Thanks to funding made available under the new Farm Bill signed by President Obama in February 2014, APHIS is supporting a wide range of new and ongoing projects to protect Indian Country’s trees and plants.
All told, APHIS will contribute about $1 million to 11 projects aimed at safeguarding Tribal lands and natural resources from invasive weeds, plant pests, and diseases. Among these efforts is a collaboration with the Pokagon Band Department of Natural Resources (PBDNR) in Michigan to combat the emerald ash borer (EAB). This invasive insect has rendered black ash trees virtually extinct in the State and on adjacent Tribal lands. So far this year, PBDNR has used funds from the 2014 Farm Bill to treat 503 trees and expects to treat another 300 trees by mid-summer. APHIS is also providing financial assistance to the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance for outreach to Tribes ranging from educational materials and posters to public events that focus attention on the threat of EAB.
Additional projects include the Reaching American Indian Nations 2 (RAIN2) project (Washington State University’s Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program) and the Nez Perce Tribe's Bio-Control Center in Idaho, which helps manage invasive weeds. More information on these and other projects is available from APHIS’ Plant Health Tribal liaison, Carl Etsitty, at Carl.Etsitty@aphis.usda.gov or (970) 494-7573. A full list of APHIS projects funded by the 2014 Farm Bill is available at Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Programs.
photo credit: Dr. James E. Zablotny, APHIS