A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
The Northwest Climate Science Center (NW CSC) is responsible for implementing all aspects of Secretarial Order No. 3289 in the Northwest. Addressing "the impacts of climate change on American Indians and Alaska Natives, for whom the Department holds trust responsibilities on behalf of the federal government” is one of the prominent features of the order. Tribal communities are especially vulnerable to climate change because they are place-based and depend on natural resources, such as salmon, shellfish, game, timber, and rangelands, to sustain their economies and traditional way of life. The NW CSC is committed to working with tribal governments of all 52 federally recognized tribes that have reservations or natural and cultural resource interests within the NW CSC geographic area (see map below) to jointly address the effects of a changing climate.
The NW CSC interest in fostering lasting partnerships with NW tribes extends to all aspects of its Strategic Plan, including science planning and implementation, the allocation of funding for climate projects, and the creation of training and education opportunities. A blueprint for this collaboration is described in the NW CSC Tribal Engagement Strategy (PDF, 850 KB) adopted in August 2013.
Northwest tribal interests are currently represented by three tribal organizations (Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, and Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians) that serve on the NW CSC Executive Stakeholder Advisory Committee (ESAC). The ESAC guides the identification of science priorities of the NW CSC. The NW CSC has also extended an invitation to each of the 52 tribes to participate in the NW CSC science planning process.
The NW CSC looks for opportunities to fund tribal climate science research projects, including projects that incorporate traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), western science, or both. In Fiscal Year 2012, the NW CSC and North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NPLCC) co-funded research projects (PDF, 452 KB) that focus on how TEK can help inform resource management decisions in the face of climate change. Our hope is to continue to expand this productive engagement as we move into the future.