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U.S. Geological Survey Activities Related to American Indians and Alaska Natives
Fiscal Year 1997

| Contents | List of Tribes/Tribal Governments | Organizations or Events | State Listing | Introduction | Educational Activities | Environmental Activities | Resource Activities | Technical Assistance | General Coordination & Policy Activities | Future Opportunities | USGS Contacts |

Resource Activities

Salmon Restoration along the St. Lawrence River. At the request of the Akwesane Mohawk Tribe, (St. Regis Mohawk Reservation) New York, work continued on the effort to restore Atlantic salmon in the tributaries of the St. Lawrence River. Stream temperatures were monitored and water chemistry analyzed in an effort to determine habitat suitability. The USGS BRD scientists also evaluated spawning activity on artificial spawning sites created in the river. Data from this study will be available soon. Contact: Chief, Tunnison Laboratory of Aquatic Science, 607-753-9391

Video on the Geology of the Southern Appalachians. Scientists with the USGS Mineral Resources Program are planning to make a video about the geology of the southern Appalachians. The area includes the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; part of the Blue Ridge Parkway; and the Cherokee, Nantahala, Jefferson, Pisgah, and Chattahoochee National Forests. The purpose of the video is to explain how the geology and geologic history of the region over the last one billion years has impacted the lives of the people in the area. It will also discuss mineral deposits in the region in a geologic context. The intended audience for the video is the general public. The history of development of mineral deposits and reclamation of the land in the Copper Basin, the largest metal mining district in the southeast prior to 1900, will be outlined in the video. The video also will mention that although the Cherokees knew about gold in the area, gold did not have the same significance for them as for the white settlers and that the discovery of gold by white settlers and the resulting gold rush hastened the Cherokee removal. In July, the USGS contacted the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and requested provisional approval from the Tribal Council for the project. Contact: Judy Back, 703-648-6459, jback@usgs.gov

Lake Michigan Whitefish. Biological Resources Division scientists initiated a collaborative study with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians to assess historical lake whitefish spawning grounds in Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan. Habitat features were investigated using side-scan sonar and underwater video at several sites in the bay. Contact: Director, Great Lakes Science Center, 313-994- 3331 ext. 206.

Characterization of Water Resources at Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. The objective of the study is to conduct a water-resources appraisal of tribal lands. The study will include information on data-collection sites, surface- and ground-water quality, and water levels in wells, lakes, ponds, and wetlands. Contact: Jim Nicholas, 517-887-8906, jrnichol@usgs.gov

Lake Trout. USGS scientists assisted in the evaluation of the survival of tribal stocked lake trout in Keweenaw Bay by the Keeweenaw Bay Band of Lake Superior Chippewas. The Science Center shared its research vessel to provide sampling at specified locations according to a study protocol developed in 1996. BRD provided the Band a summary of findings. Contact: Director, Great Lakes Science Center, 313-994-3331 ext. 206

Water Resources of Bonifas Creek and Adjacent Wetlands, Watersmeet, Michigan. The Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians needs water resources information for Bonifas Creek and its adjacent wetlands near their lands in Watersmeet, Michigan. Of particular interest are the background water quality of Bonifas Creek and the travel time for water through about 160 acres of wetlands between the tribal land and the creek. The objective of this study is to evaluate the water quality of Bonifas Creek and the hydrology of adjacent wetlands. Contact: Jim Nicholas, 517-887-8906, jrnichol@usgs.gov

Water Resources of Indian Lands in Wisconsin. In order for individual Indian tribes to be able to assess the potential for developing their water resources, they must have an idea of the quantity, quality, and availability of water on their lands. A resource inventory is also needed to establish Indian water rights and claims. The potential effects of off-reservation activities such as mining and acid rain also need to be assessed. The objective of this USGS project is to inventory the water resources of Indian Reservations in Wisconsin. Indian Tribes that have participated in this project include the Menominee, Red Cliff, Oneida, and Bad River. Contact: James Krohelski, 608-821-3850, jtkrohel@usgs.gov

