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U.S. Geological Survey Activities Related to
American Indians and Alaska Natives
Fiscal Year 1998

Table of Contents | Tribal Governments | Organizations/Events | States | Introduction | Education | Environment | Resources | Technical Assistance | General Coordination and Policy | Future Opportunities | Contacts |

Environmental Activities

Everglades Ecosystem Program. The concerns of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida are integral parts of the concerns about the health and management of the Everglades. Scientists from the USGS participate with representatives of these Tribes on the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Working Group. In consultation with the Working Group and Tribal representatives, USGS scientists focus on water management issues, landscape ecology, wetland ecology, fire ecology, ornithology and icthyology, coral reef ecology, and long-term monitoring.

Water rights of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida have been a sources of considerable concern within the broad framework of ecosystem restoration. The Water Rights Compact, between the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, is one example of "creating a comprehensive and effective system of regulation applicable to Seminole lands that is in harmony with the State's system." In addition, a recent agreement mandates that no diminution or alteration of Tribal rights, particularly water rights defined in the Compact, may occur as a result of implementing the Act. The accurate determination of flow through the interior canal networks is necessary for water budgets and regional model calibrations by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Miccosukee and Seminole Tribes, South Florida Water Management District, National Park Service, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The USGS is providing water quality and quantity measurements and cross-agency training to the Seminole Tribe. The activity makes use of a tri-agency agreement (Seminole Tribe, USGS, SFWMD) and a separate funding agreement between the USGS and Seminole Tribe. The Miccosukee Tribe may participate in future training programs.

As part of the Everglades Restoration program, the Corps of Engineers and the SFWMD propose modified water deliveries to Indian lands, Big Cypress National Preserve (National Park Service), and other areas located in interior Florida. The proposed modified water deliveries are designed to provide net flood protection and water delivery benefits to agricultural lands as well as partial restoration of historic ecosystem conditions within both Seminole and Miccosukee Tribal lands. The effects that these proposed modifications in water deliveries will have on Indian Tribal lands can only be determined if interior flows are accurately known. The Everglades Construction Project, developed as a result of the Everglades Restoration Program, required diversion of surface water to a storm-water treatment area and will cause a significant portion of the water subject to the Seminole Tribe's entitlement to be unavailable for direct Tribal use. Best management practices in the area and other aspects of the Everglades Restoration Program may also impact water available for Tribal use. The SFWMD has agreed to conduct several studies concerning the quality of water entering the Seminole's Big Cypress Reservation. USGS is contributing information on nutrient and other contaminants in the canal system. These studies will be used to identify sources of water-quality degradation and may trigger enforcement action or creation of a new regulatory program to address water-quality problems. Contact: Contact: Aaron Higer, 561-687-6560, issues) or Florida Caribbean Science Center, 352-378-8181, (ecology issues)

Chippewa Ottawa Treaty Fishery Management Authority. A team of USGS scientists worked with the Chippewa Ottawa Treaty Fishery Management Authority to implant temperature recording devices in 92 lake trout. The fish were released into Lake Huron where internal and external temperatures will be logged hourly for a year. Data will be recovered from the tags when the fish are recaptured in sport or tribal commercial fisheries, and should yield unprecedented insights into the environment occupied by trout. Contact: Roger A. Bergstedt, 517-734-4768,

Effects of Lampricides on Native Mussels. The USGS Biological Resources Division and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians are cooperating in a study to evaluate the effects of lampricide treatments on mussels native to waterways on the Bad River Reservation. Lampricides are chemical treatments, developed by Federal and other scientists, to reduce the population of lampreys in the Great Lakes. Lampreys are an introduced species that harm Great Lakes fisheries. USGS scientists are seeking a method of reducing the lamprey population without harming native mussels. Contact: Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, 608-783-6451,

Contamination on the Lands of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. The objective of this work with the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to define the local ground water flow system around the County Road A Contamination Site. The Contamination Site is a paper mill sludge disposal locality with two open ponds. The EPA hopes to confirm whether contaminants associated with the sludge are moving off-site in the ground water. It is critical to the investigation to identify the proper locations down-gradient of the contaminated sites for placement of monitoring wells. These monitoring wells will be used for water-quality sampling and as additional water level information. Water level recorders, pond stage recorders, and meteorological instruments will be employed to estimate a water budget for the ponds in order to define the connection between the pond and the ground water system. Contact: Jim Krohelski, 608-821-3850,

