Tribal Profiles, Fact Sheets and Climate Planning Tools

These climate change resources include a wide-range of materials, from profiles of tribal climate change efforts around the United States, fact sheets that focus on climate change impacts, adaptation strategies, and other relevant topics, and planning resources for developing climate change vulnerability assessments and adaptation plans. Additional tribal climate change planning resources can be found here:

Several key resources released in 2018 include:

Titlesort ascending Description Category Geography Website
Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians: Rising Tides

The Isle de Jean Charles is a slender ridge of land between Bayou Terrebonne and Bayou Pointe-aux-Chene in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana-home to the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians. Although once virtually cut off from civilization until the 1950's the island tribe is now dealing with serious changes to the natural environment from anthropogenic interference. This includes impacts from oil and gas that has allowed salt water to inundate wetlands' levees that have cut off Mississippi water flow and sediment needed to replenish the land. These imapcts, in conjuction with rising sea level and an increased storm severity due to climate change, is contributing to the disapearance of the island.

Coastal, Sea Level Rise, Tribal Gulf Coast, Southeast Link
Assessing the Timing and Extent of Coastal Change in Western Alaska

Alaska’s western coast has seen substantial changes in recent years. During 2013, the Village of Shishmaref saw 60 feet of shoreline vanish in a single storm. Over a five-year period, storms also removed 30 feet of shoreline at an ancient Yup’ik village near Quinhagak, increasing the urgency of archaeologists and the community to protect this historic site. And recently, storm surges have flooded portions of the town of Golovin so frequently that residents made a decision to relocate some of their essential infrastructure to higher ground. These events illustrate the vulnerability of western Alaska’s coastal communities and cultural resources to rising seas and eroding coastlines. As the region warms—and sea ice and land-fast ice that once protected coastlines during extreme storms disappears—the impacts of coastal erosion will only increase. Issues of coastal change in the region fall within the purview of the Western Alaska Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC). The LCC is one of 22 regional efforts across the United States launched to better integrate science and management in addressing climate change and other landscape-scale issues. The Western Alaska LCC is governed by a partnership of 14 state, federal, and tribal organizations with input from academia, agencies, non-profit organizations, consulting firms, and traditional knowledge experts. In 2012, the Western Alaska LCC co-hosted a coastal hazards workshop with the Alaska Ocean Observing System and the Alaska Climate Science Center. At the workshop, a broad group of stakeholders identified their needs for information and tools that would help them understand and forecast how the coast is changing. To date, the LCC has sponsored or co-sponsored 17 projects to address recommendations offered by workshop participants.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Climate Change, Community Health, Social Equity, Coast Erosion, Relocation Western Alaska Link
An Integrated Plan for Water and Long-Term Ecological Resilience

The Yakima River Basin in the state of Washington supports a multi-billion dollar agriculture sector. The value of apples, cherries, and other food and natural resources harvested from across the basin make substantial contributions to the local, regional, and national economies. Additionally, the region has significant populations of salmon and steelhead trout. The fish are essential to tribal members' subsistence lifestyles and cultural traditions, and they support a thriving recreational fishing industry. Over a 15-year period in the recent past, the basin faced five years with drought conditions. The lack of water in each dry year had a strong negative impact on the region’s productivity and pointed out the risk that climate variability and change pose to the basin. Further, the Third National Climate Assessment and other studies indicate that the region can expect even more challenges as climate changes. Recognizing their vulnerability, representatives of the Yakama Nation, irrigation districts, environmental organizations, and federal, state, county, and city governments formed a work group in 2009 to design and implement a solution to the basin’s growing water problems. By 2011, the group released a basin-wide climate adaptation strategy designed to secure a future for fish, farms, and families across the basin. The Yakima Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan is a 30-year, $3.8 billion plan that restores ecological integrity to the region and provides assurances for meeting agricultural water needs even in the face of ongoing climate change. The plan is a collaborative effort to restore and protect ecosystems: it strategically and creatively addresses the realities of climate uncertainty and places the basin on a path to long-term resiliency.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Drought, Water, Fish Health, Adaptation, Restoration, Conservation, River Basin Washington state Link
Algaaciq Native Village: Climate Change Impacts and Mitigation Efforts

Algaaciq Native Village (also known as St. Mary’s) is a predominantly Yupik village of approximately 500 people. The village lies near the confluence of the Andreafsky and Yukon Rivers, upstream from the delta into the Bering Sea in southwest Alaska. This profile describes observed impacts of climate change on the village and a woodstove changeout project that has Increased air quality and provided environmental benefits.

