Water, Our Voice to the Future: Climate change adaptation and waterborne disease prevention on the Crow Reservation

EPA Grant Number: R835594
Title: Water, Our Voice to the Future: Climate change adaptation and waterborne disease prevention on the Crow Reservation
Investigators: Doyle, John , Camper, Anne
Institution: Little Big Horn College , Montana State University
EPA Project Officer: McOliver, Cynthia
Project Period: August 1, 2014 through July 31, 2017
Project Amount: $914,466
RFA: Science for Sustainable and Healthy Tribes (2013) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Tribal Environmental Health Research , Health

Objective:

Objective #1: Integrate traditional ecological and community knowledge, scientific data and climate models to produce a cohesive document which describes existing and projected local climate, hydrologic and microbial water quality changes and their impacts on resources, Crow traditions, ecosystems and community health.

  • Hypothesis I: Traditional ecological and community knowledge of Tribal Elders, scientific data and modeling will effectively complement one other, to produce a more comprehensive assessment of existing and projected climate, hydrologic and microbial water quality changes and their impacts on resources, Crow traditions, ecosystems and community health.
  • Hypothesis II: Future climate change impacts will be profound in the Northern Plains Crow Reservation, with climate and hydrologic changes exceeding current and historical observations.
  • Hypothesis III: Local microbial water quality is influenced by climate driven spring flooding and late summer drought.

Objective #2: Improve community adaptation to climate change and reduce climate change related health risks by increasing community understanding of current and projected climate change impacts, reducing associated waterborne disease risks, identifying and implementing other key adaptation measures and investing in community capacity building.

Objective #3: Disseminate project results locally, regionally and nationally, through appropriate community venues, peer-reviewed publications and conferences, including the National Tribal Science Forum. Contribute lessons learned to other tribes.

Approach:

Research methods will include: (a) Compilation and analysis of local and traditional ecological knowledge of key informants by Crow Tribal members, using the methods of collaborative ethnography; (b) Compilation and analysis of secondary climate and hydrologic data and models, using the methods of western climate science; (c) Fieldwork and experiments to analyze the impacts of climate change on microbial river water quality; and (d) community-engaged research (EPA NCER) led by a local Steering Committee of Tribal stakeholders, with academic partners.

Expected Results:

Integrated research results will: (a) Contribute new knowledge of climate change in the Northern Plains, particularly impacts to Tribes and on waterborne disease risks; (b) Inform community engagement to reduce waterborne disease and other health risks from increased spring flooding, and to design and implement other culturally appropriate health-protective adaptations to climate change; and (c) Inform multi-level community capacity building, resulting in self-sustaining changes to improve community health and water quality. Outputs will include an integrated research report, community-designed adaptations and peer-reviewed publications. Our risk reduction goal is that 250 families will implement one or more health-protective adaptations. Our long term goal is to share these adaptations with other Tribal and rural residents.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 11 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 1 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

global climate, drinking water, health effects, waterborne disease, bacteria, pathogens, hydrology, ecology, exposure, community-based, Montana, MT, EPA Region 8

Progress and Final Reports:

2015 Progress Report
2016 Progress Report