Tribal Relations


NOAA's Tribal Relations Team

NOAA is committed to developing policies and procedures that improve its relations and cooperative activities with Federally-recognized Indian tribes on a government-to-government basis.  NOAA’s Tribal Relations Team works to ensure an accountable process for meaningful and timely consultations on policies with tribal implications.  Please click here for a list of NOAA's Tribal Team Members [PDF].


Department of the Interior Announces Two BIA Funding Opportunities

On April 22, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development released two funding opportunities for tribes:

Applications for both funding opportunities are due July 8, 2016.


Tribal Informational Webinar – Please Join Us

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (together, the Services) finalized two rules (Listing Endangered and Threatened Species and Designating Critical Habitat; Implementing Changes to the Regulations for Designating Critical HabitatInteragency Cooperation—ESA; Definition of Destruction or Adverse Modification of Critical Habitat) and apolicy on February 11, 2016, to improve the process of designating areas of critical habitat and consulting on effects of federal actions on critical habitat.

To follow up on these final rules and policy, we would like to now take the opportunity to host an informational webinar for Tribes.  This will be an opportunity for Tribes to learn more about these rules and policy and ask questions.  For additional information, please click on all of the active links above and below in this e-mail.

What:  Tribal Informational Webinar

Date:  March 11, 2016
Time:  1;00 pm - 2:00 pm EST
Toll free call-in number:  1-877-951-0854, Passcode 2237872 #
Webinar Link:

We look forward to your participation.


Invasive Species Advisory Committee; Call for Nominations

The U.S. Department of the Interior, on behalf of the interdepartmental National Invasive Species Council (NISC), proposes to appoint new members to the Invasive Species Advisory Committee (ISAC). The Secretary of the Interior, acting as administrative lead, is requesting nominations for qualified persons to serve as members of the ISAC. Nominations must be postmarked by February 18, 2016 and complete details may be found online.


NOAA Fisheries Releases National Climate Science Strategy

NOAA Fisheries' has released a National Climate Science Strategy. The purpose of the strategy is to increase the production, delivery, and use of climate-related information in fulfilling NOAA Fisheries’ mission. This and the full report are posted online at The Strategy is part of NOAA Fisheries proactive approach to collect and provide information to resource managers and affected sectors to help them better prepare for and respond to changing climate and ocean conditions. Implementation will help reduce impacts to and increase resilience of marine resources and the many people, businesses and communities that depend on them. While the strategy is focused on strengthening the NOAA Fisheries science enterprise needed to prepare for and respond to a changing climate, NOAA Fisheries depends on many science partners inside and outside of the agency to meet these needs. Input, engagement, and support for the Strategy from science and non-science sectors is critical to its success. In 2015-16, Science Centers and Regional Offices will lead development of Regional Action Plans to implement the Strategy at the regional level over the next 3-5 years. We are committed to working with science and management partners in development of these Regional Action Plans. For more information, please contact Roger Griffis, Climate Change Coordinator at 301-427-8134 or


Call for comments: The Federal Interagency Strategic Plan for Environmental Justice Framework

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as a convener of the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (EJIWG), is asking for public comment on the draft FY 2016-2018 Action Agenda Framework. The Framework is the EJIWG’s three year strategic plan to advance environmental justice. Stakeholders and the general public can review the Framework and submit comments, starting today through September 25, 2015, by visiting The EJIWG plays a central role in creating healthy and sustainable communities by bringing together the federal family to address critical environmental justice issues. Established by President Clinton’s Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, the EJIWG provides a forum for federal agencies to collectively advance environmental justice principles. The EJIWG works as a federal family to increase local community capacity to promote and implement innovative and comprehensive solutions to environmental justice concerns. During the public comment period for the Framework, EPA will conduct two national webinars: To register, please go to For more information or persons needing reasonable accommodations, please send an email to Materials for each presentation will be forwarded to participants a week before each webinar. Audiences are encouraged to participate and may request additional informational sessions if needed. However, participation in the webinars is not required to submit comments. Comments should be sent to For more information about the EJIWG, visit:


Tribal Resource Guide to the Department of Commerce

The U.S. Department of Commerce is pleased to make available the Tribal Resource Guide to the Department of Commerce.  This guide is an important first step in revamping the Department’s work with tribes to spur even greater collaboration with tribes and native business enterprises. In addition, the guide introduces the Secretary's new Senior Advisor for Native American Affairs,  the policy of the Department regarding tribes (which include references to the United States’ trust responsibility to the tribes and native peoples of the United States and the advances tribes have made in the Self-Determination Era), and includes contact information for each of the bureaus’ tribal liaisons in order to make it easier for tribes to interact with the Department. In addition this guide includes working links to other resources (web pages, our tribal consultation policy, etc.) within NOAA and the Department.


NOAA plans increased 2015 Arctic nautical charting operations

Coordinating with Coast Guard for safe shipping route from Unimak Pass through Bering Strait
As commercial shipping traffic increases in the Arctic, NOAA is taking major steps to update nautical charts in the region. NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey will use data collected by two of its own ships, Rainier and Fairweather, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Healy and a private sector hydrographic contractor to cover nearly 12,000 nautical miles in the Arctic  for use in updating its navigational charts. The NOAA-led Arctic marine corridor project will work with the Coast Guard to asses the safety of a potential Arctic shipping route from Unimak Island, the largest of the Aleutian Islands, through the Bering Strait to the Chukchi Sea, as proposed in the USCG Port Access Route Study for the region. The Coast Guard will continue to take public comments prior to making a final decision on the proposed route. Altogether, the ships will collect about 12,000 nautical miles of data along the four nautical mile wide corridor. In addition to measuring depths, they will search for seamounts and other underwater dangers to navigation. Although Healy’s primary mission is not hydrography, Coast Survey can use Healy’s data to identify significant differences from current nautical charts, and prioritize future NOAA hydrographic surveying efforts. Other work planned for this summer includes joint hydrographic surveys by Rainier and Fairweather in the largely uncharted areas of Kotzebue Sound. In addition, Rainier will survey off Point Hope, Alaska, to evaluate a potential shoal area discovered by NOAA cartographers and researchers using commercial satellite imagery. Fairweather is scheduled to survey Port Clarence, a key Bering Strait location that is of potential interest as an Arctic deepwater port. NOAA ships Fairweather and Rainier are part of the NOAA fleet of research ships operated, managed, and maintained by NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, which includes commissioned officers of the NOAA Corps, one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and civilian wage mariners.

To sign up for Arctic surveys and charting updates, please click here. Full Story