Pacific Southwest

Aquatic Leadership on Tribal Lands

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 here 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.

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Keep on Truckin’

I was enjoying my early morning quiet office when the phone rang. The man at the other end, Jason, uttered a polite good morning, asked if I worked on air quality issues, and then started firing questions on emissions and idling rules for his 15 year old truck. Did I know about how the federal regulations differed from California’s or Nevada’s? Would he incur fines if he did not comply this year, or was it just starting next year? Was it true that some states had grant programs for upgrading? How about tax incentives? How could he tell which new technologies would work? I was speechless and trust me when I say, I am rarely speechless. I mumbled a response and promised to call him back. Did we really expect every trucker to figure all that out?

I set out on what I thought would be a long day of tracking down answers. The answer came quickly and definitively when I asked a colleague who is an expert on partnerships aimed at reducing diesel pollution. She said, “Have him call Cascade Sierra Solutions”. Could it be that simple? Apparently so!

Everyone knows that diesel powered trucks carry most of our freight and that they last 25-30 years while exhaling a lot of harmful pollutants. Truckers want to/ need to clean up the legacy fleets – but how?

Help has come to many in the form of Cascade Sierra Solutions (CSS), one of our Environmental Award Winners. At CSS, they remove barriers to awareness, capital cost and regulatory information. They know how busy truckers can be and how hard it is for them to find answers about the rules of the road. By forming a unique partnership with public agencies and clean diesel equipment suppliers, they’ve managed to educate truckers through outreach centers at popular truck stops. CSS is helping truckers receive grants, tax incentives, and low interest financing to stay in compliance and reduce fuel expenses. In the past three years, this non-profit has placed upgrades on over 1800 trucks and facilitated over 300 truck replacements which have all accounted for over 5.5 million gallons of fuel savings. More importantly, they’ve reduced over 57,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, 475 metric tons of nitrogen oxide and over 11 metric tons of particulate matter – the deadliest outdoor air pollutant in the US.

Thanks to CSS, Jason will keep on truckin’.

About the author: Niloufar Glosson is currently on assignment to the Office of Regional Administrator as a special assistant. Until recently she worked in the Air Program, where she learned how critical it is to reducing diesel pollution.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

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Pacific Southwest Environmental Awards – WE ARE INSPIRED!

About the author: Sara Jacobs just celebrated her 10th year working at EPA Region 9. She has worked with both states and tribal governments in the Drinking Water Office.

Why is the Pacific Southwest EPA Region one of the top three places to work in all of the US federal government? Is it the gym and day-care center in our building or the fact that many of us are past Peace Corps volunteers? Actually, the most amazing thing about working for EPA is the fact that virtually every employee in this building is here because we are committed to EPA’s mission to protect public health and the environment. But as we peruse this year’s environmental award winners, we realize that we are just the tip of the environmental protection iceberg.

We simply cannot protect our health and the environment all on our own and need help from every single one of you to conserve water, plant native species, purchase non-toxic consumer products, dispose of household hazardous waste properly, use less energy, recycle, and so much more. So here, in the Pacific Southwest Regional blog series, we are highlighting people like you who have taken it upon themselves to become environmental leaders in their businesses, organizations and communities.

Once again, our senior managers locked themselves in a conference room with hundreds of award nominations to find the most cutting edge, innovative, and inspirational people and groups working towards environmental protection. The award winners are always a diverse group from tribal government employees to students and teachers to people in industry. From protection of the Pacific Islands to the US Mexico Border Region and from inner cities to rural farms, these people are making a huge difference in their communities, and are true environmental heroes! We are so inspired by the incredible work of these people and we hope that you are inspired to make a difference in your community too.

image of man in boat holding a jar filled with marine debrisKeep checking back with us over the next ten weeks to learn more about the 2009 award winners, find links to their sites, and find out how you can get involved. For a taste of what is to come in future posts, check out one of our 2008 winners, Captain Charles Moore, who leads research on marine plastic pollution at the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. You can also find more video, photos, and information about our past winners at http://www.epa.gov/region09/awards/pastawards.html.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.