Tribal-Focused Environmental Risk and Sustainability Tool (Tribal-FERST)
This web-based information and mapping tool from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides tribes with easy access to the best available human health and ecological science. Tribes and their partners throughout the United States—representing a wide range of interests and issues in Indian Country—are providing the design and content for the tool. The non-profit, intertribal organization United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) has partnered with EPA to develop a guidance document, provide training, and connect the water quality exchange database and data transfer network with Tribal-FERST.
Tribal-FERST is intended to empower tribes by providing access to relevant science for developing sustainable, cost-effective solutions for reducing environmental exposures and health risks. Using this geospatial decision support tool, tribes may employ a holistic approach to address environmental concerns and plan for the future.
Tribal-FERST guides registered users through a "tribal roadmap" for identifying priority issues, compiling data, addressing risks, and assessing impacts of actions taken. At each step, relevant information is provided, including:
- Fact sheets and reports about environmental issues of concern.
- A tribal environmental data table providing quantitative information on exposures and risks.
- Decision-making guides integrating traditional ecological knowledge and western science.
- A geospatial mapping component.
- Access to best practices and guidance for addressing risks.
- Links to other tools relevant to tribal environmental decision-making.
The Tribal-FERST geospatial mapping component enables users to view and overlay demographic information with publicly available data, including environmental concentrations, human exposures, health risks, ecosystem services, sustainability indicators, and sources of pollution. Tribes have the option to overlay locally collected data and can determine whether or not to make it publicly available. Users can import water sampling data using the web-based “Open Waters” tool to determine the status of their water quality.
Registration is required. To request access, interested users can send an email to TFERSTMail@epa.gov with "Request Access" in the subject line. The request should include your name, affiliation, and reason for using the tool.