NOAA Tribal Resources & Updates

NOAA's Tribal Relations Team

NOAA is committed to developing policies and procedures that improve its relations and cooperative activities with Federally-recognized Indian tribes on a government-to-government basis.  NOAA’s Tribal Relations Team works to ensure an accountable process for meaningful and timely consultations on policies with tribal implications. Learn more about NOAA's Tribal Team Members

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the National Ocean Service (NOS), along with NOAA's General Counsel's Office (GC), have created a Traditional Ecological Knowledge Guidance for regional and field staff. This guidance, developed as a continuation of NOAA's commitment to engage meaningfully with Federally recognized tribes. This guidance was built upon NMFS, NOS, and GC in the regions to build upon the NOAA Tribal Consultation Handbook in providing guidance on how to incorporate Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) into decision making.

*NEW* FY23-24 Tribal Regional Ocean Partnership BIL Funding

On May 31, 2023, NOAA announced the availability of approximately $1.8 million for federally recognized tribes. This funding is provided with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The focus is on encouraging increased tribal participation with regional ocean partnerships. Funding will support tribal actions related to regional ocean and coastal priorities and will further the coordinated management of ocean resources and data. Funding applications are due at 8:59 p.m. Pacific Time, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on August 30, 2023. You can find more information on these funds at If you have questions, please contact  
Also, NOAA will be holding a live question and answer session for interested applicants on June 21, 2023, 1:00-2:00 pm eastern time. Pre-registration is required here offsite link. There will be no formal presentation at this live session, and participants are welcome to join and drop off at any time during the hour to ask their questions.

White House Guidance on Indigenous Knowledge

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Council on Environmental Quality announced the release of the Guidance on December 1, 2022 at the White House Tribal Nations Summit in furtherance of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to building a new era of Nation-to-Nation engagement with Tribes and advancing equity and opportunity for Tribal Nations and Indigenous People.  It applies to all executive branch agencies as they carry out their responsibilities under their organic acts and enabling legislation, the National Environmental Policy Act, and other laws.  

Please find attached White House Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Indigenous Knowledge (Guidance)Implementation Memorandum, and Memorandum on Uniform Standards for Tribal Consultation.

Tribal Input on IIJA Tribal Provisions: NOAA Executive Summary and Response

NOAA has released the “Tribal Input on Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Tribal Provisions: Executive Summary and Response” document which summarizes the input we received from two NOAA-hosted tribal listening sessions and 60 day written comment period, including NOAA’s response. The comments will help inform how NOAA executes these provisions with tribal nations over the next five years. 


Information & Documents

Policies, Procedures, Resources, and Reports

NOAA Consultation Handbook

In January 2021, President Biden issued a Presidential Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening the Nation-to-Nation Relationships that requires all federal departments and agencies to submit a plan for implementing Executive Order 13175. Executive Order (E.O) 13175 charges federal departments and agencies to engage in regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal officials in the development of federal policies that have Tribal implications. 

In response to the Administration’s E.O., NOAA is revising and updating its existing NOAA policies and guidance documents, which facilitate NOAA’s implementation of E.O. 13175:  (1) NOAA Procedures for Government-to-Government Consultation With Federally Recognized Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations (Draft Handbook); (2) NOAA Administrative Order 218-8,  Policy on Government-to-Government Consultation with Federally Recognized Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations (see last page of Draft Handbook); and (3) a traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) guidance currently titled NOAA Fisheries and National Ocean Service Guidance and Best Practices for Engaging and Incorporating Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Decision-Making. The Federal Register notice for this request was published on November 24, 2021, and can be found at Both documents can also be found below:

[DRAFT] NOAA Tribal Consultation Handbook 2021

Traditional Knowledge in Decision Making


Tribal Resource Guide to the Department of Commerce

The U.S. Department of Commerce is pleased to make available the Tribal Resource Guide to the Department of Commerce.  This guide is an important first step in revamping the Department’s work with tribes to spur even greater collaboration with tribes and native business enterprises. In addition, the guide introduces the Secretary's new Senior Advisor for Native American Affairs,  the policy of the Department regarding tribes (which include references to the United States’ trust responsibility to the tribes and native peoples of the United States and the advances tribes have made in the Self-Determination Era), and includes contact information for each of the bureaus’ tribal liaisons in order to make it easier for tribes to interact with the Department. In addition this guide includes working links to other resources (web pages, our tribal consultation policy, etc.) within NOAA and the Department.


Traditional Ecological Knowledge Guidance

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the National Ocean Service (NOS), along with NOAA's General Counsel's Office (GC), have created a Traditional Ecological Knowledge Guidance for regional and field staff. This guidance, developed as a continuation of NOAA's commitment to engage meaningfully with Federally recognized tribes. This guidance was built upon NMFS, NOS, and GC in the regions to build upon the NOAA Tribal Consultation Handbook in providing guidance on how to incorporate Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) into decision making.

