Newsletter

3rd Quarter 2023

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USRT’s Quarterly Newsletter

This newsletter is meant to go over what has been accomplished within last quarter and what is planned for the following by members of USRT’s staff along with general information, opportunities, and announcements.

Important Announcement

Trout Creek Ranch

Event is Aug 19-20 noon-noon Pacific

Registration is required by Sunday, Aug 6

The Upper Snake River Tribes Foundation (USRT) has partnered with the Oregon Desert Land Trust (ODLT) to host a tribal leadership and youth gathering at Trout Creek Ranch in Fields, Oregon to celebrate environmental stewardship, foster the relationship between tribal leadership and the youth, and connect with nature through activities and storytelling. We hope you can join us! 

The activities, food, and lodging will be provided. We have indoor sleeping options with shared rooms and bathrooms, gear for camping, and space for camper vehicles. There are also two private indoor bathrooms with showers to assist people sleeping outdoors. 

If you have any questions, email rhys.kutschbach@usrtf.org.

Register for Trout Creek Ranch!

USRT’s Updates and Announcements

Canyon County Signs Project

USRT is nearing the final stages of completing the Celebration Park cultural signs. Thanks to the work of Nolan Brown from Fort Hall and all of the guiding help from community and chair members, the history and current story of the Boise Valley People are showing through. Take a look at the progress of the signs, and reach out to Nolan Brown at nbrown@sbtribes.com if you have any further suggestions!

View Signs

Coming this Fall

USRT will start conducting outreach with our member tribes for the Hazard Mitigation Project. As a reminder, this project surveys potential climate risks within the tribes to determine a mitigation plan for the purpose of having it approved by FEMA. This will help tribes access hazard funding it currently cannot.

USRT is also currently working on obtaining funding from EPA’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grant in order to transition tribal households away from wood-burning stoves and towards electric.

USRT Executive Director


This past quarter, USRT’s Executive Director, Scott Hauser, continued work on various projects aimed toward the goal of restoring and protecting waterways of the Upper Snake River. The projects Scott has been working on include the Hells Canyon Complex (HCC), the Columbia River Treaty, various USRT climate projects (including TRAD and the Tribal Climate Hazard Mitigation Project), work on the Upper Snake River Loss Assessment, and continued research and application for grants from the BIA and EPA. Scott has also continued attendance with the National Tribal Water Council as well as the Columbia Basin Collaborative (CBC) to represent the interests of the Upper Snake River Tribes. Scott has also attended various meetings for the purpose of further informing his projects.


For the next quarter, Scott plans on continuing with these projects, including the expected release of the HCC supplemental environmental impact statement. Scott will also be co-presenting, with Dennis Daw, an Upper Snake River hatchery recommendation to the CBC Blocked Areas Workgroup. The hatchery would supply a dedicated source of salmon for the Upper Snake River member tribes. Scott and Dennis also look forward to a monitoring visit from USRT’s BIA project officer to discuss recent work completed with BIA funding, including the loss assessment.

Fish and Wildlife Program


This past quarter, USRT’s Fish and Wildlife Director, Dennis Daw, worked on various projects. Dennis continues working on the Hells Canyon Complex relicensing process, a proposed pump storage project on Anderson Ranch Reservoir, and finding regional support for the construction of a fish hatchery for the Upper Snake Basin through the Columbia Basin Collaborative. Dennis has also presented a resolution to the Tribal Council of Duck Valley for authorization to apply for the USFWS Tribal Wildlife Grant that could help further fund the anadromous fish loss assessment.

Dennis has also attended various meetings for the purpose of further informing his work for USRT.


For the next quarter, Dennis plans to continue his work on the Hells Canyon FERC process, finding regional support for the fish hatchery, and seeking grants to further fund the Loss Assessment.

Youth and Community Climate Engagement

This quarter, USRT’s Outreach and Education Coordinator, Rhys Kutschbach, has coordinated and executed various education projects. Rhys lead an in-person lesson about the flow of energy in the food chain using owl pellets at the Boys and Girls Club in Fort Hall as well as a lesson on gardening in extreme heat using zucchini plants at Tuwakii Nobi in Burns. Rhys was also successful in coordinating a 4-day overnight camp with 18 campers and 3 chaperones at the McCall Outdoor Science School in McCall, Idaho.


