Natural Resource Department

NR Office Location

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


Natural Resources Department Overview

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.

The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Emergency Management Program, housed under the Natural Resources Department, seeks to provide for the resilience of the community through disaster protection, prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery. We strongly encourage community participation and feedback. For more information or to provide input please call Emergency Manager Kymmie Scott at 707-487-9255 ext. 1144 or Emergency Services Coordinator Tessa LaFazio at 707-487-9255 ext. 1150 or stop by the Natural Resources Department at 400 N. Indian Road.



Sign up today to receive emergency information for your home, school, and workplace via text, phone call, and email.



Del Norte County’s preparedness website with information on training, evacuation zones, volunteer opportunities, and more.


How to survive earthquakes and tsunamis in northern California



A preparedness tool for families, farms, and other businesses in rural communities with useful checklists, forms, and information on a variety of threats.



The Department of Homeland Security website for citizen preparedness in Indian Country.





Assistance Provided: Once-in-a-lifetime payment of up to $1,000 who have suffered a loss of home in a disaster; does not cover other types of emergencies. Other types of assistance available include burial assistance and general assistance.

Qualifications: One payment per family to head-of-household; must be member of federally recognized tribe.

Contact: BIA online at




Assistance Provided: Overnight stays, emergency supplies, meals, health and mental health contacts, meals and snacks, and more.

Qualifications: Affected by a disaster; additional assistance available if it is proven that home has been lost.

Contact: American Red Cross National 1-800-733-2767




Assistance Provided: Rent, home repair, home replacement, direct housing, and certain “other needs” (such as some medical, dental, funeral, storage, and other vital needs). It is important to note that home repair or replacement assistance only funds up to $33,000 and only after meeting certain qualifications. There are limits on other types of assistance as well.

Qualifications: must reside within a declared disaster zone (go to to see if you qualify – may not be available immediately after a disaster)

Contact: Register online at or call 1-800-621-3361




Assistance Provided: Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace your primary residence.

Qualifications: Homeowners and renters affected by declared disasters

Contact: Must contact FEMA for Individual Assistance first. Then apply by registering online at or by calling 1-800-659-2955



Going Off Grid: Utility Outages [.pdf]



A Monthly Community Resiliency Discussion. Come learn about the new emergency management program at Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation and have your questions answered.

August 28th, Smith River Fire Department, Home Fire Preparedness

September 25th, American Red Cross, Community Disaster Education

October 30th, NOAA National Weather Service, Weather Spotter Training and Winter/Flood Preparedness


  • 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

Natural Resources Department Staff

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

Erika Partee

Natural Resources Director

Office 707-487-9255 ext. 1132
Cell 707-954-9167

Rosa Laucci

Marine Program Manager/Marine Biologist

Office 707-487-9255 ext. 1152
Cell 707-951-3712

Henry Sanderson

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Specialist

Office 707-487-9255 ext. 1202

Cynthia Ford

Habitat & Wildlife Program Manager

Office 707-487-9255 ext.1701

Jennifer Jacobs

Fisheries Program Manager

Office 707-487-9255 ext. 1158

Jaytuk Steinruck

Tribal Resource Specialist

Office 707-487-9255 ext. 1153

Kagat McQuillen

Tribal Resource Specialist

Office 707-487-9255 ext.1155

Elena Sisneros

Tribal Resources Specialist

Office 707-487-9255 ext.1154

Ridge McLennan

Water Resource Technician

Office 707-487-9255 ext. 1157
Cell 707-951-9038

Open Position

Emergency Manager

Tessa LaFazio

Emergency Services Coordinator

Office 707-487-9255 ext.1150
Cell 707-951-7327