Adapting to climate change on tribal land explored at upcoming summit

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension partners with tribal communities to help sustain water resources

Cooperative Extension presents the Native Waters on Arid Lands Tribal Summit to help tribal communities in the Great Basin and American Southwest adapt to climate change and build resiliency for their water resources and agriculture.


10/19/2016 | By: Tiffany Kozsan |

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension presents the second annual Native Waters on Arid Lands Tribal Summit, Nov. 9-10 in Las Vegas. The purpose of the summit is to help tribal communities in the Great Basin and American Southwest adapt to climate change, with a focus on water resources and agriculture.

"At this summit and through the Native Waters on Arid Lands Project, we're partnering with Native American tribes in the region to identify challenges and opportunities for sustaining water resources and strengthening tribal economies in the face of climate change," said Loretta Singletary of University of Nevada, Reno, co-project director for the Native Waters on Arid Lands Project, which is organizing the summit as part of its broader outreach initiative.

This year's keynote speakers include Staff Attorney Heather Whiteman Runs Him, with the Native American Rights Fund. She will be speaking on tribal water rights. Virgil Dupuis, from Salish Kootenai College, and John Phillips, from First Americans Land-Grant Consortium, will discuss tribal college internship programs. Harold Frazier, chairman for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, will talk about tribal concerns surrounding the Dakota Access pipeline and saving water for future generations.

Other session topics include:

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs Climate Program, training opportunities and tribal climate resilience examples in arid environments
  • Ground water and surface water relationships affecting reservation environments
  • Invigorating tribal economies through innovative water resource use
  • Tribal rangeland and livestock conservation practices
  • Traditional knowledge and ecology

The summit will be held 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Nov. 9 and 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., Nov. 10 at South Point Hotel & Casino, 9777 Las Vegas Blvd. South. The cost is $350 and covers meals and refreshments.

The Native Waters on Arid Lands Tribal Summit is funded by a five-year, $4.5 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture - Agriculture Food Research Initiative. The Native Waters on Arid Lands Project was one of five integrated research and Extension projects nationwide selected for USDA funding.

Partners in the project include University of Nevada, Reno; The University of Arizona; First Americans Land-Grant Consortium; Utah State University; Desert Research Institute; Ohio University; United States Geological Survey; and the Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program in Nevada and Arizona. Co-project directors include Singletary, along with Staci Emm of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension; Maureen McCarthy of University of Nevada, Reno; John Phillips of First Americans Land-Grant Consortium; Bonnie Colby, Karletta Chief and Trent Teegerstrom of The University of Arizona; Kynda Curtis and Eric Edwards of Utah State University; Mike Dettinger of United States Geological Survey; Derek Kauneckis of Ohio University; and Beverly Ramsey of Desert Research Institute.

For more information or to register for the summit, visit the summit's webpage, or contact Extension Educator Staci Emm, or 775-945-3444, ext. 10, or Summit Organizer Vicki Hebb, or 605-222-2062.


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