Grand Entry at last year’s conference
SACRAMENTO – With over 95 percent of California now in “Severe Drought,” according to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor report, California is in a declared state of emergency. Addressing the dire situation, the 22nd Annual Region 9 Tribal/EPA Conference will bring together tribal professionals, leading researchers, experts and agency representatives for its largest conference yet, with over 90 concurrent sessions over the course of October 15-17 on drought, climate change, water quality, air quality, alternative energy, EPA programs and permaculture design.
This large conference will be held at the downtown Holiday Inn in Sacramento, California.
“Although we’ll be learning more about the effects of the drought, we’ll also be hearing that there is hope and things we can do to improve our living conditions in the midst of one of the worst droughts ever recorded,” said Teri Red-Owl, executive director of the Owens Valley Indian Water Commission [OVIWC].
According to Carmen Gonzales, one of the featured conference presenters and environmental specialist with the OVIWC, there are a number of things that can be done to help watersheds move from a state of degradation to regeneration. “Healthy watersheds act as storage reservoirs for water, but not in the way you are used to thinking of a reservoir. Natural reservoirs store water not only in ponds and aquifers, but also in plants, soils, and microbes in the soil.”
Offering an example of what everyone can do to support local watersheds, Gonzales suggests building small basins with plants called rain gardens. “They can help clean up the water and become a storage sponge for the precious rain that falls from the sky. In this way you can help to return the watershed to a sponge that feeds our aquifers and promotes life.”
The conference is co-hosted by the Owens Valley Indian Water Commission and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For more information visit: region9tribal-epaconference.com