Blumenauer, Wyden Introduce Groundbreaking Tribal Co-Stewardship Model
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senator Ron Wyden, along with Senator Jeff Merkley, reintroduced the Wy’east Tribal Resources Restoration Act. The legislation directs the U.S. Forest Service to partner with the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs to develop a co-management plan for agreed-upon Treaty Resource Emphasis Zones. The legislation would establish one of the first placed-based co-management strategies in the nation. This legislation was introduced last Congress, and it had a hearing in the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
“Indigenous communities have been responsible stewards of Oregon’s lands and wildlife since time immemorial. We must do more to capitalize on their leadership in our conservation efforts—not just because the federal government has a moral obligation to do so but because we will not be successful without them,” said Congressman Earl Blumenauer. “Tribal co-stewardship represents 21st?century public lands management.”
“The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs have generations-long knowledge of best ecological practices and treaty rights with the federal government that must be protected,” Senator Ron Wyden said. “This legislation would secure both goals in the Mount Hood National Forest by giving the Tribe an important voice and role in the management of its precious cultural resources.”
“The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs are the largest neighbor to the Mt. Hood National Forest and are essential in maintaining and protecting the region’s cultural and ecological resources,” said Senator Jeff Merkley. “This legislation is a critical step in fulfilling our treaty and trust responsibilities to the Warm Springs community by creating a framework for them to take an active role in co-managing the forest and utilizing their knowledge, traditions, and expertise to improve forest management.”
The Wy’east Tribal Resources Restoration Act:
· Directs the U.S. Forest Service to develop a co-management plan with the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs to protect and enhance Tribal Treaty resources and protect the Reservation from wildfire within agreed-upon “Treaty Resources Emphasis Zones.” These zones are areas within the Mount Hood National Forest subject to the Warm Springs-Forest Service co-management plan;
· Requires implementation of the Cultural Foods Obligations, which were included in the Public Lands Management Act of 2009 but have never been implemented;
· Integrates traditional ecological knowledge as an important part of the best available scientific information used in forest and resource management areas within the Zone;
· Authorizes $3,500,000 in annual appropriations and the use of existing Forest Service revenue to ensure the Tribe is a full participant in management.
“We are grateful to Rep. Blumenauer and Senator Wyden for this legislation.?Warm Springs people have cared for the land since the Creator placed us here, and this legislation will help reconnect Wyeast to its original inhabitants and integrate?traditional ecological knowledge into federal land management.?The bill would allow the Warm Springs Tribe to?improve fish and wildlife habitat, reduce forest fuels and?wildfire risk in the borderlands of our Reservation — an area designated as a priority?fireshed by the U.S. Forest Service.? The result will improve forest and wildlife health for the benefit of all Oregonians,” said Warm Springs Chairman Jonathan Smith.
“Our nonprofit agrees that shifting federal management of Mt. Hood towards a modern, community-empowered mindset is dearly needed.?Across wildfires mitigation, ecological or recreation public interests, current regulatory regimes hinder more than help,” said Noel Johnson, President of Teacup/Mt. Hood Nordic.
"The Oregon Trails Coalition is thankful for Congressman Blumenauer and Senator Wyden's leadership in reintroducing the?Wy'east Tribal Resources Restoration Act, as we believe true partnerships with Tribes are crucial for honoring treaty rights and protecting the long-term health of the treasured lands and waters we turn to for recreation and renewal. We are committed to continuing to collaborate to increase investment in protecting natural and cultural?resources as well as recreation access on Wy'east/ Mt. Hood National Forest,” said Stephanie Noll, Coalition Director of Oregon Trails Coalition.
“Sustainable Northwest commends Representative?Blumenauer?and Senator Wyden for introduction of Wy’east Tribal Resources Restoration Act, and its emphatic recognition of?tribal?sovereignty and treaty rights. Far too often, legislation designed to protect and enhance federal natural resource values fails to respect and honor the legally binding obligations the federal government has to?Tribal?nations in these landscapes. This legislation paves the way for a new and equitable approach to achieve protection and enhancement of treasured places, while explicitly upholding and supporting?Tribal?treaty rights and sovereignty in land management planning and decision-making,” said Greg Block, President of Sustainable Northwest
“I applaud Congressman Blumenauer and Senator Wyden’s efforts to expand the co-management of the Mt. Hood National Forest alongside the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs. Scenic beauty and outdoor recreation are major motivators for tourism in Oregon?and these opportunities are greatly enhanced by the Tribes who have tended these treasured places since time immemorial. This bill takes important steps forward in recognizing tribal sovereignty and treaty rights to ensure that this stewardship can continue for generations to come,” said Todd Davidson, CEO Travel Oregon?
“This co-management strategy between the Forest Service and the Tribe is an excellent outline to improve the technical understanding of trust responsibilities while recognizing the need to integrate ecological and scientific knowledge with the intent to better fulfill the trust relationship between the US Government and Tribal relations,” said Mike Quinn, Vice President of Mt. Hood Skibowl.
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