For next quarter, Rhys plans on hosting more in-person lessons for interested tribes. Along with this, they hope to further develop a set of educational at-home lessons, activities, videos and worksheets based off of USRT’s climate curriculum that guardians can sign up for to receive via email.

Along with this, Rhys plans on attending the Trout Creek Ranch Gathering in Fields, OR on August 19-20 and the Salmon Fest in Stanley, ID to lead educational activities there.

Sign up for At-Home Educational Packets

Photos from this summer’s MOSS camp

Announcements

USDA Solicits Nominations to the Tribal Advisory Committee

Deadline: August 14, 2023

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will establish a Tribal Advisory Committee and is requesting nominations for membership. The notice is among USDA’s efforts to remove barriers to service for tribal governments, citizens, and tribal nations. Authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill, the Tribal Advisory Committee is tasked with providing advice and guidance to the Secretary of Agriculture on matters relating to tribal and Indian affairs. As a federal advisory committee, the Tribal Advisory Committee will provide invaluable recommendations on USDA programs and policies, including through an annual report to Congress. Activities from this committee will not replace new and continuing consultation required by Executive Order 13175 and USDA’s government-to-government relationship with tribes. This advisory committee will be supported by representatives from the USDA Office of Tribal Relations and the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior, with the Office of Tribal Relations serving as administrative lead for this advisory committee. The nomination period for membership to serve on this advisory committee will be open through August 14, 2023.

Exciting Opportunities for Youth

Paid Summer Internship with Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Do you know of a recent or future graduate that is interested in environmental science and being in the outdoors? The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is looking to take on these students and provide them with hands-on experience. Interns can look forward to being trained in taking and testing water samples as well as wilderness first aid. Applications are released on the DEQ website in late February and hiring decisions are made by early May. For more information, check out the DEQ’s website or contact their Human Resource Specialist kimberly.hanson@deq.idaho.gov.

DEQ Website

Seeking Applications: EPA’s First-Ever National Environmental Youth Advisory Council (NEYAC)

Applications Due: August 22, 2023

NEYAC will provide independent advice and recommendations to Administrator Michael S. Regan on how to increase EPA’s efforts to address a range of environmental issues as they relate to youth communities. The NEYAC will provide a critical perspective on how the impacts of climate change and other environmental harms affect youth communities. EPA is seeking to fill 16 positions with members between the ages of 16 and 29.

An informational webinar will be held on August 7 from 9-10AM Pacific

Tribal Resilience Opportunities for Indigenous Youth and Young Professionals

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Branch of Tribal Climate Resilience (TCR) supports tribes in building resilience to meet the complex challenges faced by federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native Villages. Youth are the next generation of tribal leaders confronting the challenges posed by rapid technology and environmental change. The resources provided are for tribal youth and emerging leaders to come together to help build resilience through the next generation.

See List of Opportunities

Grant and Comment Opportunities

Inflation Reduction Act: Open Funding Opportunities

This document highlights Inflation Reduction Act funding opportunities that are open for application for state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments; nonprofit organizations; agricultural producers; manufacturers; and more. The list includes information on the Inflation Reduction Act program, the deadline for applying, and a link to the application, where applicable. For more information on the full set of funding programs in the Inflation Reduction Act, refer to the guidebook:

EPA Solar for All 

Applications Due: September 26, 2023

President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act authorized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), a historic $27 billion investment to combat the climate crisis by mobilizing financing and private capital for greenhouse gas- and air pollution-reducing projects in communities across the country. As part of this program, EPA is launching a $7 billion Solar for All competition — designed to spur the deployment of residential distributed solar energy to lower energy bills for millions of Americans and catalyze transformation in markets serving low-income and disadvantaged communities. Solar for All will tackle the financial and non-financial barriers that limit the ability of low-income and disadvantaged communities across the country to benefit from the rapid growth in distributed solar capacity, thus advancing the Biden-Harris Administration’s climate and environmental justice goals.

Apply

Grid Resilience State/Tribal Formula Grant Program

Deadline for Federally Recognized Indian Tribes: August 31, 2023

Authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and administered through the Grid Deployment Office (GDO), the Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants program is designed to strengthen and modernize America’s power grid against wildfires, extreme weather, and other natural disasters that are exacerbated by the climate crisis. 

