Archived Outdoors

Federal guidance to strengthen tribal land management role

Last week, the U.S. Department of the Interior released new guidance aiming to strengthen the role of tribal governments in federal land management. 

The National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management have each released documents outlining how they will facilitate and support agreements with tribes to collaborate in co-stewardship of federal lands and waters. 

“From wildfire prevention to managing drought and famine, our ancestors have used nature-based approaches to coexist among our lands, waters, wildlife and their habitats for millennia. As communities continue to face the effects of climate change, indigenous knowledge will benefit the Department’s efforts to bolster resilience and protect all communities,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “By acknowledging and empowering Tribes as partners in co-stewardship of our country’s lands and waters, every American will benefit from strengthened management of our federal land and resources.”

The guidance helps further the directives from Joint Secretarial Order 3403, signed by the secretaries of the DOI and Department of Agriculture during the 2021 White House Tribal Nations Summit, which outlines how the two departments will strengthen tribal co-stewardship efforts. Since the order was signed, co-stewardship agreements have been completed for the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Bison Range Restoration in Montana, Rappahannock Indian Tribe Homeland’s Restoration in Virginia and Dworshak National Fish Hatchery Transfer to the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho.

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