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].

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the National Ocean Service (NOS), along with NOAA's General Counsel's Office (GC), have created a Traditional Ecological Knowledge Guidance for regional and field staff. This guidance, developed as a continuation of NOAA's commitment to engage meaningfully with Federally recognized tribes. This guidance was built upon NMFS, NOS, and GC in the regions to build upon the NOAA Tribal Consultation Handbook in providing guidance on how to incorporate Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) into decision making.
ANNOUNCEMENT for Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC)

Nominations sought for open positions on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee -- accepted through December 24, 2018.

NOAA Fisheries is seeking nominations to fill vacancies on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC).  MAFAC advises the Secretary of Commerce on all living marine resource matters that are the responsibility of the Department of Commerce.  The Committee draws on its members’ expertise and other sources to evaluate and make recommendations to the Secretary and NOAA on the development and implementation of Department regulations, policies, and programs critical to the mission and goals of the NOAA Fisheries Service. 

MAFAC members represent a wide spectrum of fisheries, protected resources, and marine habitat interests; tribal, seafood, environmental, academic, consumer, and other related national interests. Nominees should possess demonstrable expertise in one of these fields and be able to fulfill the time commitments required for two annual meetings and between-meeting subcommittee work.  Individuals serve for a term of three years, and if re-appointed, may serve no more than two consecutive terms.

A MAFAC member cannot be a Federal employee, a member of a Regional Fishery Management Council, a registered Federal lobbyist, or a State employee.  Membership is voluntary, and except for reimbursable travel and related expenses, service is without pay. The committee functions solely as an advisory body (complying fully with the Federal Advisory Committee Act) which reports to the Secretary.

Full nomination instructions and guidelines are details in the Federal Register notice and on this MAFAC webpage.

For more information please contact Jennifer Lukens, Executive Director of MAFAC, or Heidi Lovett, Assistant Director,


Section 6 Species Recovery Grants

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is announcing that they are now accepting applications for the 2019 Federal Funding Opportunity for Section 6 Species Recovery Grants. NMFS recognizes the unique importance of many protected species to tribes and values your ongoing efforts to conserve and protect species under our jurisdiction by providing assistance, in the form of grants, that can be used to support conservation of endangered and threatened species and candidate or proposed species, as well as post de-listing monitoring of recovered species.

Which Species Are Considered for Priority Funding?  Grant proposals that address the recovery of the following critically endangered species will be considered a priority for funding: Southern Resident Killer Whale, White abalone, Cook Inlet Beluga whales, Hawaiian monk seals, Pacific leatherback sea turtles, and Gulf of Maine Atlantic salmon. Priority may also be given to projects that involve regional activities, cooperation with other tribes, or an ecosystem-based approach (i.e., projects addressing threats to multiple species or species groups).

What Types of Activities Will Be Funded?  Funding activities may include development and implementation of management plans, scientific research, and public education and outreach. Proposals should address priority actions identified in an Endangered Species Act (ESA) Recovery Plan or address a NMFS-identified regional priority or need. Recovery Plans can be accessed at:

Who is Eligible to Apply?  Federally-recognized tribes or tribal organizations, such as the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, or Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, that have delegated authority to represent a federally recognized tribe(s) on matters relating to ESA listed, candidate, or proposed species.

How Much Funding is Available?  Approximately $300,000 may be available for distribution in 2019. Funding will be provided in 12-month increments, with a maximum project period of 3 years.

How Do I apply?  Please visit our tribal species recovery grant website where you will find instructions for the grant application process, frequently asked questions, ESA permits information, and more. See attached documents for more information on the Tribal Federal Funding Opportunity and a list of priority species in the West Coast Region.

If you have any questions regarding the tribal grant application process, please contact Justin Greenman at 562-980-3264 or


BIA Resilience Funding Opportunity for Tribes

The BIA's Tribal Resilience Program is pleased to announce the availability of funding for tribal projects that support tribal resilience and ocean and coastal management planning as tribes incorporate the science (including Traditional Knowledge) and technical information to prepare for extreme events and harmful environmental trends that impact tribal treaty and trust resources, economies, infrastructure, and human health and welfare.

The solicitation is available on, named BIA 1800-0002 ( ).


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.