Hydrogeology of the Grand Portage Indian Reservation. The Grand Portage Band of Chippewa Indians has identified two critical issues regarding the management, use, and protection of ground water on the Reservation. Information about the hydrogeology and water quality of the aquifers on the Reservation currently is limited to a regional-scale description determined from reconnaissance-level investigation. Tribal officials need more information about local ground-water conditions in order to better deal with these issues. The objectives of the project are to (1) determine the general availability and quality of ground water with special emphasis at designated development areas and (2) evaluate the potential for aquifer contamination from on-land waste disposal sites. Contact: James Ruhl, 612-783-325, ruhl@usgs.gov

Water Resources of Selected Indian Communities. Detailed information of the water resources of four Indian communities is necessary for the efficient use, management, and protection of these resources. These studies will evaluate the availability and quality of surface and ground water for domestic and municipal use. The American Indian communities are Nett Lake (Bois Forte Band of Chippewa), Prairie Island Mdewakanton Dakota Community, Lower Sioux Reservation, and Upper Sioux Community. Contact: James Ruhl, 612-783-3252, ruhl@usgs.gov

American Indian Aquaculture. The USGS Upper Mississippi Science Center conducts nationwide research on the registration of new drugs, chemicals, and therapeutics used in aquaculture production. Working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is considering allowing "crop grouping" to speed the approval process, a partnership has been formed among USGS, the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies that represents 37 State fish and game agencies, and the Fish and Wildlife Service that administers funding from the States, nine drugs are being studied of approval for aquaculture use. Because Tribal aquaculture operations are a significant percentage of nationwide facilities, Tribes will benefit directly from this research at no expense. Contact: Director, Upper Mississippi Science Center, 608-783-6451

Susceptibility of Ground Water of Part of the Spirit (Devils) Lake Sioux Indian Reservation. The purpose of this study is to assess the vulnerability of the ground water in the Tokio and Warwick aquifers in the Fort Totten Division of the Spirit Lake Reservation to surface contamination. The ground-water vulnerability assessment will provide information useful for management to guide their decisions about ground-water protection. The study area includes the Tokio and Warwick aquifers that underlie parts of the Fort Totten area. Contact: Douglas Emerson, 701-250-7402, demerson@usgs.gov

Long-Term Monitoring on of Part of the Spirit (Devils) Lake Sioux Indian Reservation. The purpose of this study is to determine changes in hydrologic and water-quality conditions on the Fort Totten Division of the Spirit Lake Reservation. The objectives are to: (1) develop a long term program to monitor the water levels and water quality in selected wetlands and lakes on the Reservation and (2) develop a long term program to monitor ground-water levels and water quality in the Spiritwood, Tokio, and Warwick aquifers. Contact: Douglas Emerson, 701-250- 7402, demerson@usgs.gov

Surface and Ground Water Resources of Lake Traverse Indian Reservation. The general objective of the study is to collect the necessary hydrologic data to evaluate the surface- and ground-water resources of the Lake Traverse Reservation of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux in South Dakota and North Dakota and of Roberts County in South Dakota. The specific objectives are to determine: (1) the location, depth, quality, and quantity of water in the study area and (2) the effects of surface- and ground-water interactions, recharge and, discharge on the hydrologic system. Contact: Ryan Thompson, 605-353-7176 ext. 225, rcthomps@usgs.gov

Water Resources of the Kickapoo, Potawatomi, and Sac and Fox, and Iowa Indian Tribes. This study, completed in 1996, compiled and analyzed available water data for 4,000 square miles of northeastern Kansas and southeastern Nebraska, including the Reservations of four Tribes in Kansas and southeastern Nebraska. A USGS hydrologist also assisted the Prairie Band of Potawatomi in developing GIS applications for the Reservation. The GIS lab at Haskell Indian Nations University was used. Contact: Thomas Trombley, 913-832-3551, trombley@usgs.gov