The program will distribute funding to states, territories, and federally recognized Indian tribes, including Alaska Native Regional Corporations and Alaska Native Village Corporations, over five years based on a formula that includes factors such as population size, land area, probability and severity of disruptive events, and a locality’s historical expenditures on mitigation efforts. The states, territories, and tribes will then award these funds to a diverse set of projects, with priority given to efforts that generate the greatest community benefit providing clean, affordable, and reliable energy.

The FY 22 and FY 23 application deadline was extended for Indian tribes, including Alaska Native Corporations, until August 31 at 11:59 p.m. ET (with a mail-in option post-marked by this date). Indian tribes, including Alaska Native Corporations, are now eligible to submit a single application as a Tribal Consortium. GDO will assist Tribes in modifying a submitted application if they wish to join a Tribal consortium.

Events and Webinars

Tapping into the Inflation Reduction Act

The Evergreen Collective, NDN Collective, and the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals held a webinar going over the Inflation Reduction Act. See the recording in the button below as well as the resources shared in the webinar:

Webinar Recording

Grant Writing Workshop through BIA

July 26 10:30-12 PM MDT

This workshop will cover the fundamentals of writing a competitive funding proposal so that your grant writing efforts are more effective and bring in more dollars. This presentation is intended for Tribal staff, intertribal organizations, or tribal citizens with an emphasis on climate change programming (vulnerability assessments, adaptation planning, or risk assessments). This 90 minute workshop is interactive with open Q&A. Information presented will be relevant for other funding opportunities.

Call in +1 202-640-1187 

Phone conference ID 202 963 431#

Join Virtual Event

FY23 Annual Awards Program FAQ Webinar: Tribal Climate Resilience Program

August 2 12-1:30 PM MDT

Learn about available Bureau of Indian Affairs Branch of Tribal Climate Resilience funding to support Tribal adaptation planning and preparedness, capacity building, youth and implementation activities. The Annual Awards Program seeks to help Tribes address climate change impacts, ocean and coastal resource management, and relocation, managed retreat, and protect-in-place issues and decision-making processes.

Register

Workshop for Building Drought Resilience with Missouri Basin Area Tribes

September 6-8, 2023

Kwataqnuk Resort and Casino Polson, Montana

The Workshop for Building Drought Resilience with Missouri Basin Area Tribes will convene tribal resource managers and climate partners to discuss the current state of drought and climate on tribal lands in the Missouri River Basin, provide updates on drought tools and resources for tribal nations, and discuss high-priority data and information needs and gaps

Learn More

Mnikiwakan Water is Sacred Summit

August 15-17

MKW recognizes that many Indigenous Peoples once collectively held their water rights in common, honoring water as a relative, and we seek to help deepen ways to surface the important work that Indigenous water protectors and champions are carrying out. Recognizing those who seek to place the rights of water back into the hands of their communities, uplifting a collective Indigenous water sovereignty citizenry. We seek to identify and illuminate approaches to Indigenous water collaboration that hold the power to collectively address the escalating water issues many Native communities may be experiencing. We seek not only to co-innovate ways to respond to water issues, but to go beyond, and explore future possibilities through upstream collective thinking.

Learn More and Register

More Resources

EnviroAtlas Eco-Health Relationship Browser

The Eco-Health Relationship browser illustrates scientific evidence for linkages between human health and ecosystem services. This interactive tool provides information about several major ecosystems found in the US, the services they provide, and how those services may affect people

Go to Browser Page

Environmental Quality Index (EQI)

The EQI presents data in five domains: air, water, built, and sociodemographic environments to provide a county-by-county snapshot of overall environmental quality across the entire US. The EQUI helps researchers better understand how health outcomes relate to cumulative environmental exposures that typically are viewed separately.

Go to EQI Page

EJScreen: Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool

EPA has developed a new environmental justice (EJ) mapping and screening tool called EJScreen. It is based on nationally consistent data and an approach that combines environmental and demographic indicators in maps and reports.

Go to EJScreen Page

Biden-Harris Administration Inflation Reduction Act Guidebook for Tribal Nations

This guidebook provides an overview of the clean energy, climate mitigation and resilience, agriculture, and conservation-related funding programs in the Inflation Reduction Act for which Tribes are eligible. The guidebook also provides information on how Tribes can leverage new and expanded clean energy tax credits to reduce pollution and energy costs on Tribal lands. 

Link to Guidebook

For any further questions or comments, contact our staff: