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USGS Office of Tribal Relations

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Training Information

TEchnical training in Support of Native American Relations Program

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) TEchnical training in Support of Native American Relations (TESNAR) Program accepts proposals from USGS scientists for support in designing and conducting technical training for tribal employees  or inter-tribal organizations.  Proposals are selected based on an internal review process. The purpose of the TESNAR program is to strengthen the technical capacity of federally recognized Tribes for managing tribal natural resources, and to establish and maintain positive relationships between the USGS and Tribal Governments.

2015 TESNAR Awardees

BIA Water Resources Technician Training

For many years, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has run a Water Resources Technician Training course in New Mexico. USGS has taught the "Basic Hydrologic Principles" part of that course and continues to do so with support from the USGS Office of Tribal Relations. The Program consists of a combination of classroom instructions and field trips. The classroom sessions cover the basics of surface and ground water hydrology; dam operations, maintenance, safety and hydro-power; flood control structures and problems; analysis of hydrologic data, groundwater movement and modeling; basic pipe and culvert design; drinking water and waste water treatment plant operations; irrigation; surface and groundwater pollution; solid waste management of hazardous waste, cleanup of hazardous waste and emergency response; wetland protection; basic fish and wildlife biology and fish hatchery operation among others. For more information contact Christina Mokhtarzahed at or call 202-208-7249.

USGS Tribal Relations Training for Employees

During Fiscal Year 2006, the USGS began developing a new Tribal relations training course for its employees. The purpose of the training is to facilitate interactions with Tribes by informing USGS employees about the unique aspects of Tribal sovereignty; laws, regulations, and policies relating to Native Americans, as well as cultural issues that may affect collaboration. Native Americans, some of whom are USGS employees and others who are invited guests, describe their experiences and perspectives. A panel that includes USGS scientists will discuss successful approaches to cooperative Tribal relations. A team of subject matter experts from all USGS regions and headquarters designed the training. The Office of Employee Development partnered with the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians and other bureaus (National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management) and agencies (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture) to capitalize on best practices, curriculum, and instructors.

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