Water for Agriculture Challenge Area: Enhancing the Climate Resiliency of Native American Water and Land Resources (USDA-NIFA, $4.5m) in collaboration with Desert Research Institute, University of Arizona, Utah State University, and First Americans Land Grant Consortium. https://nativewaters-aridlands.com/
Enhancing the climate resiliency of agricultural water resources on reservation lands of the Great Basin and Southwestern US is threatened by the risk of prolonged drought and flash floods and projected declines in surface and groundwater supplies. Native American tribes on arid lands are especially vulnerable to climate change due to marginal soils, geographic isolation, and ongoing challenges to quantify agricultural water rights. Research and extension experts from 1862 and 1994 land grant institutions partner with tribal communities to assess the impacts of climate change on future water supplies, identify barriers and solutions, and evaluate and prioritize actions to enhance the climate resiliency of tribal agricultural water resources and food systems. A participatory research approach ensures that the local knowledge and perspectives of tribal communities remain at the forefront of the project, providing for social learning while protecting Native American cultural traditions and sensitive information. The project goals are to identify and address science information needs to support tribes in efforts to sustain or adopt innovative strategies to enhance the climate resilience of agricultural water resources and food systems as well as to support tribal college efforts to strengthen teaching, research, and outreach expertise on reservation lands.