Oneida Indian Nation Hydrologic Investigations. Provide retrospective and baseline hydrologic information for the Oneida Indian Nation's watershed. This information will be obtained from a retrospective analyses of existing literature, databases, and other information including existing geographic information system (GIS) coverages. The project will also collect water-quality samples to fill gaps in the retrospective database. A Water Resources Investigation Report will be prepared that correlates environmental and anthopogenic factors with water quality. The report results will be used to identify the best sites for long-term water quality sampling for the Oneida Nation. Contact: Jim Krohelski, 608-821-3850,

Menominee Reservation Water Quality Monitoring. Information is needed to describe the current status of water quality and biotic conditions of the Wolf River within the Reservation of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, and to determine the presence or absence of contaminants in water, sediment, and biota. The primary objective of the baseline monitoring is to establish data at index stations near the upstream and downstream boundaries of the Reservation that will help to conserve and protect ambient conditions and ecosystems and be used to determine future changes in environmental conditions of the Reservation. Project activities include determining the concentrations of specific trace elements in water column samples and in composite samples of fish livers, caddisfly larvae, and fine streambed sediments. The project will also determine particle size fractions of the fine streambed sediments. Contact: Jim Krohelski, 608-821-3850,

Identifying the Occurrence, Distribution, and Concentration of Hydrocarbons in the Shell Valley Aquifer. The purpose of this study, done in cooperation with the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, is to evaluate hydrocarbons in the Shell Valley aquifer, in creeks, and in wetlands. The objectives are to determine the spatial distribution of hydrocarbons in ground water, creeks and wetlands, and determine the concentrations and types of hydrocarbons. The aquifer is used by the Turtle Mountain Band as a water supply. Contact: Wayne R. Berkas, 701-250-7429,

Hydraulic Properties of Surficial Sediments in the Shell Valley Aquifer. The purpose of this study is to systematically examine the hydraulic characteristics of the Shell Valley aquifer, which is used by the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. The study will investigate the vertical distribution of sediment texture and determine an accurate potentiometric surface. The spatial distribution of the sediment textures, and calculate the hydraulic conductivity of the aquifer at two locations in the aquifer. Contact: Douglas G. Emerson, 701-250-7402,

Fish Habitat Research. The USGS' South Dakota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit continued to assist the Oglala Sioux Tribe in preparing a report on the status of the environmental health of the White River watershed in South Dakota. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service cooperated in this effort. Contact: South Dakota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, 605-688-6121,

Soil and Water Contamination of Lands of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma. There is visible and geochemical evidence of contamination by organic substances of a small creek that is a tributary of the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River in Kay County approximately three miles south of Ponca City in northern Oklahoma. The creek is fed by springs located on and within 50 yards of the northern border of Ponca Tribal lands (Area 31). Water in the creek has an oily film and the sediment in the creek bottom and banks is coated with black sludge. In places, the sludge is thick and voluminous. The creek visibly gains in flow as it crosses Area 31. At some undetermined date, the creek channel was excavated to cut off a meander on Area 31. There has been vegetative die-off on the southwest side of Area 31 and trees along the northern border of Area 31 are stressed and dying.

The USGS study is identifying the chemical composition of the visible contamination as well as possible visible and chemical evidence of the contamination movement down the creek to other trust lands. USGS will examine the soil and ground water in the alluvium in Area 31 along the creek and determine whether it is also contaminated with the same substance. Most importantly to human health, the USGS will investigate the health risks associated with exposure to the contamination. This project is funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Contact: Donna L. Runkle, 405-810-4403,

Water Contamination of Supply Wells of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma. Recent sampling by the Inter-tribal Environmental Council of Oklahoma found contaminants in water in two wells belonging to the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, though the Oklahoma Department of Environ-mental Quality has stated that the compounds do not pose a health risk. Because of evidence of historic contamination of a creek and potential sources of present contamination in the area, evaluation of the ground-water quality between the creek and the well will help determine the risk of drinking ground water from this area. The project is designed to conduct sampling and analysis to determine whether the creek is contaminated in the vicinity of the wells, the extent of the contamination, and whether the ground water in the aquifer is contaminated between the creek and the wells. The study will also identify the chemical composition of the contamination. This project is funded by the Bureau of Reclamation. Contact: Donna L. Runkle, 405-810-4403,

Contamination of Soil and Water on Trust Land of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Indian Affairs (EPA), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) share responsibility for oversight of petroleum production by private companies on Indian trust land. The Bureau of Land Management has found evidence of contamination of both soils and water by brines in Payne County on land held in trust for the Pawnee Indians. Grasses, small shrubs, and large trees are dead. On the gentle upper slopes near an incised creek, the grass is living but the larger trees are dead, which may indicate that the contaminated ground water is moving deeper towards its discharge points in the creek. The EPA and EPA sampled water seeping out of a stream bank about 30 to 40 feet below the site and found that it contained abnormally high quantities of dissolved solids.

The extent, nature, and sources of contamination on the Pawnee lands have not been determined. The USGS project is attempting to determine the source or sources of the surface and water contamination and the extent of surficial contamination. It is also investigating whether the shallowest freshwater aquifer, the Ada aquifer, is contaminated. Oil production activities in the vicinity of the site include four production wells drilled in the 1950's, one salt-water disposal wells, and three wells of unknown status. There are also newer wells in the general vicinity. Contact: Donna L. Runkle, 405-810-4403,

Contamination Affects on the Fort Peck Reservation. Brine from oil-production activities in the East Poplar Oil Field has been disposed of in evaporation pits or injected into subsurface geologic units. Disposal of the brine apparently has resulted in contamination of aquifers used by the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation. The objectives of the project are to determine the areas of contamination and the chemical characteristics of the brine and the contamination. Work includes investigating possible geochemical reactions, the direction and rate of movement of certain constituents. The source areas of the contaminants and the effect of the contamination on other water resources, such as the Poplar River, are also being studied. Contact: Joanna Thamke, 406-441-1319,

Extent and Origin of Nitrates in the Flaxville Aquifer, Fort Peck Reservation. A source of ground water for the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation is contaminated with nitrate compounds. Water samples collected from the Flaxville aquifer during reconnaissance studies indicated that nitrate concentrations in ground water in the Flaxville aquifer commonly exceeded drinking water standards. Currently, the source of the nitrates is unknown. The objectives of the USGS project are to determine where and why nitrates are concentrating in the Flaxville aquifer and to identify where the nitrates are coming from. The study will also determine the hydraulic characteristics of the Flaxville aquifer, and will describe conditions in the unsaturated zone that may influence nitrate concentrations. Contact: Joanna Thamke, 406-441-1319,

Investigating Flood Hazards Along Streams on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. USGS hydrologists are delineating the 100-year flood plain along streams in the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation . The areas that would be inundated by a 100-year flood along these streams are important to planning safe uses of the Northern Cheyenne Tribal lands. Information on flood-prone areas, provided by the USGS, will help the Tribe make decisions concerning the location of buildings, structures, roads, and other facilities. By using the flood plain information, the Tribe can make more effective use of their land and avoid uneconomical, hazardous, or unnecessary uses of parts of the flood plain in connection with these facilities,. The objective of the project is to determine the extent of flooding that would occur as the result of a 100-year recurrence-interval flood along Lame Deer Creek, Muddy Creek, Rosebud Creek, and the Tongue River. Contact: Charles Parrett, 406-441-1319,

Paleoflood Hydrology of Dry Creek and St. Mary's Lake, Flathead Reservation. Dry Creek is a small stream that drains about 11 square miles upstream from St. Mary's Lake in the Mission Range on the lands of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Tabor Dam was constructed in 1930 to increase the size of the natural lake. A recent evaluation indicated that the dam, although generally considered stable, requires modification to safely handle a probable maximum flood (PMF). However, the use of the PMF as the criteria is controversial because the probability of exceeding the PMF is unknown. Paleoflood hydrology, which is the study of the geologic record of past floods, offers a way of using preserved flood data from the past several thousand years to assess the reasonableness of PMF estimates. The purpose of this study is to obtain paleoflood evidence for Dry Creek and to estimate flood magnitude and frequency based on the paleoflood evidence. Contact: Charles Parrett, 406-441-1319,

Middle Rio Grande Basin. The Middle Rio Grande Basin project completed year three of a five-year investigation of ground water resources in the area between Espanola and San Acacia, New Mexico. This region encompasses part or all of 14 Pueblo Nations surrounding the metropolitan areas of Santa Fe, Bernalillo, Albuquerque, and Belen, New Mexico. Geologists and hydrologists from this USGS project have been working to provide scientific information about factors that control the location, quality, and availability of ground water in this ecologically sensitive and fast-growing area of the State. USGS contacts with Tribal representatives have served to explain the scope of these scientific studies, the methods of investigation and the potential uses of the geologic and hydrologic information for Tribal management of water resources.

Airborne magnetic surveys in parts of the basin during prior years demonstrated that mapping detailed fracture patterns can help identify geologic influences on ground-water flow. The USGS funded completion of these airborne surveys in Fiscal Year 1998 over parts of 11 Pueblos: San Juan, Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, Pojoaque, Nambe, Tesuque, Jemez, Zia, Santa Ana, San Felipe, and Santo Domingo. This work compliments previous work that covered part or all of the Cochiti, Sandia, and Isleta Pueblos. The results of these airborne surveys, along with concurrent geologic mapping on the Pueblos by USGS and the New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, are discussed with Tribal officials prior to publication and public release.

Collaboration between USGS and the north-central New Mexico Tribes is exemplified by the work that has taken place on the Isleta Pueblo over the last several years. Geologists meet regularly with the Pueblo's environmental and resource officers to discuss progress of geological mapping and geophysical investigations USGS employees have also conducted field excursions with Tribal officers. USGS information has been used by Isleta Pueblo to guide drilling activities aimed at evaluating ground- water resources on Isleta lands. Two geologic maps were released during 1998 for the Wind Mesa (Open-File Report 97-740) and the Dalies NW (Open-File Report 97-741) quadrangles. Airborne geophysical survey data were released as Open-File Report 98-341 for the entire Pueblo and surroundings.

USGS maintains an active cooperative program with the Pueblo Nations for hydrologic studies in the Middle Rio Grande Basin area. USGS obtains data from stream gaging stations and wells to document the quantity and quality of water resources on Tribal lands and nearby areas. Contact: (Geologic issues) Jim Cole, 303-236-1417, or ; (Hydrologic issues) Jim Bartolino, 505-262-5336,

Hydrologic Studies of Pueblo of San Ildefonso Lands. This USGS study is evaluating the extent of environmental impacts on the geohydrologic system of the Pueblo of San Ildefonso and adjacent Department of Energy (DOE) lands. The study will identify the water-quality characteristics of water resources on the Pueblo and adjacent DOE lands. It will identify potential sources of pollution within the study area. Water-quality data are being provided for future use by the Pueblo of San Ildefonso in their development of water-quality standards. The USGS is also providing technical training to Pueblo employees (see Technical Assistance part of this report). Contact: Cynthia Abeyta, 505-262-5358,

Geohydrologic and Water-Quality Assessment of Pueblo of Jemez Ancestral Lands. The primary objective of this study is to evaluate the extent of environmental impacts on the geohydrologic system of the Upper Jemez River Watershed. This is being accomplished by identifying the water-quality characteristics of water resources within the Jemez River watershed and identifying point and non-point sources of pollution within the study area. As part of this project, the USGS is providing water-quality data to the Pueblo of Jemez for thier future use in determining appropriate economic development alternatives. The USGS is also providing technical training to Pueblo employees (see Technical Assistance part of this report). Contact: Cynthia Abeyta, 505-262-5358,

Indian Participation in Climate Assessment. A Zuni Pueblo member represents Indian stakeholders on a Southwest regional assessment team. The Southwest regional team, with a federal co-coordinator from the USGS and a non-federal co-coordinator from the University of New Mexico, is part of the National Assessment of Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Climate Change. The team is expected to evaluate societal consequences of climate issues in the southwest. Team members were selected to represent a variety of stakeholders to provide the project with multiple perspectives. Together, the team will produce a written report on their findings. A video on the project features the Indian representative, along with other team members. Contact: Todd Hinkley, 303-236-5850,

Sedimentation and Erosion on Lands of the Navajo Nation. Navajo land-use managers must contend with erosion and sedimentation in determining the best uses-or non-uses-of their lands. This study, by the USGS, is identifying sources and mechanisms of how sediment is produced. The study will estimate rates and volumes of hill-slope, valley, and channel erosion and sedimentation in tributary drainage basins within the Navajo lands. Results of the study will help land-use managers and residents assess the stability of channels, and the relative erodibility of valleys and hill-slopes. Contact: John Parker, 520-670-6671 ext. 271,

Locating Exotic Plants. The USGS' Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center has developed the Southwest Exotic Plant Mapping Program to provide Tribal, Federal, State and private land managers with data and maps for inventorying, monitoring, and sharing data on exotic plant species in the Southwest. The Navajo Nation participates in this project.

