The UW Climate Impacts Group, along with nine community, nonprofit, and university partners, is launching a program of community-led, justice-oriented climate adaptation work across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. The Northwest Climate Resilience Collaborative will be founded with a five-year, $5.6 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
The program will be one of eleven across the country funded through NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments program.
“The Northwest Climate Resilience Collaborative will advance efforts to adapt to climate change in frontline communities — communities that have been excluded from spaces of power and who are disproportionately facing the impacts of climate change,” said a press release.
The program will be led by Climate Impacts Group Director Amy Snover, with several community members and university partners steering the direction of the Collaborative as members of the Leadership Team. The Leadership Team will include Snover along with Aurora Martin, co-executive director of Front and Centered; Don Sampson, climate change program director of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians; Jennifer Allen, associate professor and senior fellow of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University and Russell Callender, director of Washington Sea Grant.
“Many incredible organizations across Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington are joining with the UW Climate Impacts Group to work toward a future where all people and communities can thrive,” Snover said. “It is my hope that the Northwest Climate Resilience Collaborative will push the climate adaptation field toward equity and justice. I am proud that the Climate Impacts Group is helping to steward this shift, guided by the leadership of frontline communities, and I am honored by the trust and collaboration from these community partners.”
Projects led by the Collaborative will build climate resilience in rural communities and coastal tribal communities, while leveraging the successes from these projects to inform policy and work in other regions. The Collaborative is innovative in the climate adaptation sciences and services fields for its community engagement model; explicit focus on community priorities, equity and justice; and for centering the voices of frontline communities in its effort.
“This Collaborative aligns with Front and Centered’s approach which is data driven and follows the leadership, knowledge, and expertise of frontline communities disproportionately impacted by climate and environmental change,” Martin said. “We are excited to work with our partners to center equity — reducing uneven barriers to participation and climate preparedness and resilience — so that our communities and future generations can thrive.”
In the first year of the Resilience Collaborative, leadership and partners working in coastal tribal communities will focus on assessing the state of climate readiness among Northwest coastal tribes. From there, they will identify steps to accelerate tribal adaptation efforts. Members of the Collaborative will also convene large-group discussions focused on implementation.
“The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians is excited to join the UW and the other Resilience Collaborative partners on this effort,” Sampson said. “We understand the importance of working together to increase our impact and this project has the potential for improving tribal climate resilience, which is a priority for ATNI’s Climate Change program.”
Leaders and partners working in rural communities will study how rural values are reflected in climate adaptation priorities, the potential consequences of climate change for rural communities in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, and economic strategies for implementing climate action. Collaborative members will work with farmworkers in the specialty fruit and vegetable crop industry to identify opportunities to prepare for the changing climate.
“American Farmland Trust is looking forward to collaborating with this amazing group of partners to work to further resiliency and climate justice in rural communities in Oregon, Washington and Idaho,” Gabrielle Roesch-McNally, American Farmland Trust’s Women for the Land Director, said. “As an implementation partner, American Farmland Trust will utilize our peer-to-peer networking model to reach women, underserved audiences and other natural resource managers to better engage populations who have yet to be adequately included in this work and who are likely to experience very severe disruptions from climate change.”
In addition to working with specific rural and coastal tribal communities, the Collaborative is designed to accelerate climate adaptation in the Northwest, across the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments network and in state and federal climate resilience programs and policies. This will be accomplished through a variety of initiatives that transfer successful community-based innovations to similar communities; that influence the state and federal entities shaping the laws, policies and investment strategies that will determine future community resilience; and that invest in community capacity to help them reduce their vulnerability to a changing climate while pursuing their own community values.
The Resilience Collaborative is “breaking the mold of traditional climate adaptation efforts,” Snover said, “which, while important and necessary, will not be sufficient for preparing for the impacts of climate change. As the climate continues to change, impacting our economies, ecosystems and communities in ways that are varied and inequitable, this work has never been more urgent.”
The Northwest Climate Resilience Collaborative will consist of the following partners:
Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians: Mr. Don Sampson; Dr. Chas Jones
American Farmland Trust: Ms. Addie Candib; Dr. Gabrielle Roesch-McNally
Front and Centered: Ms. Aurora Martin; Dr. Esther Min
Headwaters Economics: Dr. Megan Lawson; Ms. Patricia Hernandez
Idaho State University: Dr. Katrina Running
Portland State University: Dr. Jennifer Allen; Dr. Liliana Caughman; Dr. Vivek Shandas
UW Climate Impacts Group: Dr. Amy Snover; Dr. Meade Krosby; Dr. Guillaume Mauger; Dr. Crystal Raymond; Dr. Jason Vogel
Washington Sea Grant: Dr. Russell Callender; Mr. Jackson Blalock; Dr. Melissa Poe
Washington State University: Mr. Chad Kruger; Dr. Sonia Hall; Dr. Georgine Yorgey; Dr. Bernadita Sallato
Western Washington University: Dr. Marco Hatch