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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
REGION 8: Working With Tribes; Region 8 Tribal Program Accomplishments
Region 8, January 26, 2009

By Alexandra Pitts, External Affairs

Region 8, which encompasses California, Nevada and the Klamath Basin, is home to 129 federally recognized Native American Tribes (CA-103) (NV-25) (KB- 1). The Service has a long history of working with Native American governments in managing fish and wildlife resources. The Service’s approach to working with Native American Tribes is guided by its 1994 Native American Policy, which articulates the general principles that will guide the Service’s government- to-government relationship to Native American governments in the conservation of fish and wildlife resources, and 2000 Executive Order 13175 which addresses coordination and consultation with Indian tribal governments.

 

Under the previous Regional Director, the responsibility for Native American liaison duties was given to each project leader in their area of responsibility with no “single point of contact” Tribal Liaison position in the regional office.  The Tribal Grant program is administered through the tribal grants coordinator housed in the Conservation Partnerships program in the regional office. External Affairs is responsible for the dissemination of national Native American Program communications efforts.

 

Although Region 8 doesn’t have a formal Tribal Liaison program, project leaders have created many opportunities and accomplishments with tribes. With Tribal Trust Training planned for March 2009, more project leaders will have more tools to conduct

coordination and consultation activities and agreements. 

 

Cultural Background:  The modern history of the recognition of California’s Indian tribes is a very difficult one, coming as it did with the occupation of what was then Alta California in Mexico by the US Army in 1846 and the California gold rush in 1849.  Although treaties were made, most were never ratified. In addition, despite entering the union as a free state in 1850, the California legislature quickly enacted a series of laws legalizing Indian slavery.

 

Southern California Indians were provided with recognition when several parcels of their former tribal domains were set aside by executive order beginning in 1873 with the establishment of the Tule River Indian Reservation. Fourteen Southern California Indian Reservations were set aside by executive orders beginning in 1891 and amended in 1898.  Tribes in 16 northern California counties are recognized by executive orders which created 36 new reservations and Rancherias. Rancherias are very small parcels of land aimed at providing homesites only for small bands of landless Indians. No rancherias or homesites were made available for landless Southern California Indians. Congress however authorized the enlargement of several Southern California reservations by 6,492 acres between 1933 and 1941. 

 

Tribal Wildlife Grant Program

An important component of the Service’s relationship with tribes is the Tribal Wildlife Grant Program (TWG). These grants provide funding to federally-recognized tribes to develop and implement programs for the benefit of wildlife and their habitat, including species of Native American cultural or traditional importance and species that are not hunted or fished. The grants have enabled tribes to develop increased management capacity, improve and enhance relationships with partners including State agencies, address cultural and environmental priorities, and heighten interest of tribal students in fisheries, wildlife and related fields of study. Some grants have been awarded to enhance recovery efforts for threatened and endangered species. 

 

2008 Tribal Grants

 

Robinson Rancheria- Clear Lake hitch Recovery Project- $194,936

Yurok Tribe- Condor Release Initiative- $200,000

Moapa Band of Paiutes- Muddy River Habitat Enhancement- $65,397

Karuk Tribe- Bluff Creek Habitat Protection- 100,000

Big Valley Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians- Clear Lake Hitch Study Project- $49,791

Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake- Clear Lake Hitch Study Project- $48,498

 

2007 Tribal Grants

 

Landowner Incentive Grants

 

Hoopa Valley Tribal Council- Timberland HAbitta Protection- $120,000

Los Coyotes Band of Indians- Rare Plant Restoration-$114,250

Round Valley Indian Tribes- Mill Creek Riparian Corridor Development Project- $114,500

Yurok Tribe- Terwer Creek Habitat Protection- $98,263

Duckwater Shoshone Tribe Railroad Valley springfish Habitat Restoration-$120,000

 

Tribal Wildlife Grants

 

Hoopa Valley Tribal Council-Pacific Fisher Research- $200,000

Hopland Band of Pomo Indians- Russian River Tributary Habitat Restoration- $189,800

Karuk Tribe- Fish Creek Road Complex Habitat Enhancement- $110,000

 

Natural Resource Damage & Assessment Restoration

The Department of the Interior's (DOI) Natural Resource Damage Assessment & Restoration  (NRDAR) Program is in partnership with numerous Native American Tribes in efforts to assess injury and determine natural resource damages from hazardous materials released into the environment.  In Region 8, the Service’s NRDAR Program works directly with Tribal Councils in obtaining DOI funding, and supporting efforts to not only assess damages and restore natural resources, but to ensure Tribal cultural resources are considered by polluters in NRDAR cases.  NRDAR cases where the Service, in its Trust responsibility, directly supports Tribes in these efforts include the following:

 

--Leviathan Mine - Washoe Tribe, California and Nevada

-- Rio Tinto Mine -  Duck Valley Shoshone-Paiute Tribe, Nevada

--Yerington Anaconda Mine - Yerington Paiute Tribe and Walker River Paiute Tribe, Nevada

 

Over the past four years, both the Sacramento and Nevada Fish and Wildlife Offices have taken the lead on preparing proposals and achieving successful funding for the above mentioned Tribes. 

 

Results from these efforts by the Service has secured nearly $1M in combined funding to support Tribes in their environmental programs, assisting in inventories of sacred cultural resources, and assessing  potential human health risks on Tribal lands from contaminants.  All of these endeavors by the Service and Tribes are part of the complex effort to restore damaged natural and tribal resources through the DOI NRDAR Program

 

Region 8 Tribal Accomplishments

 

Regional Office

-        Established a Tribal Grants coordinator for Region 8 (EA and CP);

-        Creation of a Native American Program website for the Region 8 website (EA);

-        Participated in National and Regional Tribal Trust Training Efforts (EA);

-        In perhaps the largest regional consultation effort, the Regional Director consulted regularly over a 3 year period with the Hoopa, Yurok, Karuk and Klamath Tribes on the Klamath Restoration Agreement

 

Nevada

 

Moapa Band of Paiutes

-                    The Service completed a restoration project on the Muddy River with the Moapa Band of Paiutes using Partners funding and several other projects are currently underway

Duckwater Shoshone Tribe

-        A Safe Harbor Agreement with Duckwater Shoshone Tribe is in place benefiting the threatened Railroad Valley Springfish;

-        The Partners Program has funded the restoration of the Little Warm Spring this fall on the Duckwater Reservation;

-        Partners funding was used to install interpretive signage this year at the Big Warm Spring following restoration of the area and reintroduction of the springfish

Duck Valley Paiute Tribe

-        The  Duck Valley Tribe has participated on Jarbidge River Bull Trout Recovery Team

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe

-        A partnership with the NFWO, Bureau of Reclamation, and the Tribe has resulted in a new interpretive facility and interpretive signage at Marble Bluff Dam and Fish Passage Facility;

-        The NFWO is continuing to work in partnership with the Tribe and our interagency partners to manage Truckee River flows for the benefit of native species and the ecosystems they depend upon;

-        Annual formal section 7 consultation with PLPT on cui-ui to allow irrigation diversions at Numana Dam;

-        Collaborative recovery efforts for Lahontan cut-throat trout and cui-ui are on-going;

-        Lahontan cut-throat trout adult disease inspection;

-        Stillwater NWR manages Anaho Island NWR within the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Reservation. Management and research efforts are coordinated with the tribe;

-        The tribe receives a copy of all of Stillwater NWR water rights transfer applications when we submit them to the State Engineer for approval. 

 

Summit Lake Paiute Tribe

-        Inter-Governmental Personnel Agreement with BIA and Summit Lake Tribe to provide a Service biologist to serve as Fisheries Director for the Tribe;

-        The NFWO consulted with the Summit Tribe on the removal of Mahogany Creek fish barrier

Reno Sparks Indian Colony

-        The Nevada FWO consulted with the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony on Wal-Mart construction along Truckee River

Walker River Paiute Tribe

-         On-going LCT recovery/restoration coordination

Unity Conference

-        Participated in a national conference designed to promote a “National Initiative to Strengthen Native Families” sponsored by the National Unity Council, in Reno, Nevada.   The Nevada FWO had the opportunity to showcase career opportunities within the Service for more than 150 Native American youth councils from 34 states. 

Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe: 

-        Stillwater NWR manages a 600-acre reservation wetland under a 3-year interagency agreement with BIA.  The refuge consults with BIA contractors (Ducks Unlimited) and coordinates with BIA and the Tribe on restoring the wetland to productivity;

-        The Stillwater Realty Field Office purchased 1,399 acre-feet of water rights for tribal wetlands with BIA funds under the Lahontan Valley Water Rights Acquisition Program;

-        Stillwater NWR is currently coordinating with the Tribe on the closure of the TJ drain which conveys agricultural drainwater from reservation farmlands to refuge wetlands;

-        Spring Wings, the Stillwater NWR friends group, is developing a one-mile interpretive trail on recently restored refuge wetlands.  The tribe is helping develop interpretive themes and will design some of the interpretive signs.  A state trails grant is funding the project.

