Interior Announces $45 Million Investment To Build Climate Resilience in Tribal Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The Department of the Interior (DOI) has announced a $45 million investment in tribal communities to address the disproportionate impacts of climate change. These Tribal Climate Resilience projects will support tribes and tribal organizations in adaptation planning, climate implementation actions, ocean and coastal management planning, capacity building, relocation, managed retreat, and protect-in-place planning for climate risks. The announcement is supported by $20 million in funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and $25 million from fiscal year 2022 annual appropriations.

“Indigenous communities are facing unique and intensifying climate-related challenges that pose an existential threat to tribal economies, infrastructure, lives and livelihoods,” said  Secretary Deb Haaland.  “Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are making an unprecedented investment in Indian Country to help ensure that Native communities will have clean air, drinkable water, fertile soil and an overall good quality of life for generations to come.”

“Funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is essential to supporting the federal government’s treaty and trust responsibility to protect tribal sovereignty and revitalize tribal communities,” said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “We must invest in climate resilience on tribal lands to help respond to current and future impacts of climate change. This program allows tribal communities to identify and address priorities based on the unique needs and location of each tribe.”

The 124 awards will support 76 tribes and 8 tribal organizations and directly support additional tribes through cooperative planning and shared information and tools. A summary of awards by tribe, title, funded amount, and project description is provided on the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Tribal Climate Resilience website.

DOI held three tribal consultations to inform implementation of the new funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This year’s awards include 17 for a new category that supports implementation of climate adaptation strategies, and six for a new category that supports implementation of community relocation, managed retreat, or protect-in-place actions.

Since 2011, BIA’s Branch of Tribal Climate Resilience has awarded over $120 million to tribes and intertribal organizations for climate adaptation, ocean and coastal management, and community-driven relocation efforts.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a total of $466 million to the BIA over five years, including $216 million for climate resilience programs. Of that funding, $130 million is provided for community relocation, $86 million is provided for tribal climate resilience and adaptation projects, and $43.2 million will be available to spend annually for five years.