Traditional Ecological Knowledge Guidance

NOAA-BOEM Memorandum of Understanding

On January 12, 2022, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management signed an Interagency Memorandum of Understanding to responsibly advance offshore wind energy 



White House Council on Environmental Quality

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) within the Executive Office of the President coordinates the federal government’s efforts to improve, preserve, and protect America’s public health and environment.

CEQ, which was created in 1969 by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), advises the President and develops policies on climate change, environmental justice, federal sustainability, public lands, oceans, and wildlife conservation, among other areas. As the agency responsible for implementing NEPA, CEQ also works to ensure that environmental reviews for infrastructure projects and federal actions are thorough, efficient, and reflect the input of the public and local communities.

News from the White House CEQ


Bureau of Indian Affairs’ List of Tribal Leaders

Find the most up-to-date information on Tribal Leaders and contacts on the Bureau of Indian Affairs website. The Tribal Leaders Directory provides contact information for each federally recognized tribe.  The electronic, map-based, interactive directory also provides information about each BIA region and agency that provides services to a specific tribe.  Additionally, the directory provides contact information for Indian Affairs leadership.

Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Tribal Leaders Directory

Government Accountability Report on Tribal Consultation

On April 19, 2019, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report titled “Tribal Consultation: Additional Federal Actions Needed for Infrastructure Projects (GAO-19-22).” The report examines key factors Indian tribes and select federal agencies identified that hinder effective consultation on impacts to natural and cultural resources on infrastructure projects and makes recommendations for improvements. 

Government Accountability Report on Tribal Consultation




Marine Debris Program

The NOAA Marine Debris Program offers several nationwide, competitive funding opportunities for marine debris projects. These include: removal, prevention, and research grants.

NCCOS Competitive Research Program

National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science's Competitive Research Program (NCCOS) supports the Competitive Research Program (CRP) and the RESTORE Science Program that provide the critical information and predictive capabilities required to manage the nation’s coastal resources in an ecosystem context. NCCOS addresses these issues via a stressor-based or regional ecosystem approach. These issues typically require multidisciplinary research teams and a significant long-term commitment of resources because of their complexity and the effort required to reach a new level of understanding sufficient to support NOS priorities and drive future coastal management decisions.

NCCOS Funding Opportunities

RESTORE Science Program

The science and restoration programs working in the Gulf of Mexico understand the need for stakeholders to remain informed of future funding opportunities. To this end, they have collectively developed a calendar consolidating currently planned funding opportunities in order to keep stakeholders informed and help grant applicants plan ahead and submit their high-quality applications to the appropriate funding opportunity.

RESTORE Science Program Funding Opportunities

NOAA Acquisition and Grants

Each fiscal year, the AGO spends a significant portion of the NOAA budget on the products and services necessary for NOAA’s daily and long-term operations.  NOAA acquires the majority of its goods and services using the above NAICS codes. More information can be found on the NAICS site. Use the following information to learn about business opportunities across NOAA. 

NOAA Acquisition and Grants       

Fish Passage Funding

Two fish passage funding opportunities that will remove in-stream barriers under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are now open, one focused on Indian tribes. Indian tribes are eligible to apply to both funding opportunities. NOAA can provide assistance to all applicants to best understand what funding opportunities may be more appropriate for their project. The Restoring Tribal Priority Fish Passage through Barrier Removal Notice of Funding Opportunity is for Indian tribes, tribal commissions, or tribal consortias to implement tribal priority fish passage work that will remove dams and other in-stream barriers and build tribal organizational capacity. The funding opportunity was informed by verbal and written comments received during a 60-day comment period focused on the Tribal Provisions in the law. Applications are due August 29, 2022. For the broader fish passage competition, applications are due August 15, 2022. See this link for more information:

Search for all available grants

Regional Ocean Partnership Opportunity

NOAA has announced the availability of approximately $1 million in regional ocean partnership funding under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This funding is for federally-recognized Indian tribes that have current and/or ancestral interests in a region with an established regional ocean partnership and wish to pursue coastal and ocean activities that align with the partnership priorities. The funding opportunity was informed by verbal and written comments received during a 60-day comment period focused on the tribal provisions in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Applications are due at 8:59 p.m. Pacific Time, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on September 13, 2022.

NOAA Fisheries Species Recovery Grant

Are you a federally recognized tribe interested in recovering species listed under the Endangered Species Act? If so, consider applying for a NOAA Fisheries Species Recovery Grant. These grants support tribally-led management, research, monitoring, and outreach activities that have direct conservation benefits for threatened and endangered species. Apply for this grant opportunity via by October 31, 2022.

