Earlier this month, Jeremy Takala, Chair of the Tribal Council Committees for Legislative, Fish & Wildlife, and Law & Order traveled with the CRITFC delegation to Washington D.C. to attend Congressional hearings and meet with legislators.
Joined by Executive Director, Aja DeCoteau and Intergovernmental Relations Director, Paul Ward, During the visit to DC, they met with at least 15 Offices, including the Senator/Representatives of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
Most of the discussions related to Sea Lion impacts on our Salmon, Columbia River Hatchery Deferred Maintenance, and an Energy Vision for our future. Our message included the $1.154 billion in needed work at USACE Columbia and Snake Facilities for salmon/anadromous fish passage and survival. Breaking it down would be about $144.1M annually over the next 8 years. Four of those categories included Columbia River Fish Management, Hatchery Programs, Lamprey, and Operations/Maintenance.
Although Yakama Nation joined the CRITFC delegation, the timing was a perfect opportunity to provide testimony on behalf of Yakama Nation in the US House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee For The Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. I testified directly to the Chair, Congressman Mike Simpson, and Committee members Representative Pingree and Fmr. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The Yakama Nation's long-time D.C. Lobbyists, George Waters and Chris Lambert, scheduled this Subcommittee testimony and we met before the budget hearing.
Yakama Nation Testimony was well spent discussing many related issues/concerns shared by Tribes across Indian Country, mainly Law Enforcement needs. Others for us included the need for increased resources which have been flat-funded for decades, especially when it comes to law enforcement. We also spoke on the issues of Appraisal Backlog at Yakama, and many other Tribes are also feeling the impacts of current funding levels that only provide a single appraiser. I also addressed concerns with Forest Management, degraded In Lieu and Treaty Fishing Access Sites, and Water Resources. Additionally, the Bureau of Indian Education and our need for a new Yakama Nation Tribal School was a big message to advocate for -- and many Tribes are in desperate need of school infrastructure. You can find the Written Testimony attached.
The Native’s in Philanthropy invited Yakama Nation to join as a panelist with the Governor of Santa Clara Pueblo, Michael Chavarria, to highlight YN Fisheries being a recipient of, “America The Beautiful Challenge Grant”. The discussion highlighted the use/plans for the funds towards Tribal Projects where Yakama Nation Fisheries will utilize the Grant to implement seven habitat restoration projects on 1, 540 acres, functionally reconnect the land and water on more than 6, 000 acres, build capacity for Yakama Nation’s near and long term leadership of this work at the landscape scale, and ensure climate resilience for people, wildlife and habitats.
The discussion was very engaging as recognize that a lot of Fisheries work wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for opportunities such as this or grant programs, especially to achieve large scale projects whether it’s a match program option. The partnership and building relationship is very important for these projects, especially if it could allow more than one partnership to complete projects for the benefits our Salmon and other species. Yakama Nation appreciates these opportunities to share its ongoing Fisheries work where partners are present or new partnerships are created.
We like to thank Joel Moffet, and the Natives in Philanthropy, Biodiversity Funders Group, and attendees.
You can watch the archived live stream here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAHdPEew6-A