On November 11, the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) released a Tribal Drought Engagement Strategy for 2021-2025 that will lead to improved drought monitoring, forecasting, and resilience for tribal nations. NIDIS developed the Strategy following a Tribal Drought Engagement initiative launched in January 2019, in collaboration with the Masters of the Environment Program at University of Colorado-Boulder, to ensure that indigenous perspectives are included in its implementation of the Drought Early Warning System (DEWS). The project aimed to strengthen relationships with tribal resource managers across the Missouri River Basin and Midwest DEWS regions in order to effectively deliver timely and relevant drought information.
Developing the Strategy included a year of consultations with tribal resource managers across the two regions. These consultations helped identify critical engagement gaps and the actions that could be taken to address them. Engagement in these two DEWS will also inform consultations with tribal nations as a foundation for scaling the Strategy to other regions.
Two types of information are encompassed in the Strategy. The first are a set of Guiding Principles of Engagement that capture important approaches that NIDIS wants to embody in partnerships with tribal nations. Following these principles are Key Outcomes and Activities that are organized around the five components of a DEWS: interdisciplinary research and applications; predictions and forecasting; observations and monitoring; planning and preparedness; and communications and outreach. The Strategy also provides a framework for integrating indigenous perspectives into the DEWS.