Fish Habitat Research. The USGS BRD's Cooperative Research Unit in South Dakota assisted the Cheyenne River Tribe in collecting data on fish and fish habitat in reaction to the reauthorization of two Bureau of Reclamation dams. As the process continues, the BRD will assist the Tribe in assessing impacts on fisheries. The Oglala Sioux Tribe requested assistance from both the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USGS in preparing a report on the status of the health of the White River Watershed. The Cooperative Unit has also begun to assist the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe in monitoring the fishery and water quality of the Big Sioux River as it crosses tribal lands. Contact: Leader, South Dakota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, 605-688-6121

Ground-Water Activities with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. The USGS drilled and completed 3 deep test wells on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Fiscal Year 1997 in cooperation with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. Water level, water quality, and hydraulic characteristics were measured for each well. Contact: Mike Cannon, 406-441-1319, mcannon@usgs.gov

Water Use on Parts of the Blackfeet Reservation and the Crow Indian Reservation. Water-development planning requires an accurate database of current water use to evaluate various alternatives for expanded or revised use patterns. Water use information was determined for parts of the Blackfeet Reservation and the Crow (Absarokee) Indian Reservation. Contact: Charles Parrett, 406-441-1319, cparrett@usgs.gov

Availability of Ground Water Along the Little Bighorn River, Crow Indian Reservation. Recent concerns about water availability for the Crow Indian Reservation have necessitated detailed description of the water resources of the Reservation. The availability of ground water in alluvial and terrace deposits in the Little Bighorn River basin is an important part of the overall water resources of the Crow (Absarokee) lands. The objectives of the project (funded by BIA) are to: (1) describe the geometry of alluvial and terrace deposits; (2) describe the potentiometric surface and general directions of the flow; (3) determine hydraulic characteristics of the deposits; (4) describe recharge and discharge components, and hydraulic interactions with other hydrogeologic units, irrigation canals and the Little Bighorn River; (5) describe the general quality of water; and, (6) describe the potential of availability of ground water from bedrock aquifers. Contact: Lori Tuck, 406-441-1319, ltuck@usgs.gov

Analysis of Surface-Water Resources of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Surface water of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, ranging from pristine mountain streams and glacial lakes to prairie wetlands, are a natural resource of cultural and economic importance to the Blackfeet. The high-quality surface waters of the Reservation support diverse populations of fish and wildlife, is widely used for stock watering and irrigation, and provides drinking water for many residents. The purpose of this study is to analyze and describe the surface-water resources of all major river basins of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Contact: Mike Cannon, 406-441-1319, mcannon@usgs.gov

Paleoflood Hydrology of Dry Creek and St. Mary's Lake, Lake County, Northwestern Montana. Dry Creek is a small stream that drains about 11 square miles upstream from St. Mary's Lake in the Mission Range in northwestern Montana. Tabor Dam was constructed in 1930 to increase the size of the natural lake. Recent evaluation has indicated that the dam, though generally stable, requires modification to safely convey a probable maximum flood (PMF). The use of the PMF model is controversial because the probability of exceeding the PMF is unknown. Paleoflood hydrology, which is the study of the geologic record of past floods, offers a means of assessing the reasonableness of PMF estimates based on the preserved flood data from the past several thousand years. This study will obtain paleoflood evidence for Dry Creek and will estimate flood magnitude and frequency based on the paleoflood evidence. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are active partners in this project on the Flathead Reservation. Contact: Charles Parrett, 406-441-1319, cparrett@usgs.gov

Assessment of Tight Gas Resources of the Wind River Reservation, Wyoming. USGS scientists are completing an assessment of tight gas resources of the Wind River Reservation (Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes) of Wyoming. The work was done as part of a project to assess tight gas resources in Western Interior basins, funded by the Department of Energy. Results indicate that the Reservation contains 304 trillion cubic feet of gas in tight or near-tight reservoirs. This is about one-third of the total gas in tight to near-tight reservoirs in the total Wind River Basin. Data sets on geology were entered into a Geographic Information System and maps have been produced. Contact: Ron Johnson, 303-236-5546, rcjohnson@usgs.gov

Geohydrologic and Water-Quality Assessment of Pueblo of San Ildefonso Reservation Lands. The primary objectives of this study are to (1) conduct an assessment of the quality of the Pueblo of San Ildefonso water resources, and (2) develop the technical ability of the Pueblo's staff to collect water data so that at the conclusion of the study, the Pueblo will have increased independence in conducting these activities themselves on a regular basis. Contact: Paul Blanchard, 505-262-5347, pblanchard@usgs.gov

Hydrologic Classification and Estimation of Basin and Hydrologic Characteristics of Subbasins in Central Idaho. Hydrologic data for streams and associated subbasins within the Salmon and Clearwater River Basins were analyzed to support instream flow claims made by the BIA on behalf of the Nez Perce and Shoshone-Bannock Indian Tribes. These claims are part of the readjudication of the Snake River Basin by the State of Idaho. The purpose of the study was to classify subbasins and make estimates of mean annual and mean monthly discharges for subbasins within the study area. A related study was done concurrently, with the objective of developing a methodology for estimating flow duration values for subbasins within the study area. Reports for both these studies have been approved for publication. Contact: Steve Lipscomb, 208-387-1321, lipscomb@usgs.gov

Fisheries Resources Research. At the request of the Navajo Nation, the Biological Resources Division's New Mexico Cooperative Research Unit cooperated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to evaluate the health of the fish population in Morgan Lake on Navajo land. Contact: Leader, New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, 505-646-6053

Bat Research. The USGS BRD's Southwest Ecosystems Field Station in Albuquerque assisted Tribes with research on bats. The Navajo Natural Heritage Program worked with BRD in conducting preliminary surveys for bats on tribal lands. BRD provided the Tribe with the necessary scientific information to process the data that were collected. BRD scientists also worked with Tribal personnel from the Jemez and San Ildefonso Pueblos in the continuing bat research project. Contact: Director, Midcontinent Ecological Science Center, 970-226-9100

Black Mesa Monitoring Program. The Blank Mesa monitoring program is designed to document long-term effects of ground-water pumping from the N aquifer by industrial and municipal users. The N aquifer is the major source of water for the 5,400 sq. mi. Black Mesa area, which includes parts of the Navajo and Hopi Indian reservations. Since 1968, the Peabody Coal Company has been pumping about 3,800 acre feet of water annually from the N aquifer for its mining and coal-transport operations. The Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe have been concerned about the long-term effects of industrial withdrawals on other supplies for domestic and municipal purposes. These concerns led to studies of the water resources of the Black Mesa area begun in 1971 by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Arizona Department of Water Resources. Since 1983, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, Peabody Coal Company, the Hopi Tribe, and the Western Navajo Agency, Chinle Agency, and Hopi Agency of the BIA have assisted in the collection of ground-water data. Contact: Greg Littin, 520-556-7255, grlittin@usgs.gov

Geochemical Analysis of Ground Water Ages, Recharge Rates, and Hydraulic Conductivity of the N aquifer, Black Mesa, Arizona. The objectives of this study for fiscal years 1997-1998 are: (1) characterize the water quality of the N aquifer, (2) use geochemistry to develop a conceptual ground-water flow model, and (3) determine if leakage is occurring from the D aquifer. Both the Hopi Indian Tribe and the Navajo Indian Nation will apply these findings to their individual plans for use of N aquifer. A long-term hydrological monitoring plan has been established for the N and D aquifers. Contact: John Hoffman, 520-670-6671 ext. 265, jphoffma@usgs.gov

Navajo Surface Water Project. The Navajo Surface Water project is designed to help the Navajo Nation's Water Resources Department compute streamflow records from its streamflow gaging stations by: (1) assisting the Department in setting up a database to compute and store streamflow data, (2) providing training in record computation, (3) assisting with rating curve development, and (4) providing quality assurance. Contact: Greg Pope, 520-670-6671 ext. 283, glpope@usgs.gov