Mitigation, Tribal Alaska Link
Alaskan Tribes Join Together to Assess Harmful Algal Blooms

Increasingly, evidence suggests that warmer ocean temperatures associated with climate change have contributed to worldwide increases in the duration, frequency, and geographical distribution of harmful algal blooms (HABs). As ocean temperatures rise, increases in HAB outbreaks are expected to worsen over the next few decades. In response, researchers, shellfish growers, and managers must begin to investigate adaptation strategies that can increase their resilience and their capacity to endure climate-driven changes in HAB events. Although the State of Alaska regularly tests commercial shellfisheries for toxins, they do not test recreational and subsistence shellfisheries. In October 2013—after two cases of paralytic shellfish poisoning in Sitka—regional tribal communities formed the Southeast Alaska Tribal Toxins (SEATT) partnership to combat the risks of HABs to subsistence shellfish harvesters. The SEATT partnership seeks to bring tribes in southeastern Alaska together to assess the beaches and shellfish that the state cannot test, increasing access to subsistence resources for tribal members. To date, 11 of the 17 Tribal Nations located in southeast Alaska have joined the partnership. Training and technical assistance for the SEATT partnership is provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Marine Biotoxin Programs in Seattle, Washington, and Charleston, South Carolina.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Climate Change, Food Safety, Human Health, Ocean Health, Assessment and Planning, Fisheries and Coastal Communities Alaska (Southeast) Link
Alaska Native Villages Work to Enhance Local Economies as They Minimize Environmental Risks

While the residents of Alaska Native villages face a disproportionately higher risk of having their traditional subsistence lifestyles affected by Arctic development, they also recognize that changes bring new opportunities. Accordingly, leaders of several Alaska Native Village Corporations have stepped up to discuss the potential positive and negative impacts to their region with resource producers and other development groups. Seven Alaska Native Village Corporations—Gambell, Golovin, Saint Michael, Sitnasuak, Stebbins, Unalakleet, and Wales—have formed a limited liability corporation, the Bering Sea Alliance (BSA), to have a stronger voice in protecting their subsistence way of life when working with other groups such as government agencies and private organizations. Working together through BSA, they aim to engage in dialogue with key stakeholders to protect the rich abundance of their region while striving to enhance their disadvantaged local economies. To help Alaska Natives build local capacity to prepare for oil and gas development, BSA holds a variety of training workshops and conferences for these communities. BSA also seeks joint ventures with organizations in the public and private sectors to provide services such as spill-response and rescue operations.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Climate Change, Policy, Adaptation, Energy Production, Capacity Building, Disaster Risk Reduction Alaska, Artic Link
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium: Assessing Health Impacts and Documenting Observed Changes

The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s (ANTHC) Center for Climate and Health has done a tremendous amount of work over the past four years to support Alaska Native communities in chronicling climate change impacts on the landscape and on human health. Staff members from the center apply their “engineering, environmental health and community health experience to perform assessments, develop community-appropriate strategies, and to describe climate-health connections.”Much of the early work has focused on areas of Alaska with high climate vulnerability, including the Northwest Arctic. Impacts of climate change in the Northwest Arctic region range from thinning sea and river ice, to permafrost melting and coastal erosion. Though many research groups are working to identify and monitor the changing environmental conditions around Alaska, ANTHC’s approach is unique both in its data collection methods and its focus, namely community-based adaptation strategies.

Research, Tribal Alaska Link
Addressing Links Between Climate and Public Health in Alaska Native Villages

As emissions of heat-trapping bases accumulate in our atmosphere, Earth's polar regions are warming more quickly than at lower latitudes. The rapid environmental changes that result from this warming can have a significant impact on the physical and mental health of rural Alaskans: unpredictable weather and changes in the seasons have made harvesting food more difficult, hazardous, and stressful. The climate-related challenge faced by Alaska’s tribal health system is to recognize new health stressors and community vulnerabilities, and then find healthy adaptation strategies in an increasingly uncertain future. Since 1997, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) has operated a non-profit, statewide system of health services for more than 143,000 Alaska Native Villages and Native American Tribes. In 2009, ANTHC established the Center for Climate and Health to help people understand climate change impacts on community health and work to address them. To help raise awareness about the connections between climate change and community health, ANTHC uses a variety of communication and education products including ClimeMap, The LEO Network, and an e-journal which provides weekly access to other map tools, updates, assessments, and bulletins.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, Climate Change, Human Health, Community Health, Adaptation Strategies Alaska Link
Adaptation Workbook for Natural Resources

A growing number of Tribal Nations work with the U.S. Forest Service on adjacent lands through this structured process to consider the effects of climate change on forests and related ecosystems and plan projects together to build climate resiliency.

forests, lands, climate change, ecosystems, Forest Service National Link