LEUPP, Ariz. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District leadership accepted the invitation of Navajo Nation Council Delegate Walter Phelps to participate in a round-table discussion at the Leupp Chapter House Dec. 6.
Col. Kirk Gibbs, district commander, David Van Dorpe, deputy district engineer, Ed Demesa, chief of the planning division, and Quana Higgins, district tribal liaison, joined the partnering engagement with Navajo Nation’s Resources and Development Committee.
"The signing of the District's first Tribal Partnership Program agreement is an important milestone, and one that we were proud to achieve with Navajo Nation," said Gibbs. "It is critical that we continue to communicate and strengthen our partnership so that we can move forward with the Watershed Study and help Navajo Nation with their water resource challenges."
Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez spoke about his vision and administrative priorities saying, "The Navajo Nation is committed to a continued partnership with the Corps through the upcoming watershed study."
Principal hydrologist for Navajo Water Resources Jason John stated, the Nation usually pursue grant opportunities but hasn't partnered in the sense that they share in the cost of the studies as under Tribal Partnership Program with USACE.
"The removal of the Sovereignty Immunity Waiver clause in our Federal Cost Share Agreements enabled them to sign the agreement with us," said Higgins.
Under the TPP, the Corps, in cooperation with tribes and other federal agencies, can complete watershed assessments or determine the feasibility of projects that will substantially benefit Indian tribes.
Next on tap is a scoping charrette, an intensive workshop, to be held by the end of January 2018. This effort will develop the Project Management Plan and define any necessary amendments to the Watershed Assessment Cost Share Agreement.