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Published September 20, 2023
Western Water Assessment and the University of Wyoming Center for Climate, Water and People awarded three recipients grants through the “Adapting to Climate Change in Wyoming” program.
The Wyoming partner organizations each received $30,000 to build community resilience to changes in climate and other stressors in underserved communities in the state over the next two years.
Grant recipients are the Wyoming Outdoor Council for a project titled “Helping Rural Wyoming Organize for Climate Action”; the Greater Yellowstone Coalition for its “Indigenous Youth Culture and Climate Camps” project; and the town of Jackson for a project titled “Participatory Planning for Equitable Climate Action in Jackson, Wyoming.”
“The goal of this funding opportunity is to support existing grassroots Wyoming efforts and share inspiring actions that are being taken across the state,” says Corrie Knapp, the project’s leader, selection committee member and UW Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources associate professor.
Funding comes from the University of Colorado-Boulder’s Western Water Assessment, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Adaptation Partnerships regional team, which works with communities and resource managers to conduct science and build resilience to climate impacts.
Wyoming communities face increasing climate-related risks, including wildfire, drought, flooding and heat waves. The program’s funding competition provides a rare and important opportunity to directly support adaptation and build climate resilience in underserved communities in the state, Knapp says. Seven applicants submitted brief, five-page descriptions of their projects. The competition particularly encouraged proposals from historically underserved entities, including Indigenous and small rural communities, she adds.
A selection committee representing Western Water Assessment, UW, the Wyoming Stockgrowers Land Trust, the Wind River Indian Reservation and an at-large Wyoming representative reviewed the applications. The committee ranked proposals based on community interest; resources and networks; budget and timeline; partnerships; clarity about how resilience or adaptation would be built through the project; innovation; and other factors.
Goals of the recipients are:
-- The Wyoming Outdoor Council’s funded project aims to support residents of two rural communities.
“Our main objective is to remove barriers for citizens in Pinedale and Cody and help ensure they can access all available resources to bring about their homegrown climate solutions,” says John Burrows, the council’s policy director.
-- The Greater Yellowstone Coalition is collaborating with UW graduate student Janna Black to develop Indigenous youth culture and climate camps that will support Indigenous ways of knowing, foster climate adaptive strategies and prepare youth for the future on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
“These intergenerational land-based camps will focus on preserving cultural traditions while fostering a passion for environmental sustainability,” Black says.
-- The town of Jackson and Voices Jackson Hole will engage historically disadvantaged and vulnerable residents in developing Jackson’s Community Sustainability Plan.
“The town of Jackson ranks worst in the country with respect to income inequality, which destabilizes the community and threatens to undermine its resilience to the shocks and stressors of climate change,” says Tanya Anderson, Jackson’s community development coordinator.
“The three projects come from identified community needs and will build the resilience of Wyoming’s people to changes in climate they are already experiencing,” Knapp says.
Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado-Boulder is funded largely by NOAA and provides information, resources and support to decision-makers and community groups about climate risk and adaptation.
The UW Haub School advances the understanding and resolution of complex environment and natural resource challenges through education, research, collaborative problem-solving and community engagement.
The UW Center for Climate, Water and People envisions a West where all people thrive amid a changing climate.
For more information about the grant program, email Knapp at email@example.com.