Department of Commerce, NOAA Announce $2 Million To Support Tribal Drought Resilience

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Commerce and NOAA announced approximately $2 million in funding for projects to support tribal drought resilience as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. This investment will help tribal nations address current and future drought risk on tribal lands across the Western U.S. while informing decision making and strengthening tribal drought resilience in a changing climate. 

“Drought poses a threat to the culture, economy, health and food availability of tribal nations,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, a key pillar of Bidenomics, enhancing drought resilience with tribal partners in the West is a crucial step in building a climate-ready nation and resilient communities.”

Proposals may request funding of up to $700,000 total to be disseminated in the first year and expended over three years in the form of cooperative agreements. A total of three to five projects may be funded depending on the project budget requested. 

Applications should be developed by, or in full partnership with, tribal nations to fund the implementation of activities that address current and future drought risk in the context of a changing climate on tribal lands across the Western U.S. 

“Thanks to President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, we are excited to provide funds for the implementation of drought resilience activities,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “These investments will help with drought planning and risk mitigation for tribal communities to prepare for and cope with the impacts of drought.” 

For the purposes of this competition, the “Western U.S.” is considered to be the areas within the following five NIDIS Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) regions: California-Nevada, Intermountain West, Missouri River Basin, Pacific Northwest and Southern Plains. 

Competition activities could include, but are not limited to: conducting drought vulnerability assessments; developing drought plans and communication plans; and identifying primary drought impacts, optimal drought indicators and/or triggers. Additional activities could include improving drought monitoring; developing drought dashboards with relevant drought data and real-time information; and demonstrating the application of drought data and information to enhance decision-making.

If the primary applicant is not a tribal government, full partnership with a tribal nation can be demonstrated by including at least one full investigator representing a federally recognized tribe on the project, and indicating through the budget and budget justification how funds are being disseminated to the tribe.

“NOAA’s Climate Program Office and the National Integrated Drought Information System take the responsibility to engage with tribal partners very seriously, and this funding opportunity is an example of that commitment,” said Wayne Higgins, Ph.D., Director of the Climate Program Office. “With climate change impacts further stressing the water supply in the West, it is imperative that we work together to take on the drought challenges in our tribal communities.”

The NOAA Climate Program Office’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) anticipates a funding allocation of approximately $2 million, pending the availability of funds in fiscal year 2024.