The USGS is bringing together scientists to develop and strengthen relationships with Indigenous communities and Tribal governments. During the coming year, this interdisciplinary team will conduct multiple drought science open houses and listening sessions in locations across the West.
Tribal Engagement Series: Drought in the Colorado River Basin
The cross-cutting and cascading impacts of climate change and drought are posing unprecedented new challenges across the western landscape. The USGS has initiated a new approach to science to engage with local communities to provide science resources, data, and information to support drought planning, mitigation, and recovery.
The objective of these engagements is to build and reinforce long-lasting relationships with Tribal governments and Indigenous communities through a series of local engagement sessions starting in September 2023. Trust is key to meaningful engagement and communication in all formal and informal government-to-government notification processes.
- Build relationships and connections between scientists, Tribal governments, and communities,
- Co-design drought science with Tribal environmental professionals,
- Increase awareness of capabilities and resources that USGS can offer to Tribal governments and Indigenous communities, including:
- Landscape scale data, tools, and information,
- Opportunities for scientific collaboration, and
- Technical education, training courses and assistance.
- Collaborate with Tribal Colleges & Universities to connect Indigenous students with opportunities for employment at USGS.
Two types of engagement events will be held. These types of engagement were designed to respect the time of Tribal and Indigenous partners. The first, Open Houses, will focus on information sharing with presentations, and meet and greet sessions where Indigenous students, Tribal government and environmental professionals, along with community members, can engage with USGS scientists. Join these events to meet USGS scientists working to understand drought impacts, learn about previous work with Tribal communities including students, and get involved in future activities.
The second will be Listening Sessions in which Tribal government environmental and natural resource officials can share their science needs with USGS scientists, potentially leading to development of collaborative teams to meet Tribal needs. USGS scientists will share syntheses of previous listening sessions and examples of on-going science project collaborations. These sessions are meant to be the foundation for teams from across organizations to coalesce around a problem or topic to collaboratively work to find expertise to meet the needs articulated by Tribal and Indigenous communities through scientific collaboration projects. Listening sessions are designed for Tribal and Indigenous partners to talk in small groups with USGS scientists about specific science needs and concerns for natural resources. The intent is to provide space to listen, respond, and build relationships to partner on actionable science.
Register for an Upcoming Event
Please click on a link for an event below to get more information, register, or let us know if you are interested in a Listening Session.
Lower Colorado Basin Virtual Drought Science Panel, Wed. Nov. 29, 2023, 10am-12pm
Virtual Upper Colorado Basin Drought Science Panel, Wed. Nov. 29, 2023, 2pm-4pm
General Information & Listening Sessions: https://forms.office.com/g/BpmL0J20ta
The following text describes past events in the ongoing Tribal Engagement Series focused on drought science in the Colorado River Basin and adjacent areas. These events are organized by the Actionable and Strategic Integrated Science & Technology team and the Risk Community of Practice project team on Drought and Indigenous Knowledge. The collaborative effort between the Rocky Mountain and Southwest Regions includes regional Tribal liaisons, Tribal liaisons from the USGS Climate Adaptation Science Centers, and USGS scientists from both regions.
Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque
On September 26, 2023, the Rocky Mountain Region led a Tribal Engagement Open House at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) in Albuquerque, NM. The event attracted approximately 50 attendees, including students, Tribal government scientists, and Tribal environmental managers. This was the first event in the ongoing Tribal Engagement Series focused on drought science in the Colorado River Basin and adjacent areas. These events are organized by the Actionable and Strategic Integrated Science & Technology team and the Risk Community of Practice project team on Drought and Indigenous Knowledge. The collaborative effort between the Rocky Mountain and Southwest Regions includes regional Tribal liaisons, Tribal liaisons from the USGS Climate Adaptation Science Centers, and USGS scientists from both regions.
The Open House included Rocky Mountain Region scientists from the New Mexico Water Science Center, Fort Collins Science Center, Geologic and Environmental Change Science Center, Geology, Geochemistry and Geophysics Science Center, and Colorado Water Science Center. Tables displayed USGS information products and science gear (telemetry collars, rocks, snow survey equipment) to spark discussion with Indigenous students and environmental professionals ahead of a panel discussion.
Adrian Monroe of the Fort Collins Science Center moderated a panel discussion on drought science topics ranging from hydrologic modeling to fire ecology to bats. Discussion topics varied from data sovereignty to student internship opportunities. Attendees were actively engaged and asked the panel many questions about the work they do with Tribal Nations.
University of Arizona in Tucson
An Open House was held by the USGS at the University of Arizona in Tucson on October 16, 2023. The event was held outdoors in the Environment and Natural Resources 2 Building (ENR2) courtyard and included tables with information as well as posters highlighting work from across the USGS done in partnership with Tribal Nations.
Staff from the Geologic Environmental Change Science Center, Southwestern Biological Science Center, Western Geographic Science Center, Arizona Water Science Center, Fort Collins Science Center, Rocky Mountain and Southwest Regions all participated in person. In addition, staff from the Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center and Water Resources Research Institute were also present to talk about science projects with students, faculty, and others who attended the event.
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