Western tribes face challenges capitalizing on water rights: study

Read the full story at The Hill.

Indigenous groups in the U.S. West are facing difficulties transforming water that belongs to them on paper into water they can actually use, a new study has found.

Tribal nations are likely using only a fraction of their entitled water rights — thereby foregoing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue annually, according to the study, published in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.

Minnesota poised to close state park, return land to Dakota tribe

Read the full story from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

A Minnesota state park built on a notorious site of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 would be closed and transferred to the Dakota under a proposed state law.

The 1,300-acre Upper Sioux Agency State Park, composed of rolling prairies and wetlands at the confluence of the Yellow Medicine and Minnesota rivers, would be returned to the Upper Sioux Community that was forced out after the war. It would mark the first time in decades that the state of Minnesota relinquished a state park.

Extreme heat will take an unequal toll on tribal jails

Read the full story at Grist.

In any given year, thousands of people are incarcerated in dozens of detention facilities run by tribal nations or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Often left out of research on climate and carceral facilities, the tribal prisoner population is one of the most invisible and vulnerable in the country. 

Now, climate change threatens to make matters worse. 

According to a Grist analysis, more than half of all tribal facilities could see at least 50 days per year in temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century if emissions continue to grow at their current pace. Ten facilities could experience more than 150 days of this kind of heat. Yet many tribal detention centers do not have the infrastructure, or funding, to endure such extreme temperatures for that long. This kind of heat exposure is especially dangerous for those with preexisting conditions like high blood pressure, which Indigenous people are more likely to have than white people. 

Addressing Regulatory Challenges to Tribal Solar Deployment

Download the report.

The Addressing Regulatory Challenges to Tribal Solar Deployment guidebook is organized into three books:

  • Book 1 presents each significant regulatory challenge and associated solutions identified during the course of this project.
  • Book 2 includes a set of case studies of Tribal solar deployment projects or examples of policy solutions.
  • Book 3 contains a set of “issue briefs” presenting details on issues that are uniquely/specifically relevant to solar deployment on Tribal land.

The three books strive to provide accessible information about solutions to common challenges, to improve stakeholders’ understanding of unique aspects of developing solar on Tribal land, and to help stakeholders to work together on future policy solutions.

Payment for the past: Recognizing indigenous seed stewardship

Read the full story at Modern Farmer.

Indigenous royalties acknowledge the past, but they are complicated to implement.

How indigenous people are restoring Brazil’s Atlantic Forest

Read the full story at e360.

The Guarani Mbya people are working to restore the once-vast Atlantic Forest, which has been largely lost to development. Gaining official tenure of their lands, they hope, will boost their efforts, which range from planting native trees to reintroducing pollinators.

Climate adaptation through a multicultural lens

Read the full post from the Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center.

I have a close connection to the Columbia River–five of my family members were born in small towns next to the waterway. This is why I chose to focus my dissertation research on restorative justice in the Pacific Northwest on the Columbia River. As a Ph.D. student in Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis, I focus on Native American water resources and rights. I am continually researching Tribal ecology, water rights, and StoryMapping techniques to help promote the Columbia River Tribes in reuniting with their traditional fishing sites. When I applied for the SW CASC Natural Resource Workforce Development (NRWD) Fellowship, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for me to grow as a meaningful collaborator with other students in different disciplines. The interdisciplinary approach is crucial for mitigating and adapting to climate change. We need diversity. Until now, I have only worked with one or two professors at a time on research. The Fellowship is exciting, from the apps we use to connect to each other, to the bi-weekly brainstorming of actionable science. For example, one step in the Fellowship was to complete the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI). The certification helped me as a researcher, to look at the ethical component of possible interviews I conduct. There are many sections to this training designed in different modules to give users a neatly formatted structure to reference at any point throughout the certification process. A valuable skill I acquired from the training was how to conduct research ethically while engaging with human and nonhuman collaborators. 

Training Resources for Tribal Waste Management

EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery recently released a new Tribal Waste Management Training Resources webpage, which was created in partnership with federal and non-federal partners, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Indian Health Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and tribal organizations. These resources are designed to assist tribes with developing and implementing a waste management program.

The materials are organized into six categories:

  • solid and hazardous waste regulations,
  • planning tools,
  • collection and disposal,
  • circular economy,
  • outreach and education and
  • Alaska-specific information.

These free materials include resources from trainings, as well as education and outreach materials that are not a part of any formal training.

Explore the website.

Webinar: From Disaster to Recovery: Smart Tools for Disaster Debris

Apr 13, 2023, 2 pm CDT
Register here.

After natural disasters, it’s really important to manage the debris effectively so that the community can get back to normal as quickly as possible. This presentation will talk about the tools and models made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that can help people make critical decisions about how to estimate, move, and organize debris during disaster response. We will look at advanced tools like map-based apps, satellite imaging, and forecasting systems that have made managing debris faster and more precise.

Additionally, the presentation will highlight avenues for obtaining technical support to help tribes understand and implement these powerful tools, empowering communities to better respond and recover from disasters more effectively and sustainably.

More bison herds to be restored to Native American lands

Read the full story from Oregon Live.

U.S. officials will work to restore more large bison herds to Native American lands under a Friday order from Interior Secretary Deb Haaland that calls for the government to tap into Indigenous knowledge in its efforts to conserve the burly animals that are an icon of the American West.

Haaland also announced $25 million in federal spending for bison conservation. The money, from last year’s climate bill, will build new herds, transfer more bison from federal to tribal lands and forge new bison management agreements with tribes, officials said.