Case Studies in Tribal Water Quality Standards Programs
              United States
              Environmental Protection
              Agency
The  Hualapai Tribe
July 2006
EPA-823-R-06-006
 Introduction
The Hualapai Tribe recognized the need to pro-
tect and restore the limited waters on its reserva-
tion. Water quality standards approved by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the
Clean Water Act empower the Tribe to make deci-
sions with federal and state agencies on various
actions affecting water quality.
Tribal Background
The Hualapai Reservation was established by an executive order in 1883.  The reservation encompasses nearly
one million acres and 108 miles of the Colorado River from river mile 165 to 273 in the Grand Canyon, which
forms its northern boundary.  The topography of the reservation varies from rolling grasslands to forests with el-
evations ranging from 1,500 feet at the Colorado River to over 7,300 feet at the Aubrey Cliffs on the eastern por-
tion of the reservation. Approximately 2,000 people live on the reservation and more than 98 percent of these
people are tribal members. The Tribe's principal economic activities are tourism, cattle ranching, big game
hunting, timber sales, and arts and crafts. For the Hualapai - the " People of the Tall Pines" - the Colorado River is
a significant cultural landmark; it is their ancestral home. Throughout the Tribe's history, the Colorado River and
Grand Canyon have provided the Hualapai with food, medicinal herbs, and a spiritual center.
Water Quality Standards
Before applying to the EPA for approval to administer a water quality stan-
dards program, the Hualapai Department of Natural Resources (HDNR)
faced the task of convincing tribal members and eventually the Tribal Coun-
cil to support the endeavor. This outreach effort involved numerous meet-
ings and public discussions where the merits of adopting standards were
explained. The emphasis from the beginning was to at least maintain and
potentially restore the water quality of 49 springs and eight groundwater
sources on the reservation. These springs are important for cultural reasons
as well as wildlife and livestock uses. Tribal members were eventually con-
vinced that EPA-approved water quality standards would not inhibit water
use activities, but would enhance water quality and benefit farming and
ranching practices.
                                 Nevada
                                                                                    Utah
                                               Arizona Grand Canyon
                                                        National Park
                                              Cottirmft) Kii't-r

                                                    Hualapai Indian
                                                      Reservation
Two factors influenced the Tribe's decision to develop and adopt water quality standards under the
Clean Water Act. First, the Tribe recognized that having standards would give it a basis to affect water
pollution control actions both on and off the reservation. Second, the Tribe wanted to protect and restore
the relatively unpolluted spring waters that are important to the Tribe in  its water-scarce environment. The
reservation also has approximately 21  miles of perennial streams and many ephemeral streams, which are
characteristic of the arid southwest.
EPA approved the Hualapai's application to administer the water quality standards program on July 22,
2004.  EPA approved the Tribe's water quality standards on September 17, 2004.  These standards were in
place under tribal law for several years before EPA approved them under the Clean Water Act. The Tribe
received strong support from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service in its efforts to develop standards.

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 The Hualapai Department of Natural Resources is responsible for a variety of environmental programs includ-
 ing water quality, nonpoint sources, wetlands, forestry, wildlife and fisheries management, parks, agriculture,
 air quality, and environmental services. Staff fluctuates on a seasonal basis between 30 and 50 people. The
 majority of the Department of Natural Resources' employees are enrolled in the Hualapai Tribe.  As is the case
 with many tribes, maintaining a consistent level of funding to implement its environmental programs is an ongo-
 ing challenge.  The Hualapai currently receive federal funding from the EPA, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau
 of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Department of
 Agriculture, and U.S. Geological Survey. In addition to federal funds, the Tribe also provides funding for Water
 Resource Program efforts. The Hualapai Department of Natural Resources' Water Resources Program is staffed
 by three employees and operates on an annual budget of approximately $250,000. The terrain and inacces-
 sibility of much of the reservation presents the Tribe with challenges in conducting water quality monitoring.
 For example, helicopters must be used on occasion to reach outlying areas. The Tribe is also developing both
 point and nonpoint source control programs, though there are currently few point source discharges and most
 of the Tribe's efforts focus on nonpoint source pollution and control.
           Tribal water quality standards approved by EPA, including the Hualapai, can be viewed at:
           httD://www.eDa.aov/waterscience/standards/waslibrarv/tnbes.html
Successful Application
 Since adopting water quality standards, the Tribe has
 been an equal partner with federal, state, and local
 authorities in discussing activities that could affect tribal
 waters. The Tribe has already had success in getting off-
 reservation livestock grazing practices modified to pro-
 tect tribal waters. Within the reservation, the water quality
 standards, coupled with supporting tribal ordinances,
 provide the tribal government with an enforceable
 means to modify wildlife and ranching practices to pro-
 tect and restore water quality.  Some recent modifica-
 tions include the restoration of riparian wetlands, the ad-
 dition of fences in grazing areas, and the removal of feral
 animals from around springs.  Even within the relatively
 short history of applying standards, the quality of spring
 waters has improved noticeably in terms of improved
 clarity, and reduced nutrient growth and odor.
Tribal Recommendations
 Hualapai water resources personnel recommend that any
 tribe considering the water quality standards program:

    recognize the empowerment aspects of adopting
    and applying water quality standards
    establish reasonable designated uses
    ensure that adequate legal support is available within
    the tribe and EPA
    have the patience to see the process through
    develop a strong relationship with EPA personnel
I For Further Information, Contact:
A/ex Cab/7/o
Wafer Resources Program Manager
Hualapai Department of Natural Resources
Peach Springs, AZ 86434
phone: 928-769-2254
Fax: 928-769-2309
e-mail: Acabillo@hotmail.com
Tribal website: hffp;//www.hL/a/apa/'.ora

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