Availability and Quality of Surface-Water and Ground Water Resources of the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Reservation. The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe's primary water-resource needs are related to water rights, availability, and quality. There are four primary objectives of this study: (1) determine surface water inflows and outflows in Granite Creek within the Reservation boundary as well as peak flows in four tributaries to Granite Creek, (2) define the potential occurrence and concentration of suspect contaminants in water, sediment, and alluvial aquifer of Granite Creek that are associated with past and current industrial activities within and near the Reservation, (3) identify the rate and direction of movement of potential contaminants entering or existing in the alluvial aquifer of Granite Creek, and (4) determine the potential for development of ground-water supplies on the Reservation. Contact: Greg Littin, 520-556-7255, grlittin@usgs.gov

Hydrologic Conditions in Grande Wash, Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Indian Community. The objectives of this study for fiscal years 1997-1998 are to: (1) determine the sources, quality, and quantity of streamflow in Grande Wash at the western boundary of the Fort McDowell Reservation, (2) determine horizontal and vertical extent of the shallow alluvial aquifer along Grande Wash and principal directions of ground-water flow, (3) determine if ground water near the landfills is contaminated and if landfills are sources of that contamination, and (4) evaluate the effects of existing and planned use upstream of the Reservation on peak surface flows within the Grande Wash drainage. These findings will assist the Ft. McDowell Community in planning the use and development of Grande Wash. Contact: John Hoffman, 520-670-6671 ext. 265, jphoffma@usgs.gov

Preliminary Assessment of Hydrologic Conditions on the Southern Boundary of the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation. The objectives of this study for fiscal years 1997-1998 are to: (1) estimate the quantity of surface-water flowing in Vamori and San Simon Washes, (2) complete construction, testing, and calibration of load-cell scour sensors, and (3) identify additional data needs and develop a plan for intensive study along the southern border of the Reservation to determine the effects of future ground-water withdrawals and agricultural development on hydrologic conditions within the Reservation. Contact: Michael Carpenter, 520- 670-6671 ext. 275, mccarp@usgs.gov

Sturgeon Embryology. At the request of the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, BRD scientists studied the effects of water temperature on the timing of development of white sturgeon embryos. Contact: Director, Western Fisheries Research Center, 206-264-5411

Lead Contamination. USGS scientists from the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, performed a diagnostic analysis of lead contamination in the Coeur d'Alene Basin, Idaho, and concentrated on the effects of contamination on wildlife on Coeur d'Alene Tribal lands. This effort was conducted as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment project, the nationwide effort to identify and rectify impacts of contaminants. Contact: Director, National Wildlife Health Center, 608-264-5411.

Intermittent Recharge. This study is re-evaluating the source and magnitude of ground-water recharge to Eagle Valley, Nevada, in which lie the State capital (Carson City), the Washoe Tribe's Carson City Indian Colony, and other lands of the Washoe Tribe. The project is a cooperative effort between the USGS, Carson City, and the Washoe Tribe. To date, project results have included definition of relationships between stream temperature and water infiltration rates that enable Carson City to better manage infiltration facilities for ground-water recharge. Information from the study also resulted in revised (increased) estimates of natural recharge to the alluvial aquifers that allowed the City to increase its pumping allocation. Current work is focusing on the Clear Creek tributary basin, which traverses land of the Washoe Tribe. Contact: Carol Boughton 702-887-7727, boughton@usgs.gov

Nevada Basin and Range National Water Quality Assessment. This National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) project includes the Carson and Truckee River basins in northwest Nevada and Las Vegas Valley in southern Nevada. Water-quality data for streams and aquifers in the Truckee and Carson basins are of importance to the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California (Carson River and Lake Tahoe Basins), the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (lower Truckee River), and Fallon Paiute and Shoshoe Tribe (lower Carson River Basin). Information on ground-water quality in Las Vegas Valley is important to the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, which is developing their Snow Valley lands for tourism as an economic base and depends upon the Las Vegas Valley alluvial aquifers for its water supply. Contact: Hugh Bevens, 702-887-7688, hbevans@usgs.gov