USGS scientists have provided a standardized methodology to the Navajos for the collection of field data and has assisted in implementing the effort at several sites on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and New Mexico. Data collected will be added to the Program's database. The data and associated maps, available on the Program's web site, will help the Navajo Nation monitor and control the spread of exotic species on Navajo. Contact: Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, 541-750-7307,

Availability and Quality of Surface-Water and Ground Water Resources of the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Reservation. The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe's primary water-resource needs are related to water rights, availability, and water quality. The USGS study is assisting the Tribe by determining surface water inflows and outflows in Granite Creek within the Reservation boundary as well as peak flows in four tributaries to Granite Creek. The project is also defining the potential occurrence and concentration of suspected contaminants, associated with past and current industrial activities within and near the Reservation, in water, sediments, and the alluvial aquifer of Granite Creek. The study will identify the rate and direction of movement of potential contaminants entering or existing in the alluvial aquifer of Granite Creek. This work will assist the Tribe in determining the potential for developing ground-water supplies on the Reservation. Contact: Greg Littin, 520-556-7255,

Hydrologic Investigation of Grande Wash, Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Indian Community. The USGS investigation is helping the Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Indian Community protect life and property by furnishing hydrologic data to the Community. The investigation is determining whether ground water near landfills is contaminated and whether the landfills are sources of that contamination. The source, quantity, and quality of streamflow in Grande Wash at the western boundary of the Fort McDowell Reservation will be evaluated, and the 100-year flood-plain will be delineated within Grande Wash. The effects of land use on peak surface-water flows within the Grande Wash drainage upstream from the Reservation are also being examined. Contact: John P. Hoffman, 520-670-6671 ext. 265,

Apache Trout. Scientists from the USGS' Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, in cooperation with the White Mountain Apache Tribe's Fish and Game Department and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are continuing studies to assess the survival of Apache trout. These native species have been reintroduced into streams on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. The Cooperative Research Unit sponsors a graduate student, who is a Tribal member, to conduct the research. Contact: Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, 520-621-1959,

Fallon Basalt Aquifers - Phase I, Data Synthesis and Analysis. The Nevada Division of Water Resources, the Navy, and the Bureau of Reclamation are cooperating with USGS on this study to better define sources of water and controls on the quality of water in the Fallon Basalt Aquifer. This Aquifer is the sole source of drinking water for the City of Fallon, the Fallon Naval Air Station, and the Fallon Paiute and Shoshone Tribe (Fallon Colony). The Fallon Colony is contributing data to the project, providing access to Tribal lands for drilling, and is a potential cooperator for Phase II of this study. Phase ll involves developing a digital model of the aquifer and an assessment of the potential for in situ treatment of arsenic concentrations, which exceed current the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's maximum concentration levels for drinking water. Contact: Terry Rees,775-887-7635,

Monitoring Water Quality from Leviathan Mine. USGS is cooperating with the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California in a Natural Resources Damage Assessment associated with acid mine drainage from a sulfur mine in the upper reaches of the Bryant Creek drainage which crosses Tribal Lands. USGS scientists sampled water and bed-sediments and measured streamflow discharge in a reconnaissance study to evaluate distribution of heavy metals within the drainage basin. The data will be used as a basis for determining the potential damage to environmental and cultural resources on Tribal lands. The Washoe Tribe, and others, have requested ongoing technical concerning drainage from the Leviathan Mine. It is likely that the USGS will be asked to be involved in additional studies in the drainage when results from the initial sampling round are received and additional needs can be defined. Contact: Jon Nowlin, 775-887-7600,

National Irrigation Drainage Program- Carson River. Within the framework of this Department of the Interior Program, a study was done in the Carson River drainage to determine the occurrence and concentration of methylmercury. Tribal lands of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California and of the Fallon Paiute and Shoshone Tribe lie within this drainage. Traditional subsistence resources such as fish have been known to be contaminated with mercury, a legacy of the Comstock mining era in which milling processes resulted in thousands of tons of mercury to be released into the middle and lower Carson River drainage. Contact: Ray Hoffman, 775-887-7614,

