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Sociology Professor Joins Forces with NOAA to Develop Climate Resilience Action Plans

November 1, 2021

Idaho State University Environmental Sociology professor, Dr. Katrina Running, has joined a group of climate change experts to form the Northwest Climate Resilience Collaborative (NCRC), which will advance efforts to aid frontline communities impacted by climate change. 

The Resilience Collaborative was founded with a five-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) of $5.6 million. NOAA has 10 other similar programs as part of their Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program.

“Our primary objective is to work with community leaders in the frontline communities selected for this collaborative to develop science-based strategies for adapting to the impacts of climate change that our region is already facing,” Running said. 

The NCRC will focus on providing science-based assessments to work together with rural and tribal communities to develop community resilience plans that incorporate their local knowledge, values and priorities. Part of Running’s role will be training scientists and residents to play an active role in the research in their communities. 

Running’s previous research on Idaho farmers makes her a great fit for the collaborative. In the past she has studied how water restrictions to address the depletion of the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer (ESPA) has impacted farmers and agricultural practices, as well as how farmers perceive environmental change in this region. Through this work Dr. Running has taken a special interest in water and how various stakeholders believe it should be allocated during times of scarcity.

Her projects with the Resilience Collaborative will have a similar scope and methodology as her previous work, and what she has done in the past will provide important context as a climate resilience plan is developed for Pocatello which is one of the communities the project will focus on. 

“My specific role will be in designing and leading data collection strategies to answer our social research questions in our three initially chosen frontline communities: Pocatello, Idaho, Chelan County, Washington, and Umatilla, Oregon.”

The Resilience Collaborative will fulfill the RISA objective of building the nation’s capacity to adapt to climate change while also amplifying the voices of those most impacted in order to develop effective and equitable climate policies.  

“Most importantly, we hope to form lasting relationships built on mutual respect that will lead to a network of experts, activists, scientists, and community leaders that is well-known in the Pacific Northwest and that can be quickly mobilized to assist other communities develop and implement their own climate resilience plans in the coming years,” Running said.



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