Truckee-Carson Program. The USGS is supporting other Department of the Interior bureaus in executing provisions of Public Law 101-618, the Truckee-Carson-Pyramid Lake Settlement Act. Funding is provided by the USGS. The project has developed a complex river operations model for the Truckee and Carson Rivers and the Truckee Canal in support of Interior's negotiations on reservoir and river operations to protect Indian trust issues for the Pyramid Lake Paiute and Fallon Paiute and Shoshone Tribes. In addition to model development and support, the USGS is a technical advisor on hydrologic issues to the Interior and the BIA in the water-settlement negotiations and related litigation and water-rights transfers. Contact: Larry Bohman, 702-887-7679, lrbohman@usgs.gov

Fallon Shallow Aquifer Model. A ground-water model assessing the potential effects on ground-water levels and quality through proposed changes in the quantity and location of surface water deliveries and application in the Newlands Project near Fallon, is being done in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation. Fallon Paiute and Shoshone Tribe have significant land and agricultural interests in this location and are subject to potential impacts as land-use changes take place in the vicinity. Contact: Carol Boughton, 702-887-7727, boughton@usgs.gov

Quality of the Ground Water at Midnite Mine, Stevens County, Washington. The Midnite Mine is an inactive uranium mine, located approximately 50 miles northwest of Spokane, Washington. Between 1988 and 1995, the U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) operated a ground-water quality monitoring network at the mine site, during which time a deterioration of the water quality was observed at a number of wells. During September and October 1996, the USGS evaluated the operational condition of the USBM wells and collected 19 environmental samples to characterize the current quality of the ground water. Such characterization and monitoring is needed so that the Bureau of Land Management, the Spokane Tribe, and the BIA can assess the effectiveness of remediation activities. Contact: Ken Aimes, 253-593-6510, kcames@usgs.gov

Research to Assist the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. Three research projects continue as requested by the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, a group that represents more than 20 Tribes in Washington State:

  1. The importance of several new strains of viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) virus identified in tribal hatcheries was investigated by USGS biologists. The completed studies provided data that was useful to the Commission by identifying American and European strains of VHS. (Fish infected with the European strain must be destroyed.) The results are being prepared for publication in a scientific journal.
  2. Scientists in the USGS BRD have begun examining the genetic diversity among isolates of infectious hematopoietic necrosis (IHN) virus using newly developed DNA fingerprinting techniques. Isolates, or pure strains of the virus, from fish at several Tribal hatcheries will be compared to learn more about factors controlling the occurrence of the virus in salmon reared at these facilities.
  3. Research by the BRD continues on proliferative kidney disease in fish. Fish from the Quinault Nation's hatchery were quarantined in a BRD laboratory and subjected to increased water temperature over time. Kidney disease is induced and carrier fish identified only at abnormally high temperatures. The Tribe was concerned that at the higher water temperatures of the summer months, the parasite would become active in carrier fish and cause tremendous loss to the Tribal fishery in Lake Quinault. During the quarantine, BRD was able to dispose of the carrier fish and ensure a disease-free summer fishery.

Contact: Director, Western Fisheries Research Center, 206-526-6282

Water Resources of the Swinomish Indian Reservation. The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community is interested in protecting the water resources of its Reservation for the beneficial use of the members of the Tribe. Protection from overuse and degradation of quality are the concerns. The purposes of this study are to: (1) determine current streamflows on the Reservation and compare them to streamflows in 1976, (2) determine the most likely ground-water flow directions and general magnitude of ground-water velocities near a landfill, (3) determine the extent of seawater intrusion into the freshwater ground-water system, and (4) supply data for the Tribe's water-resources database. Contact: Blake Thomas, 253-593-6510, bthomas@usgs.gov

Evaluation of Current Ecological Conditions with Respect to Nutrient Dynamics in the Elwha River, Olympic National Park, Washington. The formerly free-flowing Elwha River was famous for the diversity and size of its salmon runs; it produced an estimated 380,000 migrating salmon and trout and supported 10 runs of anadromous salmonids, including chinook that exceeded 100 hours. After construction of the Elwha Dam (1912) and the Glines Canyon Dam (1927), more than 70 miles of mainstem river and tributary habitat were lost to anadromous fish production. In response to the loss of salmon in the Elwha River basin, President George Bush signed the Elwha River Restoration Act of 1992 which began the process of assessing the feasibility of restoring the Elwha River ecosystem. The USGS, in cooperation with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal Council, is evaluating the current ecological status and nutrient dynamics of the Elwha River to assist in developing salmon restoration management plans and developing an ecological framework for describing current and future ecological conditions in the Elwha River Basin. Contact: Mark Munn, 253-593-6530 ext. 238, mdmunn@usgs.gov