Ecological Conditions along the Elwha River. The formerly free-flowing Elwha River was famous for the diversity and size of its salmon runs; it produced an estimated 380,000 migrating salmon and trout and support 10 runs of anadromous salmonids, including runs of chinook that exceeded 100 hours. After construction of the Elwha Dam (1912) and the Glines Canyon Dam (1927), more than 70 miles of the river and its tributary habitats were lost to anadromous fish production. In response to the loss of salmon in the Elwha River basin, the Elwha River Restoration Act of 1992 was passed. The law began the process of assessing the feasibility of restoring the Elwha River ecosystem. The USGS, in cooperation with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, is evaluating the current ecological status and nutrient dynamics of the Elwha River to assist in developing salmon restoration management plans and develop an ecological framework for describing current and future ecological conditions in the Elwha River Basin. Contact: Mark Munn, 253-428-3600 ext. 2686,

Fault-Hazards and the Quinault Indian Nation. As part of an ongoing effort to characterize earthquake hazards in the Pacific Northwest, the USGS has mapped Quaternary-age faults and folds on the Quinault Indian Reservation since 1992, with assistance from the Quinault Department of Natural Resources. In 1997 and 1998, the USGS collected marine geophysical data directly off the shores the Quinault lands. The purpose of the mapping is to identify the near-shore counterparts to onshore geologic structures and to determine their rates of movement. This investigation addresses the question of whether crustal faults, independently of large subduction earthquakes, pose a significant seismic hazard to local communities.

Research results will be incorporated into a synthesis of crustal earthquake faults in the Pacific Northwest and used to update the next edition of the USGS-National Seismic Hazards Maps due to be published in 2000. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration donated the use of a research vessel. Contact: Pat McCrory, 650-329-5677,

Trinity River Basin. The USGS is assisting with restoration of the salmonid fisheries in the Trinity River Basin, California. This project, involving Tribal interests of the Hoopa Valley, Yurok, and Karuk Indians of northern California, is a major inter-agency, inter-jurisdictional effort to restore a fishery decimated by water exportation and other land-use practices. USGS District staff are leading the effort to complete the Trinity River Flow Evaluation, produce the summary report, and make recommendations to the Secretary of the Interior on actions needed to restore the fishery. Contact: Jon Nowlin 775-887-7600,

Studies of Radionuclides Near Amchitka Island. USGS scientists currently serve on the Sea Otter Pilot Study Advisory Committee sponsored by the Aleutian/Pribilof Islands Association, Inc., and the Alaska Sea Otter Commission. The committee is developing a project to examine levels of radionuclides in sea otter skulls collected before, during, and after the time of the underground nuclear detonations on Amchitka Island (1965, 1969, 1971) to determine if radionuclides are escaping from the island into the marine environment, and effects, if any, on the natural resources of the region. Contact: Jim Bodkin, 907-786-3550,

Alaska Native Subsistence Issues. The USGS Forest and Rangeland Science Center maintains a Social Science Program at the University of Washington that studies issues relevant to Alaska Natives. In 1998:

USGS scientists and collaborators completed a study of the traditional, Alaska Native use of cabins and other shelters associated with trapping and other subsistence uses of land in Denali National Park. Two of the communities studied, Nikolai and Telida, are Athabaskan villages.

In the resident zone villages of Nondalton, Newhalen, Illiamna, Pedro Bay, and Lime Village in the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, USGS researchers are finishing a study of contemporary plant uses by Native communities.

Eagle Village and Circle have significant contemporary and historical subsistence use of lands within the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. USGS biologists continued a project involving collecting and analyzing data on wildlife harvesting and use by these Athabaskan villages.

USGS staff and others are working together to identify possible cooperative management strategies for the complex of National Park Service units in northwest Alaska. The primary issue involves subsistence use of the Northwest Arctic caribou herd by the Iñupiat communities of Ambler, Kiana, Noatak, and Kotzebue, and coordinating these uses with natural resource management goals of the National Park Service.

USGS scientists are studying the cultural significance and patterns of historic use of bird eggs by the Hoonah Tlingit community in order to prepare a Tlingit ethno-ornithology use plan for the Natives in Glacier Bay National Park and environs. Data were collected to complete a qualitative study of traditional subsistence use on preserved Federal lands.

Contact: Director, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, 541-750-7307,

The contacts provided in the report were accurate at the time of publication. Please refer to the USGS Employee Directory or the Office of Tribal Relations contact page if you require information about a specific activity.

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