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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. 

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. 


Target Outcomes 

  • 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. 

Event Types 

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 

Open houses are being planned for September-November 2023. Listening sessions are being planned for January/February 2024. Please register your interest at the link below for a specific event to receive and invitation. If you would like to be added to our list to receive communication as it becomes available, please use the General Registration of Interest


Albuquerque, New Mexico: September 26, 2023 Open House Registration

Albuquerque, New Mexico: September 26, 2023 Open House Registration

Tucson, Arizona: October 16, 2023 Open House Registration

Tucson, Arizona: October 16, 2023 Open House Registration

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