USDA Grant Will Help American Indian Tribes Fight Climate Change

Indian Land Tenure Foundation Awarded Federal Grant to Help American Indian Tribes Combat Climate Change

Little Canada, Minnesota (October 14, 2015) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded the Indian Land Tenure Foundation a $295,000 grant to help American Indian tribes combat climate change.

The Indian Land Tenure Foundation will use the Conservation Innovation Grant to develop carbon sequestration projects on over 200,000 total acres on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, Comanche Nation Reservation in Oklahoma, Santa Ana Pueblo in New Mexico, and lands in South Dakota belonging to several Lakota and Dakota nations.  The Spatial Informatics Group-Natural Assets Laboratory (SIG-NAL) and the American Carbon Registry (ACR) are partnering with the Indian Land Tenure Foundation on the project. The grant will be matched by an additional $295,000 of cash and in-kind support from the project partners.

“In the past, outside groups have exploited natural resources on Indian reservations with little economic benefit for American Indian communities,” said Erick Giles, who runs the Indian Land Tenure Foundation’s program to combat climate change. “Carbon sequestration projects make it possible for American Indian communities to benefit economically by protecting undeveloped lands and managing agricultural and rangelands to protect natural resources.”

The Indian Land Tenure Foundation will develop the first greenhouse gas offset market guidance specific to tribal lands, will launch pilot carbon offset projects and will built an education network to help tribal leaders, land managers, and landowners understand the conservation benefits and economic opportunities for managing carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural and rangeland systems.

“We will offer outreach and technical support focused on carbon offset markets and low-carbon emitting agricultural and conservation practices,” said John Gunn, executive director of SIG-NAL. “The project will develop capacity within the tribal land departments so they can better manage agricultural and range lands that provide carbon sequestration and water quality benefits.”

The Indian Land Tenure Foundation is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping American Indian nations and people recover traditional homelands and sacred sites to revitalize and preserve Indian culture, create prosperity for Indian communities, and protect natural resources and Indian lands.

SIG-NAL is a nonprofit organization that uses science to connect economic and environmental interests by accounting for the full value of natural assets. SIG-NAL integrates the science of natural assets with tools, policies and management decision-making for public benefit. SIG-NAL makes science accessible to decision makers and the marketplace.

American Carbon Registry (ACR), a nonprofit enterprise of Winrock International, was founded in 1996 as the first private voluntary green gas registry in the world.  ACR addresses climate change by bringing buyers and sellers of carbon credits together.

Email John Gunn for more information about the project. Or follow @NatAssetsLab on Twitter.

Erick Giles (right), who directs the Indian Land Tenure Foundation’s program to combat climate change, discusses the carbon benefits of adding compost to rangelands.

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