Biden-Harris administration invests $20M for indigenous communities to access emerging climate markets

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small announced today that the Biden-Harris Administration is investing $20 million to support federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native corporations and villages as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.

The funding, made possible by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and distributed through competitive grants administered by the USDA Forest Service, will help recipients access emerging private markets for forest resilience, climate mitigation, water quality, carbon sequestration and more.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small

“Tribal practices support resilient forests and land management for the benefit of future generations,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small. “Thanks to funding from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, Tribes and Alaska Native corporations and villages will have broader access to markets that will help address the climate crisis, support indigenous knowledge,and strengthen local economies. This is just one of the many ways USDA is partnering with Tribes to reduce barriers and better serve Tribal people and communities.”

Small made the announcement during a meeting of the National Congress of American Indians in Washington. The non-profit National Congress is the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the interests of tribal governments and communities.

This announcement is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to generate economic opportunity and build a clean energy economy nationwide. The funding is made possible by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the largest climate investment in history.

These investments fund work on tribal lands and complement USDA’s commitment to advance co-stewardship of national forests and grasslands.

In fiscal year 2023, the USDA Forest Service and Tribes executed more than 120 co-stewardship agreements, representing a total investment of $68 million, more than triple the investments from fiscal year 2022. Agreements include $37 million in 12 self-determination agreements — up by nearly 90 percent compared to fiscal year 2022. The Forest Service also made notable policy adjustments, recognizing the importance of indigenous knowledge and providing tribes with improved access to USDA programs.

This announcement also advances environmental justice and President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which set the goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal climate, clean energy and other covered investments flow to disadvantaged communities – including all Federally Recognized Tribes and tribal entities.

Proposals for this new grant opportunity may be submitted through Aug. 21, 2024, at grants.gov.

These grants are in addition to a $2 million direct award to the National Indian Carbon Coalition, a project of the Indian Land Tenure Foundation, as well as a $13 million agreement with the Denali Commission, which includes $10 million for grants to support Alaska Native landowners and $3 million for grant application and management support. Grants may support activities such as development of forest management plans, reforestation, establishment of demonstration sites, and biodiversity protection. The core purpose of the funds is to support participation in emerging private markets for climate mitigation or forest resilience.

For more on Forest Service grant opportunities, visit the landowner support page. For more on how the Forest Service works with states, tribes, and communities, visit the Forest Service private landowners page.

About the Forest Service
The Forest Service remains committed to embracing its federal trust responsibility, honoring treaty rights, and supporting tribal self-determination principles. The agency continues to adopt policies and educate staff on the importance of recognizing and incorporating Indigenous Knowledge about forests, grasslands, natural resources and wildlife management. The work is outlined in Strengthening Tribal Consultations and Nation-to-nation Relationships: A USDA Forest Service Action Plan.

About the USDA
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across USDA by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of the nation. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.