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CSKT developing Climate Change Strategic Plan

By Adriana Fehrs

A Climate Change Oversight Committee has been organized. The committee is continuing research and eight members, including Durglo, are enrolled in an online ‘climate academy’, “A think tank,” says Durglo. They get together once a month to discuss important issues dealing with climate change. Pictured Left to right, back row: Chauncey Means, Kari Eneas, Mike Durglo, and Jim Durglo. Front row: Roian Matt, Whisper Camel-Means, Stephanie Gillin, and Martin Zobel. (Photo courtesy Whisper Camel-Means) A Climate Change Oversight Committee has been organized. The committee is continuing research and eight members, including Durglo, are enrolled in an online ‘climate academy’, “A think tank,” says Durglo. They get together once a month to discuss important issues dealing with climate change. Pictured Left to right, back row: Chauncey Means, Kari Eneas, Mike Durglo, and Jim Durglo. Front row: Roian Matt, Whisper Camel-Means, Stephanie Gillin, and Martin Zobel. (Photo courtesy Whisper Camel-Means)

POLSON — After the finalization of the CSKT Climate Change Strategic Plan in November, CSKT has organized a committee to begin work.

Mike Durglo, Environmental Science Environmental Protection Agency Clean Water Act Federal Credential Inspector/ CSKT Division of Environmental Protection Manager, is leading the committee. He says developing the plan took about a year. “It’s a living document so it can be changed as we go along.” Now that a Climate Change Oversight Committee has been organized, monthly meetings will discuss future action.

The CSKT Natural Resources Department received funding from the Roundtable on the Crown of the Continent and the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative to support the efforts to develop the strategic plan.

There are nine ‘sectors’ they focus on when dealing with climate change: forestry, land, fish, wildlife, water, air quality, infrastructure, people, and culture. Durglo says the plan isn’t all about adaptation; “We’re not just adapting to the climate change, but we are looking at ways we can deter climate change.”

The Strategic Plan states, “Increases in average temperatures on the reservation may significantly affect environmental, natural resources, and infrastructures on which the Tribes have relied on. The potential impacts of climate change may include loss of habitat, reduced viability of fish and wildlife species, damage to forest resources, reduces air and water quality and quantity, damage to infrastructure and facilities, and associated risks to human health and welfare.”

CSKT finalized a Climate Change Strategic Plan back in November. Now that a Climate Change Oversight Committee has been organized, monthly meetings will discuss future action. (Courtesy photo) CSKT finalized a Climate Change Strategic Plan back in November. Now that a Climate Change Oversight Committee has been organized, monthly meetings will discuss future action. (Courtesy photo)

The committee is continuing research and eight members, including Durglo, are enrolled in an online ‘climate academy’, “A think tank,” says Durglo. They get together once a month to discuss important issues dealing with climate change. They team recently turned in a six page summary of their project on Friday. The actual twenty-page final presentation focuses on Traditional, Ecological Knowledge (TEK) information gathered from the Kootenai Culture Committee and the Salish Pend d’Oreille Culture Committee. “It’s a ongoing process; we plan on continuing revisions as we do more research,” says Durglo. “We are always continuing to look for resources in the form of funding, technical assistance.” The committee is in the process of building relationships, and cooperation, with other entities such as the forest service, Glacier National Park, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The committee is also beginning a White Bark Pine inventory on the Flathead Indian Reservation. The pine is not considered a primary victim of climate change, but has been greatly impacted since the 1970’s, mostly due to a growing pine bark beetle infestation.

Durglo says there are only eight tribes to have developed a strategic plan. “CSKT is the sixth tribe [to develop a climate change strategic plan] and so there have been other tribes reaching out to CSKT to get help on their own plan.”

For the near future, they hope to engage the community more, either by hosting community events, or talks.

For more information on the CSKT Climate Change Strategic Plan visit the CSKT Environmental Protection page at www.cskt.org/tr/epa.htm

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