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December 19th, 2023
Rep. Grijalva Announces $5.2 Million for Cocopah Indian Tribe for Reservation Restoration Project

Awards Include Funds Rep. Grijalva Negotiated to Be Included in Inflation Reduction Act

WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07) announced the Cocopah Indian Tribe received a $5 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) America the Beautiful Challenge program and a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Tribal Wildlife Program for the Cocopah’s Limitrophe Restoration Project. This funding is part of the historic Inflation Reduction Act, including provisions Rep. Grijalva negotiated for inclusion as Chairman of the House Natural Resource Committee. Rep. Grijalva also wrote a letter in support of the project.  

These federal funds will be used to help the Cocopah Indian Tribe, with support from the National Audubon Society, complete their Limitrophe Restoration Project. This project aims to restore more than 400 acres of habitat and culturally important areas along the Colorado River Delta on their reservation in southern Arizona.

“Securing this funding is a huge success for the Cocopah Tribe, and we have been very fortunate to have the support of the Audubon Society,” said Jen Alspach, Cocopah Environmental Protection Office Director. “This project will be an amazing accomplishment not only in preserving the environment but also in preserving the Cocopah’s traditional way of life. One of the primary goals of the Cocopah Tribal Council is to restore the river for future generations, and it is remarkable to see how the efforts of the last several years have come to fruