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Environmental Department2019-07-11T12:20:34-08:00

Protecting, addressing, and  achieving a clean environment, land and sea, and continuing a subsistence way of life for our council and Tribal membership, and future generations. 

INDIAN GENERAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (IGAP)

In 1992, Congress passed the Indian Environmental General Assistance Program Act. This act authorized EPA to provide General Assistance Program (GAP) grants to federally recognized tribes and tribal consortia for planning, developing and establishing environmental protection programs in Indian country, and for developing and implementing solid and hazardous waste programs on tribal lands.

The goal of GAP (CFDA 66.926) is to assist tribes and inter tribal consortia in developing the capacity to manage their own environmental protection programs, and to develop and implement solid and hazardous waste programs in accordance with individual tribal needs and applicable federal laws and regulations.

The U.S. EPA has funded an Environmental Program through Indian General Assistance Program (IGAP) dollars at the DIA since 1997, and the Tribe has been investigating and addressing environmental impacts to our membership since that time.

Quick Links

IGAP WEBSITE

BROWNFIELD ALASKA STATE & TRIBAL RESPONSE PROGRAM (STRP)

The State and Tribal Response Program (STRP) is a national, non-competitive program funded by Section 128(a) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and are awarded by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The STRP programs address the assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment of brownfields sites.

As of February 2018, there are 28 STRP grantees in Alaska. These grantees are composed of tribes, consortia, non-profit organizations, and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

DIA has managed the Brownfield TRP since 2011. DIA has been able build inventory and data on potentially contaminated sites with our Traditional Territory.  DIA was able to build capacity within our Environmental program to help address potential contamination in our Traditional Territory. DIA has also gained many federal & state agency partnerships through TRP.  DIA has also been able to bring out awareness and education to the public and Tribal members about the potential risks of contaminated sites in our Traditional Territory.

Quick Links

STRP BROWNFIELD WEBSITE
DIA STRP PUBLIC RECORD
DIA STRP SITE INVENTORY
STRP SITE INVENTORY MAP

BROWNFIELD STRP SAMPLING PROJECTS 

STRP SAMPLING PROJECT BOOKLET
Department of Health & Human Services (ATSDR) letter to request action Sandy Beach
Department of Health & Human Services (ATSDR) letter in-depth evaluation plan Sandy Beach

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

 Addressing the environmental issues of concern within our territory. In the interest of the DIA, their council and tribal membership, and future generations.

Taking action to address our long-term vision of achieving a clean environment, land and sea, and continuing a subsistence way of life. 

Addressing concerns with contamination from historic, current and future mining efforts,  derelict fishing gear in the Taku River and contamination from the Juneau Landfill into  Gastineau channel. Work with the Taku First Nations to address Salmon Resiliency within the Taku. Identifying and protecting sacred sites within our traditional and historical territory. 

ADDRESS MINING CONTAMINATION

The DIA has identified addressing environmental concerns associated with past, current and future mining throughout the Douglas and Auk territories as a high priority. Primary mines of concern include the Tulsequah Chief Mine on the Taku River, AJ Mine in downtown Juneau, Treadwell Mine in South Douglas, Greens Creek Mine on Admiralty Island and Kensington Mine near Berners Bay.

More recently, the DIA has become increasingly involved in investigating the contamination associated with historic mining efforts. The Tribe was awarded an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields grant to begin inventorying and assessing sites for the inclusion in a Brownfields program, which assists in prioritizing clean-up needs and efforts. The DIA has been involved in sampling water quality on the Taku River and sampling tailings at Sandy Beach, in association with the Treadwell and AJ mines.

Heavy metal contamination is the primary source of concern arsenic, mercury, lead, and copper are especially harmful and recent studies have focused on methyl mercury levels in fish tissue.

  • Long-term development goal: To be able to work with relevant agencies to assure that the subsistence habitat environment is protected to the maximum amount possible. To assure that sacred and historic sites are protected to the maximum amount possible from environmental impacts.
  • Intermediate program development milestone: Work with agencies, Tribes & Transboundary Workgroup on cross-border cooperation by assuring contamination from mines are being addressed.
  • Management Plan: Address contamination within our Tribal Territory and develop outreach and education materials for Tribal members regarding the potential risk associated with harvesting subsistence resources in traditional food areas.
  • Assistance: Work with the USFS on the mining operations in our traditional territory and environmental protocols. Stay involved with the public process when changes in operations occur.

ADDRESS MARINE DEBRIS WITHIN OUR TRADITIONAL TERRITORY

Derelict fishing gear, such as lost fishing nets and crab pots, can continue to trap and kill fish, crab, and other animals as long as they persist in the marine environment. This “ghost-fishing” effect is detrimental to the marine species and to the fisheries associated with them. Not only does “ghost- fishing” have impacts by directly killing subsistence fisheries; they make other fisheries problematic for the area. The DIA has been conducting marine debris cleanups to remove derelict fishing gear within our Traditional Territory. The DIA has completed a marine debris cleanup in the Gastineau Channel removing approximately 35 derelict crab pots from the environment and saving several crab and marine life from the trapped crab pots. The DIA will continue to conduct marine debris cleanups to remove nets and crab pots from the marine environment by means of grappling via a boat-based operation.

In addition to clean-up of derelict fishing gear, marine debris in general is an issue for the Tribe. This garbage and the potential for associated contamination in the marine environment may have impacts on subsistence resources.

  • Long-term development goal: Work with agencies, tribes and contractors to organize and conduct marine debris removal within our traditional territory.
  • Intermediate program development milestone: Focus on high priority fishing areas in our traditional territory such Gastineau Channel, Auk Bay and parts of Taku Inlet for survey of debris and clean-up
  • Management Plan: The DIA will organize public education and outreach about this issue. Hosting a meeting with tribal membership to educate them about the issues of marine debris in our waters. Do a public awareness or presentation on our efforts in Marine Debris Cleanup to other originations, tribes, agencies, workgroups around southeast Alaska. DIA will post press releases to the media, Information on Marine Debris to our DIA Facebook page and develop informational handouts for the public.
  • Assistance: The DIA will seek funding to conduct marine debris clean ups in our traditional territory through the NOAA Marine Debris grant or other eligible marine debris grants.

MARINE DEBRIS PROJECTS

NOAA Marine Debris Project

In 2016-2017 The DIA Marine Debris Removal Project was conducted to: locate, remove and prevent accumulation of derelict crab pots from marine habitats of the Juneau marine environment, Gastineau Channel area identified as Essential Fish Habitats, including marine protected areas, Habitat Areas of Particular Concern for salmon and known distribution areas for halibut, Dungeness, Tanner and King crab.

June 3rd, 2015|Categories: DIA Environmental Projects|Tags: |0 Comments
MARINE DEBRIS PROJECT BOOKLET

ADDRESS JUNEAU LANDFILL ISSUES

Unlike other Southeast communities, who have their landfills positioned outside of the main community infrastructure, the Juneau Landfill is in central Lemon Creek area, between the Mendenhall Valley and downtown Juneau.

Since the closure of the incinerator in 2004 the amount of waste being placed in the landfill has reached higher levels than ever before. The DIA is concerned with the health hazard posed to residents of Lemon Creek as well as the impacts to traditional subsistence foods in the Gastineau Channel, including sea asparagus, shellfish, fish, and waterfowl. They are worried about the safety of eating these foods and feel they must take the additional time and expense to travel farther from the community to harvest these traditional food sources. They have also stated that the fish streams in the Lemon Creek watershed that use to be home to trout and spawning salmon no longer have fish. They believe the Juneau community should be doing a better job of monitoring and managing waste flows in the community. They have proposed a community waste tracking program to better quantify, monitor, and manage our community disposal and recycling practices.

