Water: Climate Change and Water
Working with Tribes
Native Americans have distinct cultural and spiritual connections to water and land. More than 560 federally recognized Indian tribes are responsible for protecting and restoring thousands of square miles of rivers, streams, and lakes, as well as ground water in over 110,000 square miles of Indian country in the United States. Changes in the Earth's climate provide a new set of challenges for tribes seeking to maintain and protect their resources and the safety and health of their people.
Numerous resources and tools related to working with tribes are available: explore our resources.
What EPA Is Doing
- The EPA–Tribal Science Council has made tribes and climate change one of its top two priorities. The Tribal Science Council is working to develop methods for integrating tribal perspectives into climate projects, research, and training to help tribes prepare for climate change in Indian Country.
- The Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases for Tribes website presents information from EPA's State and Local Climate and Energy Program relevant to tribal populations.
Working With Our Partners
- The Swinomish Climate Change Initiative , with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration for Native Americans, the University of Washington climate impacts group, and Skagit County, produced a landmark study of the impacts of climate change on the resources and community of the Swinomish Indian Reservation and developed recommendations on actions to adapt to these effects.
- The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals provides training, assistance, and educational resources to tribes on climate change issues.
The Native Communities and Climate Change project of the University of Colorado Law School and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Studies (CIRES) seeks to provide resources for climate change adaptation and natural resource planning by American Indian tribes, while providing useful information to organizations and agencies working with Indian tribes on these issues.
Climate and Water Strategy
- Incorporate climate change considerations in the implementation of core programs and collaborate with other EPA offices and federal agencies to work with tribes on climate change issues on a multi-media basis.
- Ensure tribes have access to information on climate change for decision making.
EPA Tribal EcoAmbassadors
EPA-sponsored Tribal EcoAmbassadors will develop locally relevant solutions to protect public health and the environment. Professors from tribal colleges and universities are working with students to solve environmental and public health issues and collaborate with neighboring tribes and EPA scientists.
Climate Adaptation and Mitigation E-learning for Tribes
The National Council for Science and the Environment, Council of Environmental Deans and Directors and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium are sponsoring weekly webinars introducing resources for teaching about climate change science and solutions.