*Please Note* proposals focused on listed Pacific salmon or steelhead are not considered under this grant program but may be supported through the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund. 

#NOAAFisheries #EndangeredSpecies #conservation

Tribal citizens help with Atlantic sturgeon research
Tribal members Desiree Nuckols (left) and April Deacy (right) with an Atlantic sturgeon (NOAA Fisheries)

Photo Caption: Pamunkey tribal members Desiree Nuckols (left) and April Deacy (right) with an Atlantic sturgeon


Student Opportunities

Check out our website for information about educational opportunities that are available throughout NOAA. 

Environmental Literacy Program

Working at national, regional, and local levels, our funded projects educate and inspire people to use Earth systems science to improve ecosystem stewardship and increase resilience to environmental hazards. Education plays a critical role in achieving NOAA’s mission and vision. To make the best social, economic, and environmental decisions, individuals should have the ability to understand scientific processes, consider uncertainty, and reason about the ways human and natural systems interact (NOAA's Education Strategic Plan, 2021–2040). Since 2005, our grants have supported formal (K-12) and informal education projects that cultivate these skillsets among diverse audiences.

Environmental Literacy Program


Bay Watershed Education and Training

The B-WET program is an environmental education program that promotes place-based experiential learning for K–12 students and related professional development for teachers. B-WET fosters the growth of new, innovative programs and encourages capacity-building and environmental education partnerships.

Bay Watershed Education and Training

Tribal Relations Updates

2023 Updates

NOAA awards $20.5 million for ocean and coastal resource management
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support regional partnerships, federally-recognized tribes

In a first-of-its-kind deployment under Bipartisan Infrastructure Law offsite link funds, today NOAA announced the award of approximately $20.5 million for the coordinated management of ocean and coastal resources around the country. The recommended federal funds will significantly enhance existing collaboration between states, tribal governments and the federal government, and provide needed capacity to advance their work.

Photo: North Cove, Washington shoreline stabilization projet. (Credit: Preston Martin, New Fields)

Through this recommended funding, the awards will support projects to advance regional ocean partnerships and data sharing among ocean users, and include the engagement of federally recognized tribes with existing regional ocean partnerships. Regional ocean partnerships are regional organizations convened by governors to work collaboratively across multiple states, in coordination with federal and tribal governments, on common priorities and challenges.

“Advanced climate data is critical to helping communities act on the best available information when disaster strikes,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to addressing the climate crisis, and thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we can invest in collecting and disseminating lifesaving data to communities across the country, especially those that are often overlooked and left behind.”

“Equity remains at the heart of all we do at the Commerce Department, and this includes the continued effort towards environmental justice for our tribal communities,” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. “This funding is a necessary step in building on climate resilience efforts and protecting our coasts.”

“This recommended funding allows communities to better plan for future changes as we build a Climate-Ready Nation,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “NOAA values the contributions of all partners to better understand and manage climate-related risks.”

A total of 13 awards were distributed to tribes and partners:

Project descriptions can be found on NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management website offsite link.

2022 Updates

 Biden Administration Releases Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Guidebook for State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Governments

On January 31, the White House released the first edition of its Bipartisan Infrastructure Law guidebook to help state, local, Tribal and territorial governments unlock the benefits from the historic investments in our nation’s infrastructure. The guidebook is a one-stop-shop on the law and contains the most comprehensive information to date on the more than 375 programs included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  

NOAA Seeking Input From Tribal Leaders on Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which provides more than $13 billion for direct investments in Tribal communities across the country. The investments in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act underscore the importance of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) mission to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, to share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.  Over the next five years, NOAA expects to have funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that will be of interest to Tribal communities.  

NOAA wants to engage interested tribes in a sustained dialogue about this funding. Right now, we are seeking tribal input to inform early planning decisions. We will also keep Tribal leaders informed as dates and deadlines are determined.

To inform our discussions, there is additional information on three provisions of the law that authorize NOAA to provide funding to tribes. Although this request focuses on three specific provisions in the law, we are open to verbal and written input on other NOAA provisions of the infrastructure bill. The three provisions are listed below.

  • $400 million to enhance fish passage by removing barriers and providing technical assistance under the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act (15% of funding for tribes). These funds will support projects that eliminate in-stream barriers to restore fish passage and help protect and restore habitats that sustain fisheries, recover protected species, and maintain resilient ecosystems and communities. 
  • $172 million to support recovery efforts for Pacific coastal salmon. These investments will protect, restore, and conserve Pacific salmon and steelhead and their habitats through competitive funding to the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, and California and Federally recognized tribes of the Columbia River and Pacific Coast (including Alaska), or their representative tribal commissions and consortia.
  • $56 million for established Regional Ocean Partnerships (ROPs). This funding will support coordinated interstate and intertribal management of ocean and coastal resources and implement their priority actions, including to enhance associated sharing and integration of Federal and non-Federal data by ROPs, or their equivalent.

