Climate Change, Coastal Tribes and Indigenous Communities

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Climate change will impact many indigenous communities and may well endanger sacred and traditional living sites, cultural practices, local forests and ecosystems, traditional foods and water quality.

Sea level rise, associated with climate change, is threatening natural resources, communities and cultures across the United States, its territories and freely associated states.  Climate change will impact many indigenous communities and may well endanger sacred and traditional living sites, cultural practices, local forests and ecosystems, traditional foods and water quality. In response, scientists are working with coastal communities throughout the nation to study the impacts of climate change on the health and vitality of the social, economic and natural systems of these communities.

Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced theInterior Department would make available $8 million to fund projects that promote tribal climate change adaptation and ocean and coastal management planning through its Tribal Climate Resilience Program.

“Tribes and indigenous cultures and communities across the nation are already being challenged by drought, sea level rise, coastal erosion, altered snow regimes and more frequent and severe storms,” said Doug Beard, acting associate director of the U.S. Geological Survey Climate and Land Use program. “Our climate science centers are committed to working with indigenous and tribal communities to provide the science needed for climate-resilient and sustainable communities.”