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Tribal Climate Change and Extreme Weather Event Response Studies to Identify Vulnerability Assessments

The purpose of this project was to enhance the knowledge of local tribal environmental professionals related to planning for the increased frequency of weather events as a result of climate change.   Beyond expanding knowledge, the objective of this workshop introduce the Division of Regional and City Planning faculty and students to the planning needs of tribal communities related to climate change.  As a secondary objective, the grantees sought to lay a foundation for building relationships with the regional BIA offices and the tribal environmental professionals for future planning and research activities.

The Regional and City Planning Division contracted with the TAMU Hazards Resources and Recovery Center to design a workshop which identified the needs and steps for planning for climate change in Oklahoma.  This workshop was formulated, in particular, to address the climate concerns of tribes in the region.  The focus of the workshop was severe weather events, a uniformly highlighted concern.

The materials for this workshop were prepared by the TAMU partners.  Drs. Jourdan and Harris vetted these materials, sharing local knowledge to ensure that the workshop was place-based.  The workshop was held at the Climate Science Center.  In the morning, participants were engaged in an introduction to climate change.  Lunch was provided by the Division of Regional and City Planning.  In the afternoon, participants were led through a simple process for identifying vulnerabilities to climate change as well as the sources of data available to support planning efforts. 

Working with its TAMU partners, OU hosted a one day workshop for tribal environmental professionals on the topic of planning for extreme weather events as a part of climate change.  The workshop was attended by tribal environmental professionals representing at least 5 tribes, as well as a host of interdisciplinary scholars and students from OU who are engaged in climate change research.

This workshop was a vital part of increasing local knowledge regarding planning for climate change.  As intended, the workshop was used to leverage funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs for OU’s Planning Division to work with tribal partners interested in pursuing a deeper understanding of the potential impacts of climate change on their tribal members and lands now and into the future.  Working with the Southern Plains Office of the BIA, the Division was successful in receiving a grant to fund 5 such interventions.  Partners were competitively selected and include: the Citizen Potawatomie Nation, Kaw Nation, Otoe-Missouria Tribe, Fort Sill Apache Nation, and the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes.  Currently, Dr. Jourdan is working with collaborators Dr. John Harris and Dr. Meghan Wieters to establish an individual planning protocol for each of the selected tribes.  This work will take place between now and April 31, 2016.  

Assessing Vulnerability

Dr. Shannon Van Zandt, Texas A & M University

Hazard Mitigation

Jamie Hicks Masterson, Texas A&M University