Tribal Wildlife Management and Conservation in the Southwest II

Symposium
ROOM: Room 215 – San Miguel
SESSION NUMBER: 42
 
The southwest is home to the highest density of remaining tribal nations in the United States, with the Pueblo tribes composing a large share of local Native representation. The tribes and pueblos within the region have an abundant resource base and vast landscapes that sustain their members’ cultural, economic and environmental needs since time immemorial. Additionally, some of the largest reservations within the U.S. lie in the Southwest, covering a diverse array of ecosystems.. Symposium participants will be introduced to tribal wildlife and natural resource management policies with an emphasis on the cultural, spiritual, economic and environmental values of various tribal resources. Examples of collaboration between tribal and federal wildlife agencies will also be presented, touching on the importance of working together in an ever-changing climate. Within tribal communities exists a relationship that is adapted to the underlying ecology of the region. Native American communities are incorporating their traditional knowledge into natural resource planning and management, with the goal of combining the efforts from both western and native cultures to co-manage natural resources to restore and maintain ecological balance. This symposium will epitomize the theme of the conference, “a crossroad of cultures”, by adding a blend of indigenous wildlife conservation practices that have existed for centuries, and which have adapted over time.

1:10PM Mule Deer Management and Conservation: Jicarilla Apache Nation, New Mexico
  Kyle J. Tator
The Jicarilla Apache Nation (Nation) in New Mexico has earned a reputation as a leader in mule deer conservation and management. The Nation’s conservation success story began in 1982 when the U.S. Supreme Court granted Native American tribes sole wildlife management authority on tribal lands. Under sovereign authority, the Jicarilla Game and Fish Department developed a data-driven deer management program that integrates knowledge gained through management based research, annual assessments of population demographics, harvest, and key browse species, as well as coordinated habitat and herd management strategies. The ability to identify and adapt to conservation challenges commonly associated with mule deer management in a timely manner, as science dictates, within reason, and without bureaucratic delay has empowered the Nation to maintain healthy mule deer populations for the benefit of the Jicarilla Apache people despite continual conservation challenges associated with a modern multiple-use landscape.
1:30PM Economic Development of Big Game Hunting Programs
  Sam Diswood
Abstract The Navajo Nation Wildlife Enterprise The Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife is fortunate that tribal leadership in the 1960’s authorized the establishment of the Wildlife Management Enterprise in the Navajo Nation Code. The Enterprise allows the Department of Fish and Wildlife to utilize revenue from hunting, fishing and boating to fund a variety of wildlife management activities on the Navajo Nation. The fund is administered by the Management and Research Section. The program receives its direction by a Ten Year Wildlife Management Plan. The Plan has established mule deer, bighorn sheep and Mountain lion as priority species. The program conducts annual monitoring of big game populations. A portion of the revenue supports the Wildlife Law Enforcement Program as well. Navajo guides are regulated to ensure professional services are provided to the hunter/clients. The program works closely with the guides to foster long-term relationships between the guides and their clients. The Department markets non-tribal member hunting at outdoor conventions such as Safari Club International, the Wild Sheep Foundation and Ovis. The program also has partnerships with the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Navajo Guide Association. These partnerships allow the Nation to maximize revenue through the sale of special permits that are sold by auction at conventions. The Enterprise is a valuable tool for the Department to ensure funding is available for the Nation’s priorities and is one of several funds the Department utilizes. Other funding sources include General Funds, BIA 638 Contracts, Bureau of Reclamation agreements, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funds and occasionally Park Service funding.
1:50PM Eagle Aviary – Pueblo of Zuni
  Nelson Luna
Eagles and eagle feathers are sacred to most Indian tribes in the southwest. Zuni and other Tribes have practiced Eagle husbandry since time immemorial. With Changes and implementation of various Federal Regulations, Tribes have relied on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) National Eagle Repository to obtain feathers for traditional and cultural uses. In the 1990’s, the Pueblo of Zuni, with the assistance of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, embarked on a new strategy to obtain eagle feathers for tribal members, and in 1999, they became first tribe in the United State Permitted by the Service to establish an eagle aviary to house live eagles for cultural and religious use. The aviary houses eagles that are non-releasable due to the nature or severity of an illness or injury, and are cared for by Tribal wildlife rehabilitators. Naturally molted feathers are collected and distributed to tribal members by the Pueblo’s Fish and Wildlife Department. Located on the Zuni Reservation in New Mexico, the Pueblo funded and constructed its aviary with the aid of many volunteers and local programs from the Pueblo. The aviary, built from local natural flagstone and pine trees from the reservation, housed as many as 32 bald and golden eagles, but currently have 22 eagles. Today, there are seven federally permitted tribal eagle aviaries in the Southwest Region: Pueblo of Zuni, Pueblo of Jemez, Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Comanche Nation of Oklahoma, Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma, Navajo Nation, and San Carlos Apache Tribe. Funding for the construction of these facilities was provided through Tribal Wildlife Grant program, which is administered by the Service. The maintenance and operational costs for these aviaries are provided by the tribes.
2:10PM Development of Tribal Threatened and Endangered Species Program
  Samuel Diswood
