top of page

Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving
The Shoshone-Paiute Tribe of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation




Like many Tribal communities, the Shoshone-Paiute (Sho-Pai) Tribe of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation (DVIR) is experiencing intense mining pressure related to high gold prices and minerals needed for low-carbon energy. Demand for “green” minerals will continue to drive mining development, potentially increasing landscape damage, fugitive and hazardous emissions, and adverse impacts on tribal resources. This is highlighted by the fast-track approval of the Thacker Pass Lithium Mine 85 miles away, impacting a Sho-Pai sacred site Peehee Mu'huh (Rotten Moon). The potential human health impacts of these issues alone pose significant risks to residents, especially to young children.


The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), is a federal process that encourages environmental protection and informed decision-making. NEPA requires the participation of Tribal governments and input from the general public. It is triggered when major action (such as mining) will occur on Federal lands. In Nevada, 80.1% of the land is federal, and 63% of federal land is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Federal agencies expect Tribes to:

  • Assist the lead federal agency in the NEPA process at the earliest possible time.

  • Participate in the scoping process (when Bureaus engage with state, local, and Tribal governments and the public to identify concerns, impacts, effects, etc.).

  • Develop information and prepare an environmental analysis.

  • Make staff support available.


In 2023, TIFO and DVIR were awarded $450,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Justice Grant program. This three-year grant will assist DVIR in developing a rapid-response strategy to fortify its capacity to participate in government-to-government consultation and public response under NEPA. This strategy will lay a guiding framework for triaging, reviewing, and responding to proposals and establish air quality monitoring and a baseline resource repository of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), cultural resources, and critical fish and game habitat. This will support the Tribe in highlighting potential ecological and environmental health impacts. It will also provide resources for educating community members and supporting them in generating effective comments and powerful community participation in decision-making.



Project activities include:

  • Creating an easy-to-access geospatial database of wildlife and cultural resources.

    • ​Interviews with Tribal elders and leaders on Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and other important cultural knowledge.

    • Mapping of critical game habitat and cultural sites.

  • Engagement of Tribal K-12 and university students.

  • Workshops with partners to coordinate activities and share results throughout the project.

  • Community forums to engage the community in project development and implementation, relying on their feedback throughout the process.

  • Training events, including GIS, emergency response planning, NEPA, and technical review of environmental impact statements.

  • Development, deployment, and refinement of the rapid response approach to rapidly engage on proposed mines and government-to-government consultations.

  • Creating resources to support stronger community participation in the NEPA process.

Traditional Ecological Knowledge Definition.png

NIMS4MIM Response Strategy

The idea for this project comes from within DVIR and builds on existing structures and stakeholder groups. The project uses the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as a framework to advance the Tribe’s capacity to respond to proposed mines with potential impact. Using the NIMS framework will help achieve more ‘meaningful input on mining’ (NIMS4MIM). The three components of NIMS - resource management, coordination, and communication - will be adapted through the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving (EJCPS) process.


  • Increase student and community knowledge of baseline conditions on DVIR and how to meaningfully engage in the NEPA process.

  • Enhanced capacity to assess potential mining impacts.

  • Stronger collaborative decision-making in response to proposed mining activities.

  • Protection of DVIR environmental, wildlife, and cultural resources for future generations.

  • Adaptation and adoption of NIMS4MIM by other tribes.

Additional Resources



<< Need to add EPA grant citation info as per grant requirements >>

bottom of page