The Muscogee (Creek) Nation, working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has established a conservation district, the two entities announced on November 19.
The aptly named Muscogee (Creek) Nation Natural Resource Conservation District is one of 45 such delineations around the country, the tribe and the USDA said in a statement. It allows the government agency to work in partnership with the Muscogee to bring USDA programs to tribal lands.
“We’re excited the Muscogee (Creek) Nation has invested in a conservation district to help tribal members achieve their conservation goals for clean water and air, soil health and wildlife habitat on Tribal land,” said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Butch Blazer in a statement. “Conservation districts serve an important role, as they provide locally-driven solutions to natural resource concerns. We look forward to this partnership.”
Tribal officials were equally elated about the district, which was enabled in late 2013 by new tribal legislation and then signed into being this week with a memorandum of understanding, according to the joint statement.
““It is a historic day to sign a document that memorializes the partnership of USDA and Muscogee (Creek) Nation,” said Muscogee Principal Chief George Tiger. “Historically, we have been good stewards of our land with special emphasis on clean water and protecting the environment. This will allow us to grow in a positive direction in having more oversight of our natural resources.”
The district gives the tribe latitude and guidance to “manage natural resources, secure assistance for conservation projects and encourage tribal members to own and operate agricultural land,” the statement’s description read.