The Navajo Nation as a federally recognized Indian Tribe, is a sovereign government with a federally recognized right to self-determination over its lands, resources, and people. The role of Navajo Natural Heritage Program (NNHP) & Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife (NNDFW) is to conserve, manage, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats on the Navajo Nation. The sovereignty exercised by the Navajo Nation allows for ‘local’ management of sensitive species, with conservation needs specific to Navajo Lands. This authority is clearly exhibited in the NNHP’s management of a database of rare plant and animal species of the Navajo Nation, and its maintenance of the Navajo Endangered Species List tailored for the Navajo Nation. As a principal program which provides technical assistance and land use planning to the Navajo People, tribal communities and tribal programs, NNHP engages, consults and collaborates with Federal, State and local governments to insure compliance and adherence with tribal and federal laws. Through effective management of this process, NNHP plays an essential role in facilitating public outreach, community and economic development and resources management on the Navajo Nation.
2:30PM New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation in Southwestern Colorado
  Aran S. Johnson; Jennifer L. Zahratka
During the summers 2014 – 2017 we conducted live-trapping presence surveys for the federally endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius luteus) on tribal lands within the Southern Ute Indian reservation in southwestern Colorado. As a result of the trapping efforts 2014 – 2016, we documented 10 new localities along the Pine, Animas, Florida, Piedra, and San Juan Rivers or their associated tributaries. Identification of these new populations is significant because this subspecies was previously known from only two locations in Colorado where the subspecies was inadvertently discovered during live-trapping surveys in 2007 and 2012. In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported only 29 populations of New Mexico meadow jumping mice were known to occur within its distribution. These included the two Colorado populations, as well as 15 populations in New Mexico and 12 in Arizona. Our discoveries up to 2016 increased the known populations of New Mexico meadow jumping mice by 33%. Surveys continue and I will report preliminary results for the 2017 field season as well.
2:50PM Refreshment Break
3:20PM Wild Horse and Burro Issues on Tribal Lands
  Brian Gewecke
Some range/land managers have an issue in how to manage their wild horse populations. This presentation is intended to explore programs and options in the humane and cost effective management of wild horse populations. The initial step toward implementing a sustainable wild horse population management plan must include a determination of goals. Most agencies have many important issues to solve and wild horses may not be a high priority or maybe there doesn’t seem to be a doable solution. The next steps are data collection in the form of forage surveys, horse counts, horse health assessments, analysis of herd [wild horses, abandoned domestic horses, foaling capacity, genetic diversity, etc.]. Data collection should also have acreage available for wildlife, livestock and wild horses. Which species can share what territory and where can they be separated? We will discuss what wild horse management plans are successful and what plans do not work. Can wild horses be utilized as a resource or have they become an expense? What wild horse programs can provide a benefit to the community? Are there outside agencies willing to help with wild horse management plans?
3:40PM U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Southwest Region – Working with Tribes in the Southwest
  Joseph Early
The Service recognizes that Native American Indian tribes are governmental sovereigns; inherent in this sovereign authority is the power to manage and control Indian lands, exercise tribal rights and protect tribal trust resources. There are 84 tribes in the Southwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which spans four states, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Tribal land comprises a significant part of the land base in the southwest, for example, 28% in Arizona and 10% in New Mexico. Many tribes have their own fish and wildlife programs. Because of the unique government-to-government relationship between Indian tribes and the United States, the Service and tribes work to establish and maintain effective working relationships to promote the conservation of species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. This presentation will cover several Service programs for tribes, some unique to the southwest, illustrating this relationship, including: Tribal Wildlife Grants, the National Eagle Repository, tribal eagle aviaries, non-eagle feather repositories, and Statements of Relationship.
4:00PM Statements of Relationship Promote Intergovernmental Partnerships in Conservation
  Russell Benford
Statements of Relationship (SOR) have been developed in the Southwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to enhance consultation and coordination and to promote common interest in conserving ecosystems in the context of a government-to-government relationship. Each SOR recognizes tribal rights, sovereign authority, and institutional capacity to self-manage lands and resources within the tribe’s reservation. The first SOR was created in 1994 with the White Mountain Apache Tribe and was seminal to the development of Secretarial Order 3206 “American Indian Tribal Rights, Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act.” Since then, four additional SOR’s have been created in the Southwest Region, each tailored to reflect the Service’s unique relationship with a specific tribe, and as such being distinct documents with similar intent. On January 5, 2016, the Governor of the Gila River Indian Community and the Region Director of the Service’s Southwest Region signed the most recent SOR. This presentation will cover the history of its development, and it will describe and provide perspective on the different sections of this particular SOR.
4:20PM Tribal Wildlife Management at Isleta Pueblo
  Shauna Bally

 
Organizers: Gizelle Hurtado, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM; Sarah Rinkevich, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Tucson, AZ; Serra Hoagland, U.S. Forest Service, Flagstaff, AZ; Chase Voirin, University of Arizona, Rio Rancho, NM; Joe Jojola, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Albuquerque, NM; John Nystedt, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Flagstaff, AZ
 
Supported by: TWS Native Peoples Wildlife Management Working Group, Native American Fish & TWS Wildlife Society Southwestern Region

Symposium
Location: Albuquerque Convention Center Date: September 25, 2017 Time: 1:10 pm - 5:00 pm