In August 2010, the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) and the Rocky Mountain Research Station began a collaborative project focused on tribal climate change issues in the Southwest. Project collaborators are coordinating with the Pacific Northwest and Northern Research Stations as part of the Agency's 2010 Coordinated Approach to Tribal Climate Change research project.
The goals of the southwestern project are to 1) identify existing tribal climate change efforts being undertaken in Arizona and New Mexico, 2) assess tribal research and information needs regarding climate change issues, and 3) develop strategies for meeting those needs. To accomplish these goals, the Station and ITEP hosted a climate change workshop for tribal environmental and natural resource managers in Flagstaff, Arizona.
The workshop built knowledge concerning climate change issues and fostered dialogue on the needs of and opportunities for tribes in Arizona and New Mexico to engage in climate change planning. Specific topics covered in workshop sessions included: traditional knowledge and western science; observed climate change impacts on Tribal lands; global and southwestern climate change; Water: issues and opportunities; and land-based resources: issues and opportunities.
The Southwest Tribal Climate Change Network provides ongoing engagement among those interested in Tribal climate change issues in Arizona and New Mexico. The Network provides regular input into the project's activities, such as the workshop, and also shares resources and information that may facilitate tribal climate change efforts. The Network is open to Arizona and New Mexico tribes and tribal organizations, agencies, and other interested individuals.
Rocky Mountain Research Station participation in this effort was spreadheaded by Carol Raish, a former research social scientist at the Station. Contact Sue Wotkyns (susan.wotkyns < at > nau.edu) from Northern Arizona University for more information on the Southwest Tribal Climate Change Network, or visit the website for the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals here.