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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

CARLSBAD FWO -- Southern California Tribal Coordination Meeting Strengthens Partnerships

Region 8, March 7, 2012
FWS, BIA, and Tribes discuss partnership opportunities
from L to R: Amy Dutschke, Regional Director, BIA; Jim Bartel, Field Supervisor Carlsbad FWO; Scott Sobiech, Deputy Field Supervisor, Carlsbad FWO; R.J. Eben, BIA SCA; Kevin Bearquiver, Deputy Regional Director BIA; Lenore Lamb, BIA SCA; Melissa Estes, Campo Band of Mission Indians; Tiffany Wolfe, Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians; Alex Sweeney, Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians.
FWS, BIA, and Tribes discuss partnership opportunities from L to R: Amy Dutschke, Regional Director, BIA; Jim Bartel, Field Supervisor Carlsbad FWO; Scott Sobiech, Deputy Field Supervisor, Carlsbad FWO; R.J. Eben, BIA SCA; Kevin Bearquiver, Deputy Regional Director BIA; Lenore Lamb, BIA SCA; Melissa Estes, Campo Band of Mission Indians; Tiffany Wolfe, Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians; Alex Sweeney, Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians. - Photo Credit: n/a

By Jane Hendron, Carlsbad FWO

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office and the Palm Springs Fish and Wildlife Office hosted a Southern California Tribal coordination meeting on March 7, 2012, in Carlsbad, California. Southern California is rich in biological diversity and is steeped in Native American tradition and history, and the meeting provided an important opportunity to strengthen the Service’s partnerships with Tribes and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Michael Black, Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) attended Wednesdays’ meeting, along with Amy Dutschke, Regional Director of the BIA in California, Kevin Bearquiver, Deputy Regional Director, and other BIA representatives from Southern California. Andrew Hubble, with the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, also attended the meeting.

Representatives from 16 southern California Tribes, including the Honorable Bo Mazzetti, Chairman of the Rincon Band of Mission Indians, the Honorable Joseph Hamilton, Chairman of the Ramona Band of Cahuilla Indians, the Honorable LaVonne Peck, Chairwoman of the of the LaJolla Band of Luiseño Indians and Councilmember Greybuck Espinoza of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, were welcomed to the meeting by Jim Bartel, Field Supervisor of the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office. The primary purpose of the meeting was to renew and build upon the Service’s relationships with local Tribes and to open a free exchange of information among the Service and Tribes.

The meeting provided an opportunity to share information and the Service provided the Tribal representatives with updates about species listings and critical habitat designations. In particular, the Tribes explained how they are each unique in their government operations and traditions. Additionally, the Tribes expressed their views on critical habitat and their opinions that trust land should not be designated as critical habitat. Another issue of interest was the Fee-To-Trust process which is a priority for the Secretary. The BIA for the Southern California Area offered to coordinate a future informational session to help Service staff better understand the Fee-To-Trust process.

As the discussions drew to a close, a future meeting date was set, along with potential agenda items. It is hoped that regularly scheduled collaborative meetings will ultimately facilitate routine communications and identify mutually beneficial opportunities to work together.

Contact Info: jane hendron, , jane_hendron@fws.gov