Next Steps

The Blackfeet Climate Change Adaptation Plan (BCCAP) marks the beginning of a formally coordinated effort to describe current climate change impacts, to predict future impacts, to assess vulnerabilities, and to outline goals, strategies, and actions for increasing resilience to climate change. The plan conveys actionable steps within the context of the region’s changing climate, in a place where Amskapi Pikuni people have lived and acted as stewards for thousands of years.

The BCCAP is intended to be a ‘living document’, one that is consulted frequently and regularly revisited and updated to reflect changes in the tribe’s needs and priorities. As such, several next steps are recommended:

  • Every effort should be made to implement the action steps outlined in the BCCAP. To be most effective, each sector should monitor and measure progress in implementing adaptive actions and help determine whether actions are enhancing the tribe’s overall climate change preparedness. While incorporating indicators for monitoring outputs and outcomes was outside the scope of the initial BCCAP, determining measurable indicators for goals in each sector is important for helping to understand whether actions are ultimately helping the Blackfeet Nation to adapt to climate change.
  • The results of the actions (outputs and outcomes), as determined through monitoring, should be used to adjust actions and then to ultimately revise the BCCAP.
  • Chapters should be updated as major staff changes occur, and as departments are prepared to commit to actions. For example, the Department of Fish and Wildlife is in the process of hiring a fisheries biologist, and when they fill the position, the fish chapter should be updated in collaboration with the Water Resources Department. The Cultural Resources and Traditions chapter should be updated as soon as possible to include goals, strategies, and actions.
  • The next plan revisions should be scheduled to ensure the plan is revised comprehensively at regular intervals, perhaps every three to five years. Future climate change planners should consider possibly adding more planning areas in each sector, or, alternatively, reducing the scope of focus in sectors where the current plan may prove to be too broad to implement.
  • The BCCAP should be used to inform the tribe’s larger planning processes, including the holistic management planning, water resources management planning, agriculture resource management planning, and food security planning processes. The plan should continue to be integrated into all other relevant planning processes in the Blackfeet Nation. Likewise, these planning processes should feed back into future climate change plan updates and revisions.

The Blackfeet Climate Change Adaptation Plan is a significant body of work from which to start building resilience to climate change impacts, and it is a base from which to build future project work, research, and funding. The very act of bringing people together from multiple sectors has brought climate change to the forefront of conversations and decision-making in the Blackfeet Nation. The planning process has also improved coordination between departments. For example, it increased shared understanding of fisheries management goals and activities between the Blackfeet Water Resources Department and the Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife Department. One early, tangible outcome is that the planning process created The Beaver Project, a coordinated effort between the Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife Department, Blackfeet Community College, the Blackfeet Environmental Office, the Agriculture Resource Management Planning team, the Center for Large Landscape Conservation, and others designed to increase natural water storage in the Blackfeet Nation by protecting beaver (nature’s “wetlands engineers”) and restoring riparian areas. The Beaver Project has received funding from multiple foundations and agencies and is beginning January 2018. Finally, the planning process built momentum for creating the Blackfeet Country & Climate Change website1 (https://blackfeetclimatechange.com/), a platform for sharing information about climate change impacts to the environment and human health, and a place to share updates with the public about existing and potential opportunities for building resilience to climate change in the Blackfeet Nation.


Go back to the Climate Change Adaptation Plan Home Page


[1] The Blackfeet Country & Climate Change website was initially created through funding from the National Indian Health Board.

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