Here is a full description about the three projects that the WMAT Tribal Forestry recieved.

In the fall of 2009, the White Mountain Apache Tribe’s (WMAT) was awarded approximately $7.6 million dollars from the U.S. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 stimulus funding through the USDA, Forest Service Southwestern Region.  The ARRA stimulus grants were awarded to fund three primary WMAT Forestry Projects, which are outlined as follows:

*WMAT TRIBAL FOREST PROTECTION ACT (TFPA) PROJECT:

The WMAT TFPA project evolved from what is now known as the “Tribal Protection Forest Protection Act of 2004” legislation which authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to enter into agreements or contracts with Indian tribes that meet certain criteria to carry out projects to protect Indian forest land.  Essentially this means that government entities, such as the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, can enter into agreements or contracts with Tribes to work on forestry related projects that pose potential threats to Tribal lands.  The legislation dictates that these forestry related projects must be on government land adjacent to, and/or surrounding, Indian reservations and must protect Tribal lands from potential risks and/or dangers, such as hazardous fuels build up, wild land fires, etc.

Progress Chart as of 12/31/10 PDF format

As a result and under the TFPA legislation; the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest entered into a $908,000 forest fuels reduction project agreement with the WMAT.  Therefore and what is now known as the “Los Burros Project” is located on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest lands, which are adjacent to the WMAT reservation.  The Los Burros Project is broken out and will be accomplished in three phases.  The WMAT TFPA Team’s Phase I objective is to complete the preparation work, (e.g. layout, marking, and cruising), for treatment on forest lands.  Once Phase I has been completed the FS will hire an outside fuels reduction contractor to complete Phase II which is the mechanized work portion of the project.  Once Phase II has been completed, the WMAT TFPA Team is responsible for competing Phase III, which is the thinning of trees that are smaller than 5” in diameter from acres defined by the data collected in Phases I and II.
*WMAT HAZARDOUS FUELS / RESTORATION PROJECT

Progress Chart as of 12/31/10 PDF format

The WMAT received $4,487,000 for its Hazard Fuels / Restoration Project, which is the largest of the three ARRA Projects and was started on October 26, 2009.  The two primary objectives of the Haz/Fuels Project are to: (1) protect and restore tribal lands; and (2) increase employment on the WMAT reservation.  More specifically, this project will restore and protect WMAT’s Cibecue, Carrzo, and Cedar Creek tribal communities that are still suffering from the devastating effects of the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire, whereby 60% of the fire burned on the reservation, consequently destroying 280,992 acres or 35% of the WMAT’s forested lands.  This project will also protect and improve the conditions of the watersheds around the many springs and lakes on the reservation.

The Haz/Fuels Project Work Plan includes treating Cibecue (1,760 acres); Carrizo (250 acres); and Cedar Creek (1,550 acres); focusing on the following eight (8)project areas: (1) Culvert Armoring and Maintenance; (2) Hand Seeding; (3) Log Erosion Barriers; (4) Bank and Channel Stabilization; (5) Cultural Site Protection; (6) Fence Enclosures; Deterioration of Farmland; and Hazardous Fuels Reduction Work.

The short-term objective (e.g. one to two years); is to protect the WMAT’s Cibecue, Carrizo, and Cedar Creek communities from future wild land fires, like the Rodeo-Chediski fire, while training and employing tribal members to be involved in the protection of their own land.   The long-term objectives of this project are to maintain the hazard fuels reduction treatments and restore tribal lands previously affected by floods.  Consequently and through implementation of the project activities; the WMAT HAz/Fuel Team’s goal is to decrease the amount of runoff that impacts the Cibecue, Carrizo, and Cedar Creek communities and degrades some of the culturally sensitive areas.

*WMAT NATIVE PLANT NURSERY PROJECT

Up until December of 2009, when a propane explosion at the McNary Greenhouse caused considerable damage to the existing nursery structures, the WMAT had access to seedlings, as well as riparian and watershed plants to contribute to their reforestation and watershed restoration needs. Therefore on October 22, 2009, the WMAT received $2,243,000.00 to reconstruct a Native Plant Nursery from the U.S. Forest Service.

Progress Chart as of 12/31/10 PDF format

The primary objective of the WMAT Native Plant Nursery is to grow seedlings and native riparian and watershed plants for the WMAT’s reforestation and native plant and watershed restoration efforts on the areas burned by the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski fire, as well as meet future reforestation and native plant restoration efforts caused by wild land fires or other natural disasters.  However, to become a self-sustaining tribal enterprise and in addition to meeting the WMAT seedling and native plant needs;  the Nursery will target two additional markets over a five year period, including: (1) the Forest Service, and (2) Commercial and/or Private markets.

Of the three grants awarded to WMAT; the Nursery will be the most critical and complex, since this is the first time the Forest Service has awarded a grant for a nursery construction project. The Native Plan Nursery is to be completed in five phases:  (1) Planning; (2) Design; (3) Construction; (4) Operation; and (5) Evaluation.
The WMAT Nursery Team completed first phase and has delivered the Nursery planning materials, including, the Marketing Analysis; Financial Analysis; and Business Plan.  Once these materials are approved by the Forest Service, the WMAT Nursery Team is set to move into and complete the Design Phase of the WMAT Nursery Project.