Ground-Water Water-Quality Sampling of the Puyallup Indian Reservation. The Environmental Department of the Puyallup Tribe requires information on water quality in order to evaluate the ground-water resources used by Tribal members. To obtain this information, the Tribal Department is conducting a water-quality study of ground-water used by Tribal members within the 1873 Reservation Boundary. As part of this study, the Tribal government has requested that the USGS collect and analyze samples from selected wells. Contact: Ken Aimes, 253- 593-6510, kcames@usgs.gov

Research to Assist the Columbia Intertribal Fisheries Commission. The Columbia River Intertribal Fisheries Commission requested the assistance of the USGS BRD on several projects during Fiscal Year 1997:

  1. BRD continued to study the behavior of migrating salmon in the Mid-Columbia River in relation to total dissolved gas-bubble trauma symptoms.
  2. BRD provided laboratory space, wet laboratory facilities, fish, and scientists to the Commission during a study to determine if viruses found in white sturgeon from hatcheries are also in Columbia River fish.
  3. Populations of Pacific lamprey are at risk of extinction; they are an important component of the salmon ecosystem, providing a buffer from predators, and are culturally important to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. BRD scientists are seeking the cause of the decreasing population.

Contact: Leader, Oregon, Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, 541-737-1938

Ground-water Resources of the Upper Deschutes Basin, Oregon. The USGS is working with the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation and with other cooperators to study the ground water resources in the Upper Deschutes Basin. The Upper Deschutes River Basin is one of the fastest growing areas in Oregon due to a tremendous influx of new residents, the resulting expansion of the retail sector, and rapid growth in the recreation and tourism industries. Present water users such as municipalities, private water suppliers, domestic water users, and irrigators want to assure the continued availability of water resources. Developers wish to accommodate new growth. The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation and conservation organizations wish to maintain or increase instream flows for fisheries. Surface-water resources of the region have been fully appropriated for many years.

Virtually all new development in the region must rely on ground water resources. Ground water is abundant in parts of the region, but until recent studies by the USGS very little was known about the geology and hydrology of the resource. State and local government agencies and the general public are increasingly concerned about the consequences of continued rapid development of the ground-water resource. The major issue is the potential for depletion of streamflow however there are also concerns about seasonal and long-term water-level declines in aquifers.

In 1993, the USGS began a cooperative study to provide a quantitative understanding of the ground-water hydrology in the Upper Deschutes Basin. Information from this study will give resource managers, planners, and the general public the best information available with which to make decisions. The information will include: (1) a compilation of ground-water data, (2) a description of the geologic framework of the regional ground-water flow system, (3) a quantitative description of the flow system including estimation of the hydrologic budget, (4) an evaluation of ground-water/surface-water relationships, (5) an analysis of the effects of canal leakage, and (6) an estimate of the effects of present and future development on ground-water availability and streamflow. Cooperators that have contributed to the cost of the USGS study are the cities of Bend, Redmond, and Sisters; Deschutes and Jefferson Counties; the Oregon Water Resources Department; and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation. The USGS is presently in the final year of its 4-year investigation of the ground-water resources of the Upper Deschutes Basin. The products of the study will include several reports, ground-water data available over the Internet, and a calibrated three-dimensional ground-water flow model which may be obtained and used by any interested party via the Internet. Contact: Marshall Gannett, 503-251-3233, mgannett@usgs.gov

Long-Term Surface-Water Data Collection on the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation. The USGS WRD is assisting the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation in monitoring the surface-water resources of the Reservation. Currently there are 11 continuous streamflow gaging stations operated and maintained in a cooperative program funded by the Tribes and the USGS. The present data collection network was established in 1973. Several of the gages pre-date 1973.

