Historic agreement establishes tribal co-management of Bears Ears National Monument

Jun 21, 2022

Five tribes with ties to the Bears Ears region signed a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service which grants them more power in the management of Bears Ears National Monument. The document reestablishes the Bears Ears Commission to handle day-to-day decisions. The tribes will submit a land management plan to the Bureau of Land Management, which will then incorporate the recommendations into its own plan.

This agreement establishes a model for co-management between tribes and the federal government where there is an ongoing collaboration with the people who have the traditional ecological knowledge about the land.

“Today, instead of being removed from a landscape to make way for a public park, we are being invited back to our ancestral homelands to help repair them,” Carleton Bowekaty, lieutenant governor of the Zuni Pueblo Tribe, said in a statement.

The signing of the agreement was celebrated with the unveiling of a new Bears Ears entrance sign that includes the insignia of the five tribes.

Creative solutions required to address water crisis

New data from the Upper Colorado River Commission shows that the amount of water available in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming decreased by about 1 million acre-feet compared with the previous year. In response to the data, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton delivered a warning to Congress that Colorado River water users must cut their water usage by as much as one-fourth by the end of next year, or reservoirs will not be able to produce hydropower.

The urgency of the drought in the West requires a multitude of inventive solutions, as Tanya Trujillo, the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for water and science said during a speech, “We need to be taking action in all states, in all sectors, and in all available ways.” In an attempt to take action for her state, New Mexico Representative Melanie Stansbury introduced a package of bills known as the “aquabus”.

To discover a local perspective on water in the West, check out the new series Headwaters from KBUT, made with support from The Water Desk.

Quick hits

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Renewable energy is the “new cash crop” on Colorado’s Eastern Plains

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Forest Service, Nez Perce Tribe sign land restoration work deal

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Momentum grows for permanent protections for Caja Del Rio

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Interior to launch mental health program for wildland firefighters, boost wildfire spending

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Contreras Fire burns over 17,000 acres, reaches Kitt Peak National Observatory

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Interior Department adds $103 million for wildfire hazards and land rehabilitation

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Quote of the day

One thing is perfectly clear: That climate change will continue to make fires in the West larger and that we must continue to invest in conservation of our ecosystems. We must and we will continue to stay coordinated because the reality is that these days… it’s ‘fire years,’ no longer ‘fire seasons.’”

—Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Colorado Newsline

Picture this

two sets of animal tracks in the sand on the beach

Have you ever seen such a pair of prints? These prints were found on the beach by Brooks Lake. Can you identify them? As much as we’d like to think these two were spending quality time together, chances are they are from two separate visits. What tracks have you seen lately?

(featured image: Utah Dine Bikeyah members and monument supporters gather to celebrate new signage for Bears Ears. Photo courtesy of Aldean Ketchum.)