Community Observations on Climate Change: Arctic Village, Fort Yukon, and Venetie, Alaska

Science Center Objects

For the Upper Yukon area of interior Alaska, climate change has become a daily fact of life, causing a wide range of impacts to the environment, and in some cases to community health. In 2015 the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center organized a series of assessments to better understand the impacts of climate change being observed in this regio...

For the Upper Yukon area of interior Alaska, climate change has become a daily fact of life, causing a wide range of impacts to the environment, and in some cases to community health. In 2015 the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center organized a series of assessments to better understand the impacts of climate change being observed in this region, including the communities Arctic Village, Fort Yukon, and Venetie.

 

Support for this project was provided by USGS and by local tribal partners including Arctic Village Traditional Council, Gwichyaa Zhee Gwich’in Tribal Council, and the Venetie Village Council. The assessments were also performed in partnership with three regional tribal organizations: the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments, the Tanana Chiefs Conference, and the Yukon River Intertribal Watershed Council. Each assessment included at least one community tour, interviews with key environmental and health staff, health clinic, water plant and solid waste site tours, school and classroom visits, river surveys, meetings with tribal staff and leadership, and public meetings. The project team also provided Local Environmental Observer Network training for tribal environmental staff and the installation of time lapse cameras to help these communities monitor environmental change.  One important result of this research found that increased temperatures and smoke from a variety of wildfires in these areas over the last several years had become a particular concern for elders, youth and community members with respiratory problems.  As a result, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium sponsored the purchase of several air conditioning units and air filters to provide ‘cool’ rooms in the community clinics for community members in need.