Conserving this Nation’s fish and other aquatic resources cannot be successful without the partnership of Tribes; they manage or influence some of the most important aquatic habitats both on and off reservations. In addition, the Federal government and the Service have distinct and unique obligations toward Tribes based on trust responsibility, treaty provisions, and statutory mandates.
Tribal Fishery Programs
Mescalero Apache Tribal Fish Hatchery
The YCC crew at the Mescalero Apache Tribal Fish Hatchery in New Mexico was essential in hatchery operations. Moreover, the work was an opportunity to apply cultural teachings that provided purpose and direction to the youth.
The students participated in all facets of rainbow trout propagation. They learned practical construction and plumbing techniques while doing hatchery maintenance work. They built trails and installed fish habitat improvement structures in the Rio Ruidoso. The tribal youth were led by staff with the New Mexico Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office.
Apache Youth, Apache Trout
For over 50 years, the Arizona Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office has worked with the White Mountain Apache Tribe in conservation on 17 lakes and 350 miles of trout water. But the tribe has a unique asset: the Apache trout. Once near extinction, the rare yellow trout is now a sport fish, but the species still needs much attention. Last summer, seven tribal youth worked on Apache trout conservation. They did population surveys, evaluated artificial barriers that keep competing nonnative trout at bay, and helped rid streams of nonnative trout where Apache trout need to go.
For all of these American Indian youth, the summer 2010 was more than just a job—they were engaged, making a difference in fisheries conservation in their own back yard. All in all, the men and women gained valuable experience in natural resources conservation and developed themselves for future careers in conservation.