The Interior Department is making $8 million available for American Indian and Alaska Native communities to adapt to and plan for the expected effects of climate change. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the funding on a trip to Alaska, where she toured some Alaska Native communities that are threatened by rising sea levels and coastal changes.
“Sea level rise, coastal erosion, drought and more frequent and severe weather events are impacting Alaska Native villages and American Indian tribal communities across the nation,” Jewell said in a statement.
“This funding can help tribes prepare and plan for climate-related events and build capacity to address these evolving challenges,” she said.
Half of the money will be available for climate planning and half for ocean and coastal planning.
“No one is impacted by climate change more than native communities in Alaska, but we have also seen serious problems developing for tribal communities across the West and on both coasts,” Kevin Washburn, Interior’s assistant secretary for Indian affairs, said in the statement.
“We must act to help protect these communities.”
Jewell toured some northwestern Alaska villages Monday at the invitation of the Alaska Federation of Natives, the Alaska Dispatch News reported.
She visited Kivalina, an Alaska Native community of about 400 on a barrier island that is constantly threatened by erosion, and is seeking funding to move the entire town to the mainland.