At the 23rd Annual Regional Tribal Conference in Reno, Nevada, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded more than $25 million for environmental improvements on tribal lands located in California.
According to the EPA, the money is allocated for environmental programs, water and wastewater infrastructure development, community education and capacity building.
“Tribes have made great progress in protecting the environment and improving public health in Indian Country,” said Jared Blumenfeld, regional administrator for EPA’s Pacific Southwest office. “These grants will help support the significant accomplishments that have been achieved through the collaborative efforts of the California tribes and the federal government.”
The $25 million will be broken down into a number of categories:
- $12.5 million will support water quality projects and water infrastructure.
- $7.3 million will support water quality projects, including watershed protection and restoration, water energy and efficiency, wastewater reclamation and treatment systems.
- $5.2 million will go to the California Indian Health Service offices to provide drinking and wastewater infrastructure, plant operator training and technical assistance.
- $10.5 million will go to the tribal environmental program which cleans open dumps, conducts small construction projects, participates in targeted community outreach, climate change adaption planning and community education.
- $2.1 million has been provided to monitor and improve air quality, clean up contaminated lands and share and analyze environmental data.
One of the tribes who will receive funding, the La Jolla Band of Lusieno Indians, located in Pauma Valley, plan to use the funds to complete watershed quality improvements and drought mitigation. Part of the project will implement a septic system inspection program and two rainwater-harvesting systems.