1.3 Communicating Climate Science to Inform Natural Resource Management Decisions among Native American Communities in the Missouri River Basin

Monday, 11 January 2016: 11:15 AM
Room 245 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Crystal J. Stiles, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE; and N. A. Umphlett, M. D. Shulski, M. D. Svoboda, and D. R. Kluck

Native American communities have contended with climate variability and extremes for a very long time, and they possess valuable traditional knowledge that has enhanced their resiliency to such climate conditions. However, current limited resources and capacity to adapt to a rapidly changing climate will likely increase their vulnerability to climate extremes and their associated impacts. Several tribes in the Missouri River Basin have noted climate and water data needs and gaps and have expressed interest in increasing climate monitoring and promoting drought management on their lands. Additionally, some tribes have expressed a desire to learn basic climate and drought science, as well as how to obtain and interpret climate data, for the purpose of informing decision making concerning natural resource management.

The High Plains Regional Climate Center (HPRCC) and several other collaborators have been working over the last year with the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes of the Wind River Indian Reservation in western Wyoming to identify their needs related to climate, water, and drought information, and furthermore address those needs by providing education and training to transfer knowledge to the tribes. The HPRCC and the National Drought Mitigation Center held a training, funded by the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), in July 2015 for technicians from the Wind River Tribal Water Engineer's Office to teach them how to systematically assess local climate conditions, including impacts and climate outlooks. The ultimate goal of this training was to increase their capacity to manage their resources under adverse climate conditions that will ultimately help them make more informed decisions about their natural resources. It is expected that this climate education and training will be expanded to involve other interested tribes in the Missouri River Basin, including tribes with lands in Northeast Kansas and Nebraska.

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