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Natural Resource Department

MISSION: The Nvn-nvst-'aa~-ta (Natural Resources) mission is to preserve and protect the natural and cultural resources of both the Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation and Tolowa aboriginal territory.

GOAL: The goal of the Nvn-nvst-'aa~-ta is to promote cultur-ally appropriate stewardship of tribal lands, water, air and resources.

Natural Resources is responsible for issues and projects pertaining to the water, wastewater, air, solid waste, watershed, water quality, ocean protection, cultural resources, natural resources, and emergency management. The Department oversees several pro-grams and projects that are primarily funded by grants. The primary function on the Department is to gather data, evaluate and make recommendations to the Tribal Council on conservation and stewardship projects and policies.

 

  • Water
  • Wastewater
  • Facilities Housekeeping and Maintenance
  • Solid Waste (Including Recycling Activities)
  • Watershed and Water Quality Monitoring
  • Marine Program
  •  Environmental Outreach and Education - youth and community
  •  Solid Waste Collection Events
  •  Storm water Improvements
  •  Gathering scientific and Indigenous traditional knowledge
  •  Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery
  • TERC Committee
  • Fish & Game Committee
  • Cultural Resources
  • Natural Resources
  • Fire Protection
  • Emergency Management
  • Land Management
  • Policy and Code Development and Enforcement
  •  Maintain, service and repair all vehicles and equipment
  •  Maintaining and assisting Tribal Elders in their property needs though Elder Assistance Program
  •  Yard Vegetation Abatement Assistance Program for Tribal Elders
  •  Maintenance of cemeteries
  •  Provide maintenance and repairs to Tribal rental facilities, as needed.
  • Tribal Marine Planning
  • Marine biotoxin sampling 
  • Prince Island Court Wastewater Extension
  • Upgrade of the Wastewater Treatment Facility
  • Stormwater Urban Runoff Improvements
  •  Water Quality and Fish Tissue Sampling in the Smith River Estuary
  •  Marine Water Quality Sampling
  •  Spring and Fall Solid Waste Cleanups
  •  Harvest Code
  •  Updating Plans for Emergency Management
  • Howonquet Community Water System and the Tribe's Wastewater Treatment Facility operations and compliance
  •  Maintaining certifications for water and wastewater operations
  •  Secured funding to upgrade the Howonquet
  • Wastewater Treatment Facility: new trash screen-ing at the head works, a sludge dewatering unit and new membrane filters to replace the existing filters
  •  Water quality monitoring in Lopez and Gilbert Creeks
  •  Maintain Tribal facilities and rentals
  •  Stabilize the bank of Lopez Creek, to protect the Tribe's sole water source
  •  Administering the Fish and Game Committee
  •  Outreach and education to Tribal citizens about specific projects and activities
  •  Environmental education workshops for youth and community
  •  Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U.) with the Smith River Fire Protection District for fire protection and for basic live support for the Tribe and those citizens living on the Reservation
  •  Amendment of Forest Management Plan to in-clude newly acquired forested properties
  • Administer the Tribal Emergency Response Team (TERT)
  •  Organize, promote and oversee several emergen-cy management trainings (e.g. First aid/child, adult and infant CPR/AED-Adult certification, Haz-ardous Materials First Responder Operational, Tsunami/earthquake awareness, Teen Community Emergency Response Team (Teen CERT) and Fire Extinguisher Use, and FEMA courses for staff)
  •  Assisting management of the Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery and the Derby
  •  Initiated procedures for tracking equipment and supplies per 40 CFR § 31
  •  Funding secured (2 years) for water quality moni-toring in the ocean and Smith River Estuary, as well as macroinvertebrate and fish tissue sam-pling in the estuary and adjacent coastal streams
  •  Draft Marine Plan completed in collaboration with the Culture and Self-Governance Departments
  • Completion of three, 3-year grants to study rocky intertidal and sandy beach habitats, as well as gather Indigenous traditional knowledge about the ocean
  • Smelt habitat assessment monitoring continued
  •  Marine bio toxin sampling on mussels and clams continued
  •  Successful annual beach clean up
  •  Active participation on the Del Norte County Solid Waste Task Force
  •  Two successful solid waste cleanup events (Spring and Fall)
  •  Recycling pick up and proper disposal across all the Tribe’s offices and facilities
  •  Production of many GIS maps to serve depart-mental and tribal-wide needs and upgrading the Tribe’s GIS information
  •  Summer Youth opportunities

NR Office Location

400 North Indian Rd
Smith River, Ca. 95567
Phone: 707-487-9255
Fax 707-487-0271

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Natural Resources Department Staff

Our positions are primarily funded through grants from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Megan Van Pelt

Natural Resources Director

Office 707-487-9255 ext.1155
Fax 707-487-0271
Email Megan.VanPelt@tolowa.com

Jaytuk Steinruck

Tribal Resource Specialist

Office 707-487-9255 ext. 1153
Email jaytuk.steinruck@tolowa-nsn.gov

Jennifer Jacobs

Tribal Resource Specialist

Office 707-487-9255 ext. 1158
Email Jennifer.Jacobs@tolowa.com

Tessa LaFazio

Emergency Services Coordinator

Office 707-487-9255 ext.1150
Cell 707-951-7327
Email tlafazio@tolowa.com

Tisha Lemon

Environmental Protection Technician

Office 707-487-9255 ext.1154
Email tisha.lemon@tolowa.com

Rosa Laucci

Marine Biologist

Office 707-487-9255 ext. 1152
Cell 707-951-3712
Email rosa.laucci@tolowa.com

Ridge McLennan

Water Resource Technician

Office 707-487-9255 ext. 1157
Cell 707-951-9038
Email ridge.mclennan@tolowa.com

Henry Sanderson

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Specialist

Office 707-487-9255 ext. 1202
Email henry.sanderson@tolowa.com

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