The United South and Eastern Tribes Inc., (USET) held the 2013 Impact Week meeting February 4-6, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. USET, which is a non-profit, inter-tribal organization that collectively represents its members tribes at the regional and national level, provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information amongst Tribes, agencies and governments.
The Northeast Climate Science Center (NECSC) took the opportunity to attend the meeting and provide a presentation on its history and activities to the USET Natural Resources Committee. Mary Ratnaswamy (USGS Director, Northeast Climate Science Center), Andrew Miliken (North Atlantic LLC Coordinator), and Chris Caldwell (Consortium Member -CMN/ SDI Director) gave a presentation of the NECSC history and activities as part of continued outreach efforts to tribes in the northeastern region. After the presentations, the Committee had several questions, with one of the recurring and strongest comments about communication both between the federal government agencies, and as the government agencies communicate with tribal leadership. The concern was that tribes, with already limited staff, are not always able to assess all of the different communications that come in from the different agencies. At this specific meeting alone the USDA Forest Service and the Department of Interior/ USGS led Climate Science Center were providing climate change information to USET about separate initiatives and how they are looking to include tribes or tribal feedback in those efforts. The NECSC presenters took this feedback and will use it to further refine their approach to communicating with federal and tribal partners as NECSC continues to move forward in fulfilling its mission.