USRT’s Climate Adaptation Planning & Strategy Development project is being created in continuation with USRT’s Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (CCVA). This is a collaborative project between USRT’s four tribes’ leadership, tribal staff and membership, USRT staff, and Adaptation International.
The adaption plan is a broad, regional-scale covering up to 81,167 square miles (51,946,880 acres). Within the 81,167 square miles, there are approximately 10,164 miles of rivers that are anticipated to be affected by climate change. The proposed area includes all watersheds and wetlands within the Upper Snake River Watershed. Project area ecotypes/habitats include, but are not limited to, Great Basin sagebrush steppe, forest communities, riparian zones, and the culturally significant Camas Prairie. Rivers of focus will include the Upper Snake, Bruneau, Malheur, Owyhee, Portneuf, and Salmon. In general, terrestrial species of focus will be big game, reptiles, small mammals, and upland birds. Aquatic species of focus will include anadromous and resident fish and reptiles. Tribal enterprises of interest include, but are not limited to, agriculture/aquaculture, ranching, recreation programs, and fish and wildlife enhancement programs and harvest management. Upon the completion of the USRT CCVA, a refined list of ecotypes/habitats, rivers/waterbodies, plant and animal species, and tribal enterprises that are identified to be most vulnerable to climate change will guide what is to be included in and focused on in the adaptation plan.
USRT’s Commission and Technical Work Group (TWG) are using the findings from the USRT CCVA to construct adaption strategies for those resources (water, ecotypes/habitats, aquatic/terrestrial species, and tribal enterprises) both on USRT member tribes’ four reservations, and within the entire Upper Snake River Watershed that are deemed to be most susceptible to climate impacts. These strategies are being further developed into an adaptation workbook of actions and literature library that the tribes can use to enhance the resilience of a variety of critical habitats and species. In addition, this project will lead to the creation of on-site reservation workshops, climate resilience videos, and adaptation implementation projects within each USRT member tribe.