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Aquatic Leadership on Tribal Lands

2009 August 27

I have known and worked with Dan Mosley for almost 15 years, and every moment has been a great experience. In 1989, Peter Husby a biologist in EPA’s Richmond, California laboratory, and I started providing technical assistance to tribes. Our first task was to do a tribal bioassessment training hosted by the Washoe Tribe in Carson, NV. Little did I know there was a ringer in the crowd who knew more about aquatic organisms than I did, or ever will. So, what do you do with a ringer? Simple, we made him part of the tribal technical support team. It was the smartest move we ever made. Over the years Peter and I have learned more from Dan than he has learned from us. We learned about First Nation People, gained insights in working with tribal environmental programs, and acquired an appreciation and understanding of tribal cultural practices.

image of water with huge rocks protrudingDan has been working for Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (PLPT) since 1989. Dan recognized early the importance of bioassessments in detecting impairments from stressors on aquatic communities, and has applied his knowledge and expertise as an aquatic ecologist to the assessment of the condition of PLPT surface waters and biological resources. In his time at PLPT, Dan has worked to improve water quality and habitat for aquatic organisms and wildlife on the Pyramid Lake Reservation. Many of the concepts and programs Dan has established and managed at PLPT have been exported to other tribes. Dan has communicated his knowledgeable of ecology by teaching tribal members the benefits of establishing and sustaining a viable ecosystem using scientific evidence. The important component to understanding ecological function is to know tribal cultural practices, sacred sites and areas of natural vegetation cover present and past. Dan uses a practical approach in communicating these scientific concepts at the local level and to the scientific community.

As an aquatic ecologist, Dan has conducted trainings and provided technical assistance to Tribes, and has given presentations at numerous national and international workshops and conferences.

Dan was recently presented the Conner Byestewa, Jr., award for his environmental achievements. Conner Byestewa, Jr., was a strong advocate for new technology in agriculture, environmental protection, and water quality on tribal lands. Dan is also deserving of his recognition as an EPA Southwest Pacific Region Environmental Award winner.

About the author: Robert Hall is an environmental scientist for EPA Region 9’s Water Division. Robert provides technical assistance to all of Region 9’s tribes, which includes bioassessment training, strategic planning, grant writing and other water program trainings.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

One Response leave one →
  1. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    August 28, 2009

    EPA has a great outreach program with the tribal governments in California and this is one example. It is great that you use native American people as key staff in this effort. It also is of critical importance that you include the time for training tribal government leaders in how to write and apply for grants. Grants for key water infrastructure projects and habitat protection on tribal lands are available from USEPA, California Department of Water Resources, California Water Quality Control Board and certain regional agencies. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

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