NWAL team documents impacts of COVID-19 in Indian Country

April 13, 2020. Since 2015, the Native Waters on Arid Lands (NWAL) project team has been working with extension experts and tribal communities from across the intermountain west to understand the impacts of climate change on water resources and agriculture, and to evaluate adaptation options for increasing climate resiliency on tribal reservations. Many of the challenges that we have identified in the course of our work are now compounded by impacts of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

In March 2020, the NWAL team began hosting weekly video conference calls with Tribal leaders, Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program (FRTEP) agents, and Tribal Colleges & Universities (TCUs) faculty from across the intermountain west to collect information about the impacts of COVID-19 on tribal farmers, ranchers, and communities and to identify actions that our team or our federal sponsors can take to help lessen the impacts of the pandemic.

Through these calls, we have documented some of the specific challenges and needs shared by each tribe, as well as their ideas for how to best move forward. We have published some of this information in an ArcGIS Story Map (link below), and are working in coordination with tribes and federal sponsors to develop a list of the most urgent issues and actionable requests.