Training and Capacity Building Activities of Climate Adaptation Science Centers for the Benefit of Tribal and Indigenous Communities, 2010–2019

Download the report.

Tribal nations and Indigenous communities are key collaborators on adaptation work within the Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC) network. The centers have partnered with numerous Tribal and Indigenous communities on projects or activities to better understand the communities’ specific knowledge of and exposure to impacts of climate change, to increase or assist with capacity to support adaptation planning, and to identify and address climate science needs. Projects and activities generated in the various CASC regions have different Tribal and Indigenous stakeholders, climate change contexts, and training needs. Consequently, these projects and activities were neither implemented nor reported consistently throughout the network. Information and materials on the various projects and activities were gathered and are presented in the Tribal and Indigenous Projects Data Sheet (hereafter, Data Sheet) with the goals of reducing inconsistencies between CASCs and benefitting other agencies who plan to implement similar activities. The Data Sheet is complementary to this report, which provides a synthesis of the CASC-led climate-related, capacity-building activities for Tribes and Indigenous communities. The results described in this report provide an analysis of the categorization of projects, activities, and individual trainings to highlight detailed information on the various ways each CASC works with and supports Native and Indigenous communities.

America’s biggest museums fail to return Native American human remains

Read the full story at ProPublica.

The remains of more than 110,000 Native American, Native Hawaiian and Alaska Natives’ ancestors are still held by museums, universities and federal agencies.

A 1990 federal law called for remains to be returned to descendants or tribal nations.

Why haven’t these been?

What if Indigenous women ran controlled burns?

Read the full story at High Country News.

The Karuk Tribe’s first-of-its-kind training seeks to extinguish hypermasculinity in firefighting culture.

EPA announces availability of $50 million to support states and tribes developing programs for carbon sequestration and groundwater protection

On January 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $50 million in grant funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help states, Tribes and territories develop and implement Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class VI programs. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, Class VI programs ensure that groundwater resources are protected while supporting geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.

EPA supports efforts by states, Tribes, and territories to implement existing primacy programs and seek primary enforcement and permitting responsibility (primacy) for Class VI programs. EPA is inviting states, Tribes and territories to submit letters of intent to indicate their interest in this new funding, and interested parties have until March 20, 2023 to submit their letters. After receiving submissions, EPA will determine funding allocations and award the full $50 million in a one-time distribution.

As a condition of receiving funding, applicants to the new Class VI UIC grant program must demonstrate how environmental justice and equity considerations will be incorporated into their Class VI UIC primacy programs. Primacy program commitments may include identifying communities with potential environmental justice concerns, enhancing public involvement, appropriately scoped environmental justice assessments, enhancing transparency throughout the permitting process and minimizing adverse effects associated with permitting actions.

Background

The geologic sequestration of CO2 in UIC Class VI wells is used in carbon capture and storage to prevent CO2 emissions from industrial sources from reaching the atmosphere. The CO2 is injected through specially constructed wells that extend into deep rock formations. These formations must be tested and selected based on geologic characteristics suitable for the safe containment of CO2 for long-term storage. This technology will provide well-paying jobs and promote environmentally responsible industry.

EPA has, under the Safe Drinking Water Act, developed stringent federal requirements for injecting CO2 that protect public health by ensuring injection wells do not contaminate underground sources of drinking water (USDWs). These UIC regulations mandate using a variety of measures to assure that injection activities will not endanger USDWs.

Additional tools, resources and information about Class VI wells are available here.

Book examines tallgrass prairies’ ecological history, effects on Indigenous cultures

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

History professor Robert Morrissey wrote in his new book, People of the Ecotone, about how the ecology of the tallgrass prairie shaped the culture and created unique opportunities for the Indigenous people who lived there.

Seeing an Indigenous settlement

Read the full story from the Prairie Research Institute.

Archaeologists from the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS), part of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) are responsible for locating and acknowledging the lands of Native Nations that are now part of the State of Illinois, as further echoed in the Office of the Chancellor’s Land Acknowledgement statement, “These … lands continue to carry the stories of these Nations and their struggles for survival and identity.” The full statement is available here.

Seven hundred years ago, a series of fortified Native American towns lined the Illinois River valley from north of Peoria, Illinois, to south of Havana, Illinois, each with a prominent townhouse or temple in the middle. A place locally called “the Heldenmeyer site” was one of these. Today, it covers 30 acres of an agricultural field.

Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Grant Program: Grants for Tribes and Intertribal Consortia

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $275,000,000 total from Fiscal Year 2022 to Fiscal Year 2026 for grants authorized under the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act. Projects funded through the funding opportunity will:

  • Implement the building a circular economy for all strategy series.
  • Improve local post-consumer materials management programs, including municipal recycling.
  • Make improvements to local waste management systems.

The entities eligible to apply for this grant are federally recognized tribes, including Alaskan Native Villages as defined in Public Law 92-203, and former Indian reservations in Oklahoma, as determined by the Secretary of the Interior. Intertribal consortia, consistent with the requirements in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 35.504(a) are also eligible to apply. Refer to the Eligible Applicants section of the Request for Applications (RFA) for the full details.

The total estimated funding for the currently available competitive opportunity is approximately $40,000,000. EPA anticipates awarding approximately 60 assistance agreements under this funding opportunity, with at least one award per each EPA Region. The minimum individual award floor is $100,000, and the maximum individual award ceiling is $1,500,000 for the grant period. This funding opportunity is in alignment with the Biden Administration’s Justice40 Initiative

Applicants must submit applications through grants.gov. Applications should read the RFA for the full solicitation. The RFA includes a full description of the funding opportunity, award information, eligibility information, application and submission information, application review information, and award administration information.

EPA will hold four webinars about this funding opportunity. The first two webinars will be held on:

DateTime (Eastern)Registration
January 19, 20233:00 – 4:00 pmRegister now
January 25, 20234:00 – 5:00 pm Register now

In these webinars, EPA will provide an overview of the request for applications, eligible entities, evaluation criteria, and the application process. They will cover the same material in both webinars. We will also answer questions.

The second two webinars will be held on:

DateTime (Eastern)Registration
February 1, 20231:00 – 2:00 pmRegister now
February 7, 20234:00 – 5:00 pmRegister now

EPA will cover procurement and subawards in these webinars. They will cover the same material in both webinars. We will also answer questions.

Find more information about this funding opportunity on EPA’s website.

Climate change threatens to erode Illinois’ archaeological record

Read the full post from the Illinois State Archaeological Survey.

Climate-change-induced loss of the state’s cultural heritage is a social justice issue that will be felt most acutely by low-income Illinois citizens and Tribal descendant communities who have traditionally been the most marginalized. Many live in the most vulnerable areas. Doing nothing in the face of this crisis is not only inaction. It is a conscious choice to let the tangible links to history disappear forever. Given the scale of this challenge, what is the best way forward?

Model Recycling Program Toolkit

The Model Recycling Program Toolkit is an interactive collection of EPA and other materials. Toolkit materials can help states, territories, local governments, tribes, schools, nonprofit organizations, companies, and public-private partnerships create effective programs for recycling, composting, anaerobic digestion, reuse, repair, and waste reduction. Materials in the toolkit can help communities increase participation in recycling programs and reduce contamination in the recycling stream.

  • Case studies from communities who have created effective recycling, composting, anaerobic digestion, reuse, and repair programs. 
  • Training materials on how to create educational messages and campaigns that drive behavior change. 
  • Examples of consumer education materials that states, tribes, and local government entities can adapt and use in recycling programs. 
  • Standardized terms with examples that may be used to describe materials that are accepted by residential recycling programs. 
  • A grantee evaluation guide to measure increased participation, reduced contamination, and change in volume of recyclables collected.

Q&A with Stephanie Bostwick: Capacity building and energy sovereignty for tribal nations

Read the interview from NREL.

Different communities bring different priorities to the table when visualizing their clean energy futures. Motivations range from lower utility bills, to increased resilience in storms, to improving air quality or health.

For Stephanie Bostwick’s American Indian partners, the primary concern is energy sovereignty. Bostwick is a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) project manager in the Energy Security and Resilience Center’s Resilient Systems Design and Engineering group who supports technical assistance for tribal nations as well as resilience assessments for federal partners.

Bostwick is a member of the Amskapi Pikuni, also known as the Blackfeet Nation. For Native American Heritage Month, she explains why building a tribal workforce is critical to ensuring that thoughtful decisions are made and that tribes are able to employ their own members to construct and maintain renewable energy systems.