In the southwestern United States, the ongoing spread of invasive plants has significantly damaged rangelands, watersheds, and private property. On the Navajo Nation, the impact of non-native weed species is a significant problem to their economy, natural resources, and cultural heritage. Weed infestations reduce agricultural productivity, lower property value, increase habitat loss, and further soil degradation. Such impacts have far-reaching effects in this community, where agriculture represents a significant economic and cultural practice. To address these concerns, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Navajo Regional Office (BIA) developed an integrated weed management plan. The plan provides a strategic approach to planning, implementation, and monitoring of weed management projects. To address environmental compliance needs for the plan, the BIA and contractor Fred Phillips Consulting (FPC) the prepared a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and a Draft Programmatic Biological Assessment for federally and tribally-listed species of concern.
Prior to starting EnviroPlan, Sabrina Kleinman and Heidi Trathnigg were the main team that worked cooperatively and collaboratively with the BIA to develop the draft IWMP and PEIS for the Navajo Region. In 2019, EnviroPlan was contracted by the BIA to finalize the documents with the BIA Navajo Region, Cooperative Agencies, and the public. This plan provides a toolbox of weed management approaches along with guidance for developing and planning site-specific projects that meet both federal and tribal compliance requirements.
WIth EnviroPlan Partners, served as Principal Biologist and NEPA Specialist
- Update background information and resource impacts for wildlife, endangered species, and tribal parks and lands.
- Update the Programmatic Biological Assessment to meet current wildlife management needs and concerns for federally and tribally listed species.
- Revise and edit the PEIS to comply with Secretary Order 3355 and Section 508.
- Manage collection and review of public comments and questions received during Public Hearings and public review of Draft PEIS.
- Manage meetings and correspondence with Cooperating Agencies and for informal biological consultation with USFWS and NNDFW.
With Fred Phillips Consulting, served as Project Manager:
- Managed project communication with the BIA’s COR and CO
- Developed presentations for Public Scoping. Facilitated discussion with public and Cooperating Agencies during scoping period. Prepared the Public Scoping Report on scoping efforts, including public meeting information, summary of comments received, and issues identified.
- Facilitated meetings and communications with identified Cooperating Agencies for the projects. Assisted with informal Section 7 Consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- Prepared weed management plan, including target weed information, effective means of control, identification of approved herbicides for chemical control, and identification of potential biological control agents.
- Prepared the purpose and need for the action, the decision framework, and proposed alternatives for the draft EIS. Analyzed background and impacts to wildlife species and resource use.
- Prepared the programmatic biological assessment for federally and tribally managed wildlife species.
With EnviroPlan Partners, served as Project Manager and GIS Analyst
- Manage communication and collaboration with Cooperating Agencies, consulting agencies, and the public.
- Facilitate team meetings with BIA staff and EPP.
- Manage updates and revisions to the PEIS document to comply with Secretary Order 3355 and Section 508 compliance.
- Updated resource impact analysis for plants, soils, public health, and water resources to comply with current data and information for the PEIS.
- Updated effects analysis for plants in the Programmatic Biological Assessment.
With Fred Phillips Consulting, served as GIS Analyst and NEPA Specialist
- Organized weed mapping data from five Navajo Agencies into a comprehensive database of weed populations, locations, and species to identify current state of known weed populations on the Navajo Nation.
- Developed standardized parameters for monitoring weed populations.
- Facilitated discussions with the Navajo Nation EPA to address potential concerns and planning needs for water quality, active and inactive wells, and collaboration with their watershed restoration program.
- Assisted with informal Section 7 Consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- Developed print and radio advertising materials and posters for public scoping meetings.
- Prepared impact analyses on weed management techniques on major resource areas, including vegetation, soils, geology, public health, recreational use, socioeconomics, climate change, and water resources for the PEIS.
- Prepared effects analysis of weed management on federally and tribally listed plant species for the Programmatic Biological Assessment.