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U.S. EPA awards over $40 million to Pacific Southwest tribes

Release Date: 10/31/2005
Contact Information: Laura Gentile, 415/947-4227

Funds awarded for environmental protection projects on tribal lands

COARSEGOLD, Calif. -- Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded more than $40 million in grants for environmental protection projects to tribes in California, Arizona and Nevada.

The announcement was made at the 13th Annual EPA Tribal Conference, hosted by the Picayune Tribe, in Coarsegold, Calif. near the Yosemite Valley. Over 500 tribal leaders and environmental professionals attended the conference.

"Tribes have made great progress in the last ten years in protecting their environments from pollution," said Wayne Nastri, administrator for the EPA's Pacific Southwest region. "These grants will help more tribal members breathe clean air, drink safe water, and enjoy better-protected lands."

The EPA's funding will be used to develop environmental programs, build water and sewage treatment systems, and implement air pollution control, solid waste management, watershed monitoring and restoration projects. The money will be distributed to more than 140 tribes in the Pacific Southwest, as follows:

- $19 million to California tribes

> $125,000 to the Torres Martinez tribe to assess lead-based paint hazards affecting children.

- $13.5 million to Arizona tribes

> $125,000 to the Colorado River Indian Tribe to assess lead-based paint hazards affecting children.

> $100,000 to the Havasupai Tribe, located in the Grand Canyon. The Havasupai Tribe faces unparalleled environmental challenges -- the only access to the reservation is by helicopter, horseback, or an 8-mile walk.

- $7.7 million to Nevada tribes

> $180,000 to the Washoe Tribe to clean up and restore the Clear Creek watershed.

More than 90% of the 146 federally recognized Tribes in the Pacific Southwest now have environmental programs, up from just a handful 10 years ago.

This year, Tribes in the Pacific Southwest used grant funds to provide safe water to more than 1,200 tribal homes, recycle more than a million pounds of waste and clean up more than 150 illegal open dumps. Specific accomplishments include:


- the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, located near Reno, closed and cleaned up all illegal open dump sites and restored endangered fisheries along the Truckee River.

- the Yomba-Shoshone Tribe closed an open dump site, removed more than 70 abandoned cars, and opened a recycling center.

- the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe built an arsenic removal water treatment plant which provides safe drinking water for the community.

- the Washoe Tribe recycled 4,627 lbs of material.


- the Havasupai Tribe worked with the EPA, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service to develop a solid waste management program.

- EPA and the Navajo Nation inspected 79 underground storage tanks, issued 17 field citations, and trained more than 150 tribal inspectors.

- the Yavapai-Prescott Tribe installed erosion control measures to prevent sediment from entering Granite Creek and harming aquatic life.

- the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community worked with the EPA on a wetlands demonstration project to remove pollutants from irrigation water and stormwater that flows into the Salt River.


- the Yurok tribe increased water sampling to study fish kills and other threats to human health and the environment.

- five tribes in Northern California monitored water quality to gauge the effects of blue-green algae on the Klamath River ecosystem.

- the Torres-Martinez Tribe constructed a wetland restoration project near the Salton Sea.

For more information on the EPA's tribal program for the Pacific Southwest region, please go to