The Tribal Government and the USGS realize the importance of understanding the water resources of the arid region in and around the Reservation. Through the USGS Federal-State Cooperative program, the Tribes and USGS are working together to gather baseline data to further understand the hydrologic characteristics of the rivers and streams of the area. As mentioned above, the Tribes are concerned about increasing development in the Deschutes Basin in general and the protection of ecosystems in the basin, with a particular emphasis on water and fisheries resources.

There is little water resources development in the tributary streams of the Reservation. The information provided as a result of this monitoring network represents baseline, generally natural conditions. Characteristics derived from these gages are therefore directly applicable to larger regional studies without the uncertainty of having to compensate for human activities. Contact: Lawrence Hubbard, 503-251-3239, leh@usgs.gov

Klamath River Basin. USGS scientists support the Technical Work Group of the Klamath River Basin Fisheries Task Force. The Work Group is chaired by representatives from member Tribes who rotate annually; the Karuk, Yurok, and Hoopa Valley Tribes from California, and the Klamath Tribe from Oregon are represented. This technical support and research assistance began in 1994, for the purpose of developing a better understanding of water quality and quantity management problems that limit anadromous fish restoration in the Klamath Basin. Contact: Director, Midcontinent Ecological Science Center, 970-226-9100

Hydrologic and Geochemical Monitoring and Remediation Related Studies Copper Bluff Mine. The objective of this study is to collect ground-water data and evaluate the ground-water resources in the Santa Barbara County area to allow for the planning and optimal utilization of available ground water in this area. The project is being conducted in cooperation with the Hoopa Valley Tribe. Contact: Charles Alpers, 916- 278-3134, cnalpers@usgs.gov

Water Resources near the Bishop Paiute-Shoshone Tribe. The USGS provided information to the Bishop Paiute-Shoshone Tribe on surface- and ground-water resources in the Bishop, California area. The Tribe was also interested in the ability of the USGS to conduct ground-water monitoring studies and to provide technical training for tribal members. Contact: Charles Alpers, 916-278-3134, cnalpers@usgs.gov

Alaska Subsistence Issues. The social science program at the University of Washington Field Station of USGS BRD's Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center has undertaken several projects for Alaska Natives:

  1. Qualitative data has been collected on the traditional use of cabins and other shelters associated with subsistence uses by the Nikolai and Telida Athabaskan villages. These villages are adjacent to Denali National Park and Preserve; park uses should not conflict with traditional land resource uses by Alaska Natives.
  2. Data on wildlife harvest and other uses of vegetative resources in the Athabaskan villages of Eagle Village and Circle are being analyzed. The villages have traditionally and recently used land now in the Yukon-Charly National Preserve administered by the National Park Service.
  3. A study is being conducted on the potential for cooperative management of subsistence resources in several National Park Service units known collectively as the Northwest Areas. The Native communities of Ambler, Kiana, and Noatak will cooperate with NPS in the management of the northwest Alaska caribou herd in these NPS areas since it is of subsistence significance to these villages.

Contact: Director, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, 541-750-7307

Yukon Delta Goose Management Plan. The Yukon Delta Goose Management Plan is a formal agreement between the Native Association of Village Council Presidents, the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service and USGS's Alaska Biological Science Center, and governments of States that host the migrating geese. The Management Plan was reviewed in 1997 to assess research findings, examine sport and subsistence harvest, and determine research and management goals that conserve and enhance populations for Native Alaskan subsistence needs. Species included in the Plan are the greater white-fronted goose, cackling Canada goose, emperor goose, and the Pacific brant that nests on the Yukon- Kuskokwim Delta in western Alaska. Contact: Director, Alaska Biological Science Center, 907-786-3512

Otters in Alaska. As part of the operation of the Alaska Native Sea Otter Commission, the USGS BRD and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continued to collect biological information from Native subsistence harvesting and shared this information among three cooperators. Contact: Director, Alaska Biological Science Center, 907-786-3512

The contacts provided in the report were accurate at the time of publication. Please refer to the USGS Employee Directory or the Office of Tribal Relations contact page if you require information about a specific activity.

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