Climate Change Adaptation Research

The following are selected projects that are specifically conducted by CCASS/NNCAP-affiliated researchers. There are multiple other research projects related to tribal climate change adaptation at the University of Arizona and elsewhere.

Tribal Climate Change Profiles

Principal Investigator: Alison Meadow, Ph.D.

On behalf of NNCAP and with funding from the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice, UA personnel from several departments are conducting a pilot project to provide Tribal Climate Profiles to individual tribes in the Southwest with the aim of helping them begin climate adaptation planning.

Prototype profiles are currently being developed with the Gila River Indian Community, Sandia Pueblo, and the Pyramid Lake Paiute.

The UA development team includes Mike Crimmins and Karletta Chief from Soil, Water and Environmental Science and Cooperative Extension; Jeremy Weiss from School of Natural Resources and the Environment; Dan Ferguson from CLIMAS; and Alison Meadow and Mary Black from CCASS.

Tohono O'odham Nation Climate Change Adaptation Planning

Principal Investigator: Alison Meadow, Ph.D.

Since 2014, Alison has been working with the Tohono O'odham Nation Water Resources Department to develop a climate adaptation plan for the Tohono O'odham Nation. The plan is currently being reviewed by department directors and elected leaders of the Nation for feedback.

Climate Change Vulnerability of Native Americans in the Southwest

Prinicipal Investigator: Karletta Chief, Ph.D.

Native Americans in the Southwest are vulnerable to climate change because of their intimate relationship with the environment upon which their culture, tradition, and livelihood depend. Climate change may overwhelm tribes already stressed by economical and development challenges. A primary example is Nevada’s largest tribe, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, located at the terminal end of the Truckee River Basin, who are deeply connected—culturally, physically, and spiritually—to Pyramid Lake and its ecosystem.

This research project seeks to investigate the potential of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe to adapt to climate change. The project collaborators include the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, the University of Arizona, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and the U.S. Geological Survey. Funding for this project comes from a two-year grant from the U.S. Geological Survey Southwest Climate Science Center.

For more information on this project, please visit: