Interior Department Announces $11.8 Million to Support Tribal Climate Change Adaptation and Planning Projects

Office of the Secretary

Funding will help American Indian and Alaska Native Villages plan for rising seas, coastal erosion, superstorms

7/9/2015
Last edited 4/26/2016

WASHINGTON – As part of the Obama Administration’s effort to prepare communities for the impacts of climate change, U. S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has awarded $11.8 million in Tribal Climate Resilience Program funding awards. The funding will help federally recognized tribes and tribally chartered organizations with climate change adaptation and ocean and coastal management planning projects.

“These funds will help the American Indian and Alaska Native communities on the front lines of climate change prepare, plan and build capacity,” said Secretary Jewell. “The Obama Administration remains committed to supporting these communities as they adapt to the effects of rising sea levels, stronger storms and other manifestations of a warming climate that we see and feel across the country.”

Following Secretary Jewell’s visit to Kotzebue and Kivalina, Alaska, where she heard directly from Alaska Native leaders and community members, Interior announced the availability of funding for tribal Climate Adaptation Planning and Ocean and Coastal Management Planning. This round of funding includes approximately $2 million to support Alaska Native villages that are directly experiencing the dramatic impact of climate change, as well additional funding for tribes around the country experiencingimpacts to critical cultural and economic resources, which, in addition to coastal erosion, include loss of traditional foods and degradation of ecosystems, water quality and quantity.

Projects will help tribes plan, train and participate in technical workshops and forums, while also supporting coastal tribes as they address the unique challenges of coastal erosion and development, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and emergency management.

A total of 104 awards totaling $11,813,714 have been made in five categories:  

  • Category 1: Trainings and Workshops – Awards: 7, Total Funding: $823,407
  • Category 2: Climate Adaptation Planning – Awards: 39, Total Funding: $6,210,607
  • Category 3: Travel (Climate) – Awards: 28, Total Funding: 619,940
  • Category 4: Ocean and Coastal Management Planning – Awards: 23, Total Funding: $3,837,454
  • Category 5: Travel (Ocean and Coastal) – Awards: 7, Total Funding: $322,306

A full list of the FY 2015 awardees is available here.

The funds build on nearly $2.3 million awarded last December to more than 40 tribes and tribal organizations to support climate preparedness and resilience activities.

As part of Executive Order 13653 of November 1, 2013, all federal departments and agencies are expanding their efforts to help tribes, states, cities and localities prepare for the impacts of climate change. To comply with this Executive Order, the Secretary of the Interior’s Tribal Climate Resilience Program responds to the Recommendations andSupplemental Recommendations of the President’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience and helps to implement President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. A key part of the Climate Action Plan aims to build more resilient communities and strengthen defenses for communities already on the front lines of a changing climate.

Furthermore, the President’s proposed budget for FY 2016 includes $137 million to prepare communities and ecosystems for the challenges of a changing climate. Included in this request is $50 million to support competitive resilience projects in coastal areas. The budget also proposes to expand the Tribal Climate Resilience Program to address specifically the changing Arctic landscape and offer support to Alaska Native villages and other critically vulnerable communities as they evaluate options for their long-term resilience to climate change. Additional funding is requested for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to increase understanding of the changing Arctic and the linkages between climate, glaciers and impacts on those who call the Arctic home.