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WASHINGTON — In addition to articles already covered by Native News Online, here is a roundup of other news released from Washington, D.C. that impacts Indian Country recently.

Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Named Manager of National Marine Sanctuary 

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians was designated on Thursday  as the collaborative manager for the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),

NOAA envisions a government-to-government partnership between the tribe, the U.S. government, and the State of California. This marks a significant milestone as the CHNMS becomes the first national marine sanctuary to be developed with substantial involvement from a tribal community since its inception.

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“We appreciate the honoring of our Chumash maritime traditions and the ability of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to participate in collaborative management of this proposed national marine sanctuary,” Kenneth Kahn, Tribal Chairman for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians said. “We are proud to contribute our cultural and management practices towards protecting this shared resource. Designating this sanctuary, with our government as a strong collaborative partner, is the right thing to do and demonstrates a strong respect for the indigenous people of our country.”

The draft management plan envisions a partnership where the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and the State of California will join forces with NOAA to jointly oversee the sanctuary's management through their representation on the Intergovernmental Policy Council.

Although the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians presently stands as the sole federally recognized tribal government linked to the region, they anticipate collaborating with other Chumash groups lacking federal recognition. This collective effort aims to ensure that visitors to the Sanctuary gain a comprehensive understanding of the rich indigenous history that spans the region.

Grants Available for Forest Restoration Projects on Non-federal Lands 

The USDA Forest Service Eastern Region is now accepting applications for the 2024 Landscape Scale Restoration (LSR) competitive grant program which provides financial support to partners performing priority work on non-federal forestlands.

Eligible organizations include state agencies, federally recognized Tribes, nonprofit organizations, universities and units of local government. There is also a separate national Landscape Scale Restoration grant program for Tribes in Grants.gov, opportunity: USDA-FS-2024-LSR-National-Tribal.

Landscape Scale Restoration grants provide vital benefits to the American public. They reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, improve water quality, restore wildlife habitat, and mitigate damaging insect and disease infestations.

Applications must be submitted through Grants.gov opportunity: USDA-FS-2024-LSR-Northeast-Midwest by November 30, 2023, with additional draft deadlines outlined on the website. Visit the LSR website to learn more about the program and how to apply www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r9/workingtogether/grants/

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians Receives $7.5 Million Grant to Improve Fish Passage

U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), Co-Chairs of the Puget Sound Recovery Caucus, announced on Wednesday that the Puyallup Tribe of Indians received a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to improve fish passage in the South Sound.

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians will receive nearly $7.5 million to help the Tribe remove four fish passage barriers – all of which are culverts – in the Puyallup River to improve instream habitats for fish tributaries. 

The Puyallup Tribes’ project will remove four barriers located on Clear Creek or tributaries of that stream that intersect with the Puyallup River. All are associated with existing culverts under the BNSF Railway. Tributary barriers are located on Swan, Squally, and Canyon creeks. The Fall Chinook Salmon, Coho Salmon, Chum Salmon, Steelhead Trout, Bull Trout, and other resident trout populations are expected to benefit from the removal of the barriers.

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