. Wildlife rehabilitation centers may aid in mending their injuries, but they are subsequently being placed back into the same unfriendly environment. As a result safe passage within cities must be of extreme importance. Possibilities may include urban green connections, in which urban wildlife may move about city parks and gardens reducing the chances of being injured by humans. Two possiblities that may be looked at within British Columbia include Naturescape BC and Green Links. Looking at the correlation between where and what types of injuries urban wildlife are involved in and where urban green connections occur would be important information in assessing whether urban green connections would be an effective tool in aiding safe passage of urban wildlife about cities.


Meredith Reitman, University of Washington

Reimagining the Network: An Alternative Framework for Understanding the Control of Migrant Information

The migrant network is an important theoretical tool for understanding the persistence of migration over time. However, its relatively passive characterization fails to acknowledge the important role of individuals within the network influencing its shape, size and direction. These individuals manipulate information about the migration experience to achieve a variety of goals. In order to understand this information dynamic, I develop an alternative framework for the migrant network. Responding to the call to integrate social theory into studies of migration, this framework draws from several theoretical perspectives: structuration theory, the gatekeeper model and Foucauldian concepts of power. Structuration theory highlights the recursive relationship between network agents and network structure, while the gatekeeper model gives us a detailed representation of information distortion. Finally, Foucauldian theory allows us to explore the disciplinary nature of knowledge/power in its control of migrants themselves. I illustrate this alternative theoretical framework through an exploration of contemporary undocumented migration from China to the United States.


Nathaniel Trumbull and Craig ZumBrunnen, Geography, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

Russia’s De-Greening ("De-Ekologizatsiya") and its Transboundary Environmental Consequences

State environmental agencies of the transition economies have had to face a daunting number of problems in seeking to enforce environmental regulation, accommodate pressures to promote economic growth, and to provide the public with environmental information. The May 17, 2000 abolition of the Russian Environmental Protection Agency (Goskomekologiya) reflects a new trend of increasing vertical state authority in Russia, an emphasis on raising state revenue at any cost, and the general de-greening ("de-ekologizatsiya") of Russia as concerns official state environmental policies. Proponents of Goskomekologiya’s abolition, and of its subsequent re-organization under the new Ministry of Natural Resources, argue that the new Ministry can continue to protect Russia’s environment under existing Russian environmental law. But a critical conflict of interest now exists within a single state agency that has full responsibility both to promote the extraction of Russia’s natural resources and to oversee the environmental regulation of that extraction. The Russian government continues to ignore public opinion in Russia concerning environmental issues. A nation-wide referendum petition conducted during the summer of 2000 sought to maintain a ban on importing nuclear waste for purposes of commercial reprocessing, but the petition failed to have any perceptible impact on official state environmental policy. Despite the collection of 2.5 million citizen signatures by Russian environmental activists, the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy has placed its sights on a reported 20 billion dollar profits to be derived from nuclear processing in Russia. The consequences of Russia’s present de-greening are alarming in terms of the present and future impact of high levels of Russia’s transboundary pollution. The seven bordering nations of Russia in the Arctic region would be most susceptible in this context.


Dr. S. Vanderburgh, Geography Department, University College of the Fraser, Abbotsford, British Columbia. and Dr. C. Peterson, Geology Department, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon.

Sedimentation in the Bays and Estuaries of the Columbia River Littoral Cell: Current Research of the Southwest Washington Coastal Erosion Study.

Late-Holocene sediments in Willapa Bay, Grays Harbour, and the Columbia River estuary are preserved in a variety of tidally dominated depositional environments. To fully understand net-sedimentation rates and late prehistoric, early historic and historic sedimentation, a total of 103 vibracores were collected during the summers of 1999 and 2000 (21 in Grays Harbour, 35 in Willapa Bay and 47 in the lower Columbia River estuary). Penetration depths generally ranged from 2-7 m and core recovery was typically greater than 90%. Coring was accomplished using oyster dredges and a boat-mounted drill platform while a quad with trailer was used for shoreline sand and mud flats. All cores were logged in the field and sampled for lithology, sedimentary structures, sand grain size, wood and shell fragments, and sedimentary structures.

Preliminary results show that modern sand dominated tidal-flats along bay shorelines are anomalous in the geologic record of Grays Harbour and Willapa Bay. Also, episodic tidal flat subsidence in the bays and estuaries is recorded in buried root horizons, as up-core reductions in sand laminae of sand/mud couplets, or as fining-upward trends. Additional coseismic features include possible tsunami pebble layers, fluidized dike and sill intrusions, and slope failure deposits. In the Columbia River estuary a net increase in Holocene sedimentation rates was observed, in addition to a distinctive facies transition in a seaward prograding bay-head delta.


Barry Weaver, Camosun College, Victoria B.C.

Teaching Geography via the Internet: One College's Experience

Camosun College presently offers two first-year Geography courses over the internet (cosystems and Human Activity and Human Geography), and is exploring the possibility of offering additional Geography courses using this technology. The completion rate amongst students has been higher than usual for distributed education courses. This presentation will focus on the instructor's experiences in developing and teaching these courses as well as on plans to enhance the course materials and delivery. Examples from one of the courses will be shown.



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