Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe
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Wetlands Protection

common terns

In December 1993, the Tribe began to develop its wetland protection program. The first step was the creation of a formal Wetlands Protection Plan, which was completed in 1994. As a result of this plan, the Tribe committed itself to the implementation of a "no net loss - future net gain" policy, and to identify an area that would support the establishment of a Mohawk Wetlands Sanctuary.

Tribal wetland programs face unique hurdles not presented to state programs. First, the Tribe exists within a finite land base and must accommodate a growing population. Thus, while the Tribe acknowledges that a key to any successful wetlands program is to minimize wetland impacts, the inevitability of such impacts is apparent when there is simply no alternative site for development. “After-acquired” Tribal Lands do not automatically become part of the federally recognized Mohawk Territory. Thus, Tribal members cannot simply purchase alternative development areas, or mitigation sites that exist off-reservation to avoid wetland impacts.

Secondly, the Wetlands Protection Program relies upon outside funding for its operation. Staff members within the program are responsible for researching and obtaining funds yearly through competitive grant proposals. One key grant agency has been the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds who has awarded funds yearly since the program’s founding in 1993. Other agencies have also awarded funds to the program for basic operation and research.

EPA Logo US Environmental Protection Agency Wetlands Program Development Grants

The Wetland Program Development Grants (WPDGs), initiated in FY90, provide eligible applicants an opportunity to conduct projects that promote the coordination and acceleration of research, investigations, experiments, training, demonstrations, surveys, and studies relating to the causes, effects, extent, prevention, reduction, and elimination of water pollution. While WPDGs can continue to be used by recipients to build and refine any element of a comprehensive wetland program, priority will be given to funding projects that address the three priority areas identified by EPA: (1) Developing a comprehensive monitoring and assessment program; (2) Improving the effectiveness of compensatory mitigation; and (3) Refining the protection of vulnerable wetlands and aquatic resources. States, Tribes, local governments, interstate associations, intertribal consortia, and national non-profit, non-governmental organizations are eligible to apply.
Tribal award years: 1993-present.
Key Project Partners: Akwesasne Freedom School, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne- Environment, Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment.

Fish and Wildlife logo US Fish & Wildlife Service-Tribal Landowner Incentive Program (TLIP) and Tribal Wildlife Grant (TWG)

TLIP eligible projects include those by Indian tribes to improve, preserve, or maintain habitat for endangered, threatened, candidate, or other at-risk species including species designated by tribes to be at-risk. Examples of the types of projects the Service might fund include prescribed burning to restore grasslands that support imperiled species, fencing to exclude animals from sensitive habitats, or planting native vegetation to restore degraded habitat.
Tribal award year: 2004.
Key Project Partners: Local tribal landowners.

TWG eligible projects include those by Indian tribes to develop and implement programs for the benefit of wildlife and their habitat, including species of tribal cultural or traditional importance and species that are not hunted or fished. Examples of the types of projects the Service might fund include planning for wildlife and habitat conservation, ongoing and/or new fish and wildlife conservation and management actions, fish and wildlife related laboratory and field research, natural history studies, habitat mapping, field surveys and population monitoring, habitat preservation, conservation easements, and public education that is relevant to the project.
Tribal award year: 2005.
Key Project Partners: SUNY Potsdam, NYS DEC Fisheries & Wildlife Division.

BIA logo Bureau of Indian Affairs-Noxious Weed Eradication Program

Awards for Noxious Weed Eradication are for the use of chemical, mechanical, cultural, and biological control methods, against invasive plant species, and are awarded competitively. Assistance is awarded for projects on a year-by-year basis and is not intended to provide perennial support for tribal programs. Noxious Weed Eradication requires a minimum 50 percent cost-share agreement for the control projects and applications may be filed with a local Bureau of Indian Affairs agency office.
Tribal award years: 2003-present.
Key Project Partners: Local tribal landowners, Horseshoe Pond/Deer River Flow Association, Cornell University-Natural Resources Dept., Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program.

IJC Logo International Joint Commission

The IJC established a Study Board, composed of a binational team of experts, to conduct a five-year study to evaluate the current criteria set by the IJC many years ago used to regulate water levels and flows on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River and to make recommendations to the Commission about them. The Study has expanded the knowledge available to decision-makers on the impacts of regulating water levels and flows in this basin by creating large, new databases on wetlands, coastal land use, recreational use and other parameters. The ability to predict the impacts of different regulation plans was also improved by the Study through the development of environmental performance indicators, a Shared Vision Model and other analytical tools.
Tribal award year: 2004.
Key Project Partners: USGS Tunison Laboratory, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne-Environment.


Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Environment Division Updated: 2015.06.15