Tribal Partnerships

The Northeast Climate Hub region includes 17 federally recognized Tribes and Nations in the states of Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. 

The Northeast Climate Hub is working with Tribes in the region to reduce weather and climate-related risks on their lands. Two projects are currently underway and described below.

Pilot Adaptation Planning Project

In the fall of 2016, the Northeast Climate Hub’s NRCS Project Liaison began working with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah, NRCS National, NRCS-MA and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) on a pilot project to develop an “Adaptation Guide.” This guide will include a dynamic conservation plan with resources and links to a number of government and other supportive organizations. Priority concerns voiced by the Tribes were declining species of cultural importance such as sweetgrass and red cedar, sea level rise, and shoreline erosion due to serve storm events. Staff from the NRCS New Jersey-Plant Materials Center (NJ-PMC) traveled to Massachusetts to collect seed of the top species in decline. They also conducted site assessments for possible restoration efforts. Seeds collected will be propagated at the Cape May, NJ-PMC. AIHEC has placed an AmeriCorps VISTA individual to support these activities and provide assistance with research and STEM education.

Weather Station Project

Weather data supports many decisions especially for those that rely on mother nature to grow food. A new initiative combines funds from Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to install scientific grade weather stations on tribal lands. The intent of these stations is to support agriculture and STEM education. An online tool is currently being developed through the efforts of the Northeast Climate Hub, NRCS, Cornell, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), NOAA and AIHEC. The final product will provide online decision making tools for producers, and will include an educational component. The stations and associated online tool will appeal to the scientist in everyone. For those curious about the weather and climate, they will learn how different parameters can impact crop growth, disease and insect damage.

Images by William Skaradek