USGS uses Loch Vale watershed for climate research (Photo: USGS).

Interior Seeks Tribal Members to Serve on Climate Change Committee

ICTMN Staff
11/21/12

For some time, the climate change agenda has been shifting. Rather than look solely at how to slow down or stop the buildup of greenhouse gases that cause an uptick in global temperature and alter Mother Earth’s metabolism, many at the forefront of this phenomena have been forced to implement coping strategies.

Indigenous communities worldwide are on the front lines of these changes, and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) wants their input. A recent call for nominations to a committee that will oversee formation of climate-change-coping initiatives did not receive any tribal response, and the DOI has extended the original November 19 deadline by 28 days in hopes of getting tribal participation.

Interior is seeking tribal members to round out an Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resources Science that is being created to guide the creation of a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC ) and DOI Climate Science Centers (CSC), according to a DOI statement.

“Ideally, USGS and DOI are seeking tribal community members who are familiar with the natural and cultural resource challenges faced by tribes that may be exacerbated by changing climate, and with the priority scientific needs of tribal resource managers for responding to these challenges,” the DOI said.

The 25-member advisory committee will cull from the federal, state, tribal, nongovernmental, academic and private sectors, the DOI said. It will be established in late 2012 or early 2013 and meet two to four times a year.

The idea is to bring “key organizations and stakeholder communities” together, the DOI said, to help develop a national strategy that identifies “key science priorities to advance the management of natural resources in the face of climate change”; advises on the manner and depth of relationship and engagement between key partners at the regional level and with the Climate Science Centers, and advises on what mechanisms must be in place to identify what the key priorities are and to deliver jargon-free scientific results to the organizations. The committee will also monitor the scientific integrity of the proceedings as well as review and evaluate Climate Science Center performances. Universities will be contacted as possible hosts for the centers, the DOI said.

More information about submitting nominations, which must be done in writing, is at the Federal Register.

“The selected tribal ACCCNRS members will be asked to participate both in regular committee meetings and in related tribal gatherings at which climate change and adaptation will be discussed, to enable the selected members to reflect a broader range of tribal concerns and perspectives,” the USGS says. “Members serve without compensation, but travel support will be available for committee meetings and up to four additional tribal meetings between the two members.”

The nominations should describe and document the proposed member’s qualifications and include a resume, the DOI said, and be sent to Robin O’Malley, Policy and Partnership Coordinator, National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Mail Stop 400, Reston, VA 20192, romalley@usgs.gov.

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