  • Long-term development goal: Ensuring the Juneau community has a sustainable long-term landfill management plan. Protect traditional substance resources and historic sites.
  • Intermediate program development milestone: Coordinate with proper City departments, agencies or property owner to ensure protections of our food resources and historic sites. Coordinate with proper agencies on sampling data and reports being done on the City land fill contaminations.
  • Management Plan: Address contamination within our Tribal Territory and develop outreach and education materials for Tribal members regarding the potential risk associated with harvesting subsistence resources in traditional food areas.
  • Assistance: Seek training for handling hazardous waste materials and landfill contamination issues.

PROTECT HISTORIC & SACRED SITES

The DIA is working with the U.S. Forest Service and meets on a monthly basis here in Juneau to identify and protect sacred sites within our tribal territory. Sacred sites can be burial grounds, former village locations, or other areas traditionally important to the Taku Tribe. Under federal definition, sacred sites are usually limited to a specific and defined area. An old building site, a cave, or a small burial site might qualify to be a sacred site, but whole territories or sections of land cannot be considered sacred sites under the federal definition. The DIA is concerned that areas historically and culturally important to the Taku (Douglas) people will become altered, developed, or in other ways impacted if they do not work to make sure they formally identify and protect these sites. The Taku (Douglas) people are linked to the land and environment and in that respect cultural and sacred sites are intricately linked to natural resources. Protections on the environment are in essence, protections on cultural and sacred sites.

DIA will continue to work on identifying and protecting sacred sites so that these protections will be in place before conflicting development issues arise. By taking action now, DIA hopes to avoid construction or development on these important lands. DIA will continue to coordinate with the U.S. Forest Service on this project and work under an adopted MOU between the DIA and the USFS.

The DIA has completed the repatriation of human remains in 2017. We are moving forward in developing the infrastructure to administer the protection of our natural resources which includes tribal sacred places and sacred objects.

More recently DIA started working with the USFS on a 3-5 year project, via an adopted MOU to help assist with the Tongass National Forest removal of the Admiralty Cove Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) ERA shelter, Admiralty national monument, Tongass National Forest. DIA will assist the USFS in the mitigation of the shelter, also with the cultural awareness to youth and elders, and developing interpretive cultural signage for placement within adjacent public use cabins interpreting traditional territory of the Aawk Kwaan and Taaku Kwaan and the history of the Admiralty Cove Shelter as it relates to the CCC Trail and shelter system at the North end of Admiralty Island, from Young Lake to Admiralty Cove.

  • Long-term development goal: Work on identifying and protecting historic and sacred sites within with in our traditional territories. Protection of the environment, protection on cultural and sacred sites.
  • Intermediate program development milestone: Work with the proper agencies to identify and protect sacred sites from development.
  • Management Plan: Manage a database in ArcGIS, which houses Geo-referenced information. Map out all historic sites, substance resources, old Tlingit villages or fishing camp sites.
  • Assistance: Seek training for repatriation of human remains & sacred objects. Seek funding to complete the repatriation process.  Continue to work with the USFS on protection of historic/sacred sites.

SALMON RESILIENCY

The DIA is currently working with Taku River Tlingit First Nations (TRTFN) to address salmon resiliency in the Taku Inlet.  There has been a low count of salmon, mainly King & Sockeye salmon within the past 5 years in the Taku Inlet. DIA and TRTFN are partnering together to address this issue and to find out what is causing the low returns of salmon.

  • Long-term development goal: Work with TRTFN on identifying the major causes of low salmon returns to the Taku and protecting the Taku watershed.
  • Intermediate program development milestone: Work with TRTFN, Tribes and proper agencies to help address the issues of low salmon runs in the Taku.
  • Management Plan:  Address the causes of the low salmon returns within the Taku and develop outreach and education for Tribal members, and general      public regarding the major causes of low salmon returns to the Taku.
  • Assistance: DIA will work with TRTFN to coordinate public workshops on salmon resiliency within the Taku area.  DIA and TRTFN will also seek funding  to help address salmon resiliency for planning and workshops.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR PROGRAMS

DIA ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS

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