To accommodate numerous locations and ensure everyone’s safety, we will be holding two virtual sessions for tribes scheduled by time zones. We encourage tribes to join the session identified for the time zone in which your Tribal community is located, but feel free to join an alternate session. 

In addition to joining one of the engagement sessions listed below, tribes are welcome to submit written comments to by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

NOAA held two sessions on February 22 and 23, 2022 to gather feedback. See below for transcripts and recordings from each session and the powerpoint presentation from the sessions. 

February 22 IIJA Listening Session

Audio file

February 23 IIJA Listening Session

Audio file

2021 Updates

Notice of Tribal Consultation with NOAA Fisheries for the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

NOAA Fisheries Service would like to invite you to consult on the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Act) coronavirus response and relief funding. The Act includes $30 million for Federally recognized tribes in any of the Nation’s coastal States, Great Lakes States and territories for direct and indirect fishery economic related losses as well as subsistence, cultural and ceremonial impacts related to COVID 19. Specifically, “federally recognized Tribes in any of the Nation’s coastal States and territories, and federally recognized Tribes in any of the Nation’s Great Lakes States with fisheries on the Tribe’s reservation or ceded or usual and accustomed territory” are potentially eligible. For detailed information please see Division M (page 1815) of the Act.

The Act requires NOAA Fisheries Service in consultation with tribes to develop an application and distribution process. Specifically, we would like to consult with you on:

  1. How to allocate the $30 million.
  2. Suggestions on an efficient and effective application process, including what information should be required to be submitted as part of the process.
  3. Suggestions on an efficient and effective distribution process.

We would highlight that the Act requires the disbursement of funds to eligible impacted Tribal fishery participants that takes into account economic, subsistence, and ceremonial impacts and that ensures timely distribution of funds.

All Tribal leaders are encouraged to attend the upcoming tribal consultation, hosted by NOAA Fisheries, regarding the distribution of funding on Tuesday, February 16th from 11:30 to 1pm ET.

Webinar: offsite link

Conference Call Line:

  • 888-946-3505
  • 8113363

NOTE: In the event you are unable to attend the consultation call, you can provide written comments and submit them to: no later than March 1, 2021, to ensure a mutual goal of providing funds as soon as possible.

2020 Updates

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (US Department of the Interior) announcement on the availability of funding through the Tribal Resilience Program (Program)

The Program will provide funding for tribal activities that support tribal adaptation and resilience planning, ocean and coastal management planning, and relocation, managed retreat, or protect-in-place planning and design activities for coastal and riverine communities. The Program aims to support Tribal Nations that need adaptation planning support and decision-making information to prepare for extreme events and harmful environmental trends that impact tribal treaty and trust resources, economies, infrastructure, and human health and welfare.

The solicitation is for federally-recognized tribes and tribal organizations* (as defined by 25 U.S.C. Section 5304(1)). Other entities may participate as sub-grantees. The solicitation is available on, Opportunity #: BIA-TRP2020-0001 and is also on the BIA Tribal Resilience Program site.

Please see the BIA Tribal Resilience Program site for more information (fillable cover pages, fillable application forms for Categories 3, 5, and 6, FAQs, helpful regional contacts, summaries of previous awards, etc.).

CATEGORIES OF AVAILABLE FUNDING- There are seven total award categories. 

  • Adaptation Planning (Categories 1-3)
  • Category 1.  Trainings and Workshops (maximum: $150,000)
  • Category 2.  Adaptation Planning (maximum: $150,000)
  • Category 3.  Travel Support for Adaptation Planning (maximum: $15,000)
  • Ocean and Coastal Management Planning (Categories 4-5)
  • Category 4.  Ocean and Coastal Management Planning (maximum: $150,000) 
  • Category 5.  Travel Support - Ocean & Coastal (maximum: $15,000)
  • Capacity Building (Category 6)
  • Category 6. Capacity Building for Scoping Efforts to Support future Category 2 Proposal Development (maximum: $65,000)
  • Relocation, Managed Retreat, or Protect-in-Place Planning (Category 7)
  • Category 7. Planning for Relocation, Managed Retreat, or Protect-in-Place Activities for Coastal and Riverine Communities (maximum: $150,000)

Additional details, including evaluation criteria, are described in the Notice of Funding (i.e., Request for Proposals or Solicitation). Proposal Deadline:  Monday, March 2, 2020, by 5:00 p.m. Alaska Time / 9 p.m. Eastern Time. Send completed proposals to or by hard copy to:

Ms. Jo Ann Metcalfe, Attention: Tribal Resilience Program
Grant Officer, Central Office Acquisitions
Bureau of Indian Affairs
12220 Sunrise Valley Dr.
Reston, VA 20191