Many people move to the Valley for its wildlife and scenery. The Snoqualmie Valley is part of the Snoqualmie Tribe’s ancestral lands, where they have lived, gathered, hunted, fished, and stewarded the lands since time immemorial.
You may be familiar with some of the Tribe’s history in the Valley, but do you know what the Tribe does in the present day to help care for our Valley?
As a sovereign nation, the Tribe invests in these lands in many ways, which includes the Tribe’s Environmental and Natural Resources team. Almost one year ago, the Tribe hired Wildlife Biologist Ezekiel Rohloff.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Ezekiel to learn more about his role working for the Tribe and the wildlife issues facing the valley.
Rohloff moved to the Valley in 2018 with his wife and three children. He holds a degree from Colorado State University and has a deep appreciation for the natural resources available in his home state of Alaska.
Says Rohloff, “Our family has practiced commercial salmon fishing for decades now, and we are directly reliant on the health of our surrounding ecosystems to provide life-giving opportunities, not just in nutrition but spiritual and emotional services. When I moved to a more urban setting in Colorado for school, I observed a disorder in priorities as they related to natural resource management.”
It was this respect for the environment that led him to become a wildlife biologist and to work for the Tribe.
Since joining the Tribe in June 2022, Rohloff has been busy. He has spent countless hours in the Snoqualmie Tribe Ancestral Forest (SATF), which the Tribe recently re-acquired. His work has included assessing the landscape and species composition, both aquatic and terrestrial, as well as installing wildlife cameras and conducting field research.
Rohloff has also been working with other local governments, including the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), to ensure that the Snoqualmie Tribe’s priorities relating to fish, wildlife, and habitat management, policies, and developments are heard.
One example of the Tribe’s partnerships is the Kokanee Workgroup, which includes the Tribe, King County, Trout Unlimited, private landowners, and others, all working together to help preserve the Kokanee populations in Lake Sammamish and its many tributaries.
When asked about his role in the Ancestral Lands Movement, Ezekiel explained that he supports the Governmental Affairs & Special Projects team, which manages the Movement. The Ancestral Lands Movement is an initiative by the Snoqualmie Tribe to share information with the public about how everyone can be a part of helping care for the lands which are so important to the Tribe and its members. Rohloff’s work involves gathering information regarding wildlife and other related topics and sharing it with the public.
We also discussed the challenges facing the Snoqualmie Valley, including the impact of development on wildlife populations. Rohloff explained that it’s critical that cities prioritize the need to protect and respect wildlife and other cultural resources.
By working with the Tribe, other governments can make sure that they are centering on the long-term perspective that the Tribe brings to ensure that projects aren’t being designed or planned with just humans alone in mind.
In the end, Rohloff expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to talk and share a bit about his exciting new role for the Snoqualmie Tribe.
It’s clear that he’s passionate about his work and dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and wildlife of the area. As a local, I’m grateful to have someone like him working to protect the Snoqualmie Valley for future generations.