 

Klamath Basin (Arcata, Yreka and Klamath Fish and Wildlife Offices and California and Nevada Fish Health Center)

 

Hoopa Tribe

-        Included a Hoopa Forestry wildlife biologist on the NSO Recovery Plan Barred Owl Working Group;

-        Funded cutting edge Hoopa research and efforts on the Pacific fisher;

-        Klamath Fish Health coordination on C. shasta Mgmt Research Plan workshop with cooperators, Arcata - Karuk, Hoopa, and Yurok tribe representatives at workshop (CANV FHC)

 

Yurok Tribe

-        Joint project on diagnostic lab services on Yurok Tribal Fisheries adult salmon tissues (CANV-FHC);

-                                            Klamath Fish Health coordination on C. shasta Mgmt Research Plan workshop

      with cooperators, Arcata - Karuk, Hoopa, and Yurok tribe representatives at  workshop (CANV FHC);

-        Health survey cooperators: Provided training sessions for Klamath fish health monitoring for Yurok Tribe biologists (4 people) in Weitchpec and  Klamath, CA;

-        Planning meeting with DFG, Yurok tribe, FHC, and OSU for Bogus Creek carcass removal pilot project to reduce C.shasta myxospore input into the Klamath River (CANV FHC);

-        Coordinated with Yurok Tribe on the study of Klamath and Columbia River areas in Oregon/California as possible CA condor release sites.  The Yurok Tribe has obtained grants (from BIA and Tribal Wildlife Grants) to study feasibility of condor releases around their lands (Hopper Mtn. NWR);

-        Acquisition of California condor feathers (Hopper Mtn. NWR);

-        Hopper Mtn. NWRC worked with tribe on the study of Klamath and Columbia River areas in Oregon/California as possible CA condor release sites.  The tribe has obtained grants (from BIA and Tribal Wildlife Grants) to study feasibility of condor releases around their lands;

-        Yurok Condor Summit was held on December 11th and 12th, 2007 at the main tribal offices in Klamath with Hopper Mtn. NWRC staff participation;

-        A representative from the tribe participated in California Condor research Meeting held January 9, 2009 and provided updates on status of feasibility study in regards to Northern California reintroductions; priorities of assessing release sites and measuring contaminants was mentioned as tribes top priority

 

Karuk Tribe

-        Klamath Fish Health coordination on C. shasta Mgmt Research Plan workshop with cooperators, Arcata - Karuk, Hoopa, and Yurok tribe representatives at workshop (CANV FHC)

 

Klamath Tribes

-        Co-authored with the tribe a cooperative Business Plan for a National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Keystone Initiative Grant Program (KFFWO);

-        Participated in a collaborative project to monitor the effects of the Chiloquin Dam removal project (KFFWO);

-        Provided technical assistance to the Klamath Tribes on a streambank restoration project in the Sprague River (KFFWO);

-        Included tribal members on the Sucker Recovery Team

 

California Central Valley

 

Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation

-        This consortium of landless, and thus federally unrecognized, tribes has developed a working relationship with the San Luis NWR Complex over the past three years in an effort to repatriate the remains of tribal members removed from sites in the northern San Joaquin Valley over past decades during road construction projects.  The San Luis NWR Complex has had three Native American repatriation ceremonies on the refuge, repatriating the remains of dozens of Native Americans.  These ceremonies have enriched living tribal members' lives, Refuge staff, and the Refuge;

-        Nation representatives attended San Luis NWR Complex’s recent Comprehensive Conservation Planning scoping workshop and provided in-depth comments.

 

Washoe Tribe

-         Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office Contaminants team has been assisting the tribe on the Leviathan Mine Natural Resources Damage Assessment and restoration program for more than six years.  SFWO took the lead on preparing proposals which resulted in significant funding for the tribe, and assisted the tribe in developing reports, and interpreting data in the complex effort to restore damaged natural and tribal resources.

 

 

United Auburn Indian Community

-        Cooperating in discussions  for several years with the United Auburn Indian Community to minimize impacts on vernal pool species of  major sewage line for Thunder Valley casino.

 

Southern California

 

Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

-        Hopper Mtn. NWRC assisted with the donation of a CA. condor specimen for use in display at the Santa Ynez Chumash community center; The condor carcass was prepared into a specimen and permits acquired to transfer to the tribe. The Santa Barbara Natural History Museum donated to the tribe a nice display case and tribal member designed a backdrop mockup of the local valley, the specimen is mounted in a flying position with wings fully extended  and the exhibit shows the bird flying over the tribal lands.  The community center has received many positive comments from the tribal members to have a condor which is so important to their culture back home with them. 

 

-        Hopper Mtn. NWRC and USFS assisted members of the Chumash tribe with Special Use Permits for collection of native dogbane plants for cultural purposes such as basket weaving;

 

-        A Chumash elder was invited to conduct a blessing ceremony at the Santa Barbara Zoo groundbreaking for a new California condor exhibit on October 11, 2007;

 

-        The tribe was invited to participate in scientific symposium at Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Wildlife Refuge along with other Refuge partners, in effort to communicate conservation and historical efforts in the coastal dunes; a tribal elder gave a presentation on the importance of coastal resources to the tribe.

 

-        Hopper Mtn. NWRC facilitated a California Condor Field Working Group meeting at the Santa Inez Indian Reservation on October 18 and 19, 2007 to focus on field operational and management issues

 

Agua Calliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

-The Carlsbad FWO continues to work with the tribe on the nation's first multi-species Tribal HCP.  The THCP Plan Area would cover more than 35,800 acres of Reservation land and off-Reservation land (i.e., Tribal Trust land, Allotted Trust Land, Tribal Fee Land) in the Coachella Valley, Riverside County, California.  These lands are largely in a “checkerboard pattern” with lands that would be covered within the Plan Area of the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan. 

 

-Carlsbad FWO coordinated the Peninsular bighorn sheep critical habitat designation with Tribal representatives. 

 

-Carlsbad FWO are coordinating the proposed listing of Casey's June Beetle and associated proposed critical habitat designation with Tribal representatives as approximately half of this species' remaining habitat occurs on Tribal lands.

 

-Carlsbad FWO provided technical assistance for a TWG FY2009 proposal, including a support letter.

 

-Carlsbad FWO is working with the San Diego Natural History Museum, the Tribe, and other partners to develop a TWG proposal for FY2010.

 

Cahuilla Band of Indians

-Staff coordinated the development of the proposed critical habitat designation for the Quino checkerspot butterfly with Tribal representatives.  Based on our coordinated effort, the Economic Analysis put a greater emphasis on determining disproportionate costs of a designation on Tribal lands versus surrounding County lands.  Staff continues to coordinate the final critical habitat designation for this species with the Tribe.

 

Campo Band of Diegueno Mission Indians of the Campo Reservation (also known as Campo Band of Kumeyaay Indians)

-Staff coordinated the development of the proposed critical habitat designation for the Quino checkerspot butterfly with Tribal representatives.  Based on our coordinated effort, the Economic Analysis put a greater emphasis on determining disproportionate costs of a designation on Tribal lands versus surrounding County lands.  Staff continues to coordinate the final critical habitat designation for this species with the Tribe.

 

La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians:

-Staff are currently working on potential Partners for Fish and Wildlife projects and/or future TWG proposals.

 

Ramona Band of Cahuilla Indians

-Staff coordinated the development of the proposed critical habitat designation for the Quino checkerspot butterfly with Tribal representatives.  Based on our coordinated effort, the Economic Analysis put a greater emphasis on determining disproportionate costs of a designation on Tribal lands versus surrounding County lands.  Staff continues to coordinate the final critical habitat designation for this species with the Tribe.

 

-Staff provided technical assistance for wetlands project design and a TWG FY2009 proposal, including a support letter.

 

-Staff are currently working on a potential Partners for Fish and Wildlife project on Tribal lands.

 

San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians

-Staff met formally with Tribal representatives to discuss the critical habitat designation process and open up communications between the office and this Tribe. 

 

Torrez Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians:

-Staff provided technical assistance for wetlands project design and Tribal Wildlife Grant (TWG) FY2009 proposal, including a support letter

 

-Staff are currently working on a potential Partners for Fish and Wildlife project on Tribal lands.

 

Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians:

-Staff provided technical assistance for a TWG FY2009 proposal, including a support letter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egion 8, which encompasses California, Nevada and the Klamath Basin, is home to 129 federally recognized Native American Tribes (CA-103) (NV-25) (KB- 1). The Service has a long history of working with Native American governments in managing fish and wildlife resources. The Service’s approach to working with Native American Tribes is guided by its 1994 Native American Policy, which articulates the general principles that will guide the Service’s government- to-government relationship to Native American governments in the conservation of fish and wildlife resources, and 2000 Executive Order 13175 which addresses coordination and consultation with Indian tribal governments.

 

Under the previous Regional Director, the responsibility for Native American liaison duties was given to each project leader in their area of responsibility with no “single point of contact” Tribal Liaison position in the regional office.  The Tribal Grant program is administered through the tribal grants coordinator housed in the Conservation Partnerships program in the regional office. External Affairs is responsible for the dissemination of national Native American Program communications efforts.

&nb

Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov