Rapid Environmental Change
Climate change is complex, and the resulting impacts will affect the entire scope of tribal
management for years, if not decades to come. In order to best prepare for the impacts that we
will face, the Department will work to develop a Climate Change Adaptation & Resiliency Plan that will identify and evaluate the resources that are most vulnerable to climate change.
The climate is changing and causing a host of serious consequences for people around the world. In the United States, Native Americans and Alaska Natives will likely be disproportionately impacted compared to their non-Native counterparts. Alaskan Native villages, for example, are already experiencing acute and rapid changes, such as warmer temperatures, rising sea levels, permafrost thaw, and loss of sea ice. More than 30 villages are experiencing severe coastal and river erosion and need to relocate to higher ground. Other types of impacts on tribes include changing precipitation patterns, changes to local ecosystems and culturally important plant and animal species, and more frequent and severe extreme weather events. Drought, for example, is an impact felt by many tribes and others in the Southwest causing water shortages, and in some cases, leading to extreme dry conditions making it prone to frequent wildfires.
Why is the Community taking on this project?
Many tribes across the country are being proactive and have chosen to plan and prepare for climate change impacts. As such, the Community, has chosen to do the same and has secured climate change funding from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to undertake a Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency Project, which is aimed to build resiliency that allows social, ecological, economical systems to thrive under stress from the vagaries of nature and human activities. The Community can draw on past experiences, such as traditional knowledge, to aid in adapting to a changing climate, adopt unique and innovative adaptation techniques, and overall sustainability of our people, land and community.
What are the goals & objectives of the project?
The goals and objectives of the project include data collection and developing a Climate Change Adaptation & Resiliency Plan (Plan) in close collaboration with an assembled body of Community Member, employees, and stakeholders; coordinate and host two educational workshops, and utilize collected data and traditional knowledge to develop the Plan, which will eventually contain strategies and actions to create a more resilient Community, able to cope with the detrimental effects of the changing climate and its impacts.
What is the Climate Change Adaptation & Resiliency Plan?
The Climate Change & Resiliency Plan (Plan) is a comprehensive document that contains various climatic data, climate change impacts, vulnerabilities, strategies and actions in how the Community will adapt to the changing climate and its impacts. The Plan will consist of the following, though not an exhaustive list:
- Determine the current and projected impacts of climate change on the Community, including impacts on the local environment, agriculture, fish and wildlife, water resources, air quality, infrastructure, social services, human health, and cultural resources;
- Determine the vulnerabilities of the Community to the current and projected effects of climate change, and prioritize key areas for development of adaptation strategies;
- Develop appropriate policies and goals for addressing the effects of climate change on the Community;
- Develop potential programmatic and/or regulatory actions and changes consistent with said policies and goals as appropriate to address the effects of climate change.
Why should the Community prepare a Plan?
The Plan will help guide the Community in assessing its vulnerability to climate change impacts. It will outline various impacts most relevant to the Community and will contain strategies and actions that the Community can employ to reduce and or adapt to the identified impacts. The Plan is crucial to aiding the Community in building a more resilient Community that can sustain the changes being experienced by many tribes and indigenous people regionally, nationally, and globally. Creating a Plan will help ensure our generation and future generations of our Community to continue to thrive as we have for many centuries.