Tribal Fishery Restoration on the Wind River Indian Reservation: Forging a Co-Management Agreement
thesisposted on 01.04.2016, 00:00 by Kelli Blomberg
The Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming is a place where irrigation is essential for the agricultural success of both tribal and non-tribal residents. The tribes emphasize not only the economic importance, but also the cultural importance of healthy ecosystems on the reservation. Currently, sections of the Wind River and related water bodies are managed only for agriculture on primarily non-tribal areas, leaving fisheries populations on the reservation in an unhealthy state. The tribes tried to restore fisheries in this section of the Wind River by using part of their federal reserved right for instream flow, but they did not succeed. To get beyond this limitation, co-management of the area is the ideal option for future tribal fisheries restoration. The co-management framework should consist of two agreements, modeled after other agreements but tailored to the situation on the Wind River. The goal of the agreements is to create a grassroots shared-power system based on cooperation and mutual understanding between tribal and non-tribal users. Ultimately, co-managing this area should result in trust-building, open dialogue, and equal representation and resource benefits to all parties involved, including the restoration of the tribal fishery.