The Natural Resources Department works to preserve the natural resources that have always provided for the Nimiipuu people. The Natural Resources Department includes the following programs:

Cultural Resources 
Evironmental Restoration & Waste Management
Land Services
Forestry & Fire Management
Water Resources
Wildlife Division

Cultural Resources Program 

The mission of the Cultural Resource Program (CRP) is to promote the understanding and use of nimiipuu’neewit (traditional Nez Perce life-ways) as integral components of Tribal culture and regional management. The CRP fulfills its programmatic purpose by:

  • Assisting Tribal Leadership in treaty rights protection
  • Documenting traditional and ancestral knowledge
  • Integrating nimíipuutimpt within our Tribal community and infrastructure
  • Protecting sites, landscapes, and associated knowledge integral to the perpetuation of nimíipu’neewit through meaningful consultation

The Cultural Resource Program consists of 5 major areas that work to fulfill these goals:

  • Archaeology/Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO)
  • Ethnography
  • Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA)
  • Language preservation
  • Hanford Cultural Resources

Contact: Nakia Williamson-Cloud, Cultural Resource Program Director
208-621-3850 |

Research Permit Form

Environmental Restoration and Waste Management (ERWM)

ERWM, the tribe’s nuclear waste cleanup program, is involved in cleanup of the Hanford nuclear site, which contaminated many natural resources in the mid-Columbia River area. ERWM works to protect and restore Nez Perce cultural and natural resources in this area.

Projects under ERWM include:

  • A database that tracks information about the Hanford site cleanup
  • Outreach to educate the public on Hanford issues
  • Support for Nez Perce college and high school students in developing careers in the STEM field
  • Involvement in the Hanford Natural Resource Damage Assessment


Contact: Jack Bell
208-621-4710 |

Emergency Management

The tribe’s first responders to an emergency may include tribal police, the Fire Management Program, the Emergency Operations Center, and the Hazardous Emergency Response Team. The tribe has agreements in place with county, city, and state governments to provide additional medical, law enforcement, and fire response.

The Nez Perce Community Emergency Response Team helps train people to respond to emergencies. Members of this team support first responders and can assist community members if no first responders are present.

All Hazard Mitigation Plan

Contact: John Wheaton
208-621-3760 |

Air Quality Program

Through a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program, the Nez Perce Tribe oversees burn permits and air quality concerns.


Burn Permit Applications

Volkswagen Trust Settlement

In 2016 the United States reached a settlement with companies collectively known as “Volkswagen” (VW) to resolve allegations that VW knowingly enabled automobiles to emit pollutants that far exceeded what is allowable under U.S. emissions standards (violating the Clean Air Act). As a result, a multimillion-dollar mitigation trust account was established for federally recognized tribes to reduce nitrous oxide emissions through approved mitigation plans. The Nez Perce Tribe (Tribe) was officially designated as an approved beneficiary in May 2019.

The Tribe’s mitigation plan focuses on replacing specific classes of diesel-powered vehicles with new, low-emission diesel vehicles for the Fisheries Department and Forestry & Fire Management Division and purchase and installation of a Light Duty Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Station at the It’se Ye Ye Casino in Kamiah.  In August 2019, the Tribe submitted a Settlement Application under the Environmental Mitigation Trust Agreement for Indian Tribe Beneficiaries.

In November 2019, the Trustee disbursed monies to the Tribe for the first of up to three total funding cycles for which the Tribe is eligible. We will satisfy VW Beneficiary reporting obligations by compiling semiannual reports.

Please contact our office with any questions on the Nez Perce Tribe’s participation in the VW Settlement.

For more information:

Contact: Air Quality
208-843-9381 |

Land Services Program

To protect natural resources while providing economic opportunity for Indian land owners, the Land Services Program includes:

Contact: Kim Cannon
208-621-3721 |

Contact the Bio-Control Center: Paul Brusven
208-621-3520 |

Forestry and Fire Management

The Nez Perce Reservation contains much forested land, which offers economic opportunities and settings for cultural and recreational activities. The Forestry and Fire Management Division maintains and develops the forests, manages the harvesting of timber, and prevents and responds to fires.


Water Resources

Protecting tribal water sources is vital to providing clean drinking water and ensuring safe fishing, swimming, and ceremonial uses. The Water Resources Division manages and protects the waters found on tribal lands.

Contact: Ken Clark
208-843-7368 |

  • The Nez Perce Tribal Water Utility Board is accepting letters of interest to fill one (1) vacancy on the Utility Board.  The applicants must be 18 years of age or older, an enrolled Nez Perce Tribal member, and reside within the Nez Perce Reservation boundaries. Utility Board members shall meet a minimum of once per month to provide guidance to Utility Program staff, develop and implement appropriate rules and regulations, set utility rates, and hear grievances. For more information and how to apply contact Jason Vangen at (208) 843-7368 or email Jason at Open until filled.
Blues to Bitterroots Coalition: Seasonal Round Trail Project: Virtual Meeting, July 23, 2020 (2.5hr)

Wildlife Division

Visit our Wildlife Division site here!