Recap: USET Virtual Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment/Adaptation Plan Writing Retreat

The United South and Eastern Tribes Virtual Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment/Adaptation Plan Writing Retreat was held January 25-27, 2021.

Organized by Southeast and Northeast CASC Tribal Climate Science Liaison, Casey Thornbrugh, the retreat was designed to:
• provide writing opportunities for Tribal Nations continuing to make progress on climate adaptation plans
• provide opportunities for feedback, peer editing, and reflection
• address gaps in supporting data and information
• identify resources to help with implementation.

17 participants from 8 Tribal Nations engaged successfully over multiple sessions on Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment/Adaptation Plan templates, example Tribal Nation plans as well as factoring in community engagement, climate change projection information, renewable energy planning, and funding resources for plan implementation. Participants from Southeast CASC included USGS Deputy Director Ryan Boyles, who provided data and insights for use of climate model projections, and University Assistant Director Aranzazu Lascurain, who provided an overview of the Fourth National Climate Assessment Northeast, Southeast, and Tribes and Indigenous Peoples Chapters. Other partners included the Shinnecock Indian Nation – Environmental Department, Northeast CASC, Midwest CASC, College of the Menominee Nation, Bureau of Indian Affairs – Tribal Resilience Program, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, USDA Southeast Climate Hub, Native American Fish and Wildlife Society, and the Native American Agriculture Fund.

The retreat was helpful in facilitating development of climate adaptation plans from Tribal Nation participants at several stages of the writing process. Information from a post-retreat survey is being evaluated to determine next steps for future writing retreats.

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