Climate Mitigation Planning
Climate Change has already caused a huge number of impacts to the Nez Perce Tribe, so the Tribe has taken active steps to mitigate its effects. This started with a joint retreat between DFRM (Fisheries) and the Natural Resources Department in 2016 in which short-term climate change mitigation actions were identified that could be done now. The NPTEC formerly adopted Phase I of these actions, and started working on increasing the sustainability of tribal offices. The Solid Waste and Recycling Program has played a key role in implementing these mitigation measures by increasing recycling efforts and recycling education at the Tribe.
Since those measures were passed, NPT Enterprises has installed Electric Vehicle Charging Stations on the Reservation, and the NPTEC worked with Revolusun to install solar arrays on several buildings in Lapwai. This project thus far consists of 770 panels on the Boys and Girls Club Building, the PineeWaus, the Waste Water Treatment Plant, the Government Office Building, and the Fish Hatchery. The project will be a microgrid as it will include battery storage. Revolusun worked with the TERO office to hire and train 35 tribal members to complete the work, and many of those staff went on to become certified installers.
The Tribe has plans to install additional solar systems to become energy resilient to help with emergency management, cost savings, increasing their tribal sovereignty, and reducing their impact on the climate and on local rivers. These projects will in effect help the Tribe to become net zero, but just as important, it has given local tribal members work that they are excited about, proud to be a part of, and has prepared them for the jobs of the future.
The Nez Perce Tribe Climate Change and Energy Subcommittee spearheaded this effort due to the magnitude and speed with which climate change is impacting this community. The Dept. of Energy and Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals has asked the Tribe to give presentations about the project, and those presentations are in prep.
The following video was produced by Revolusun to share tribal voices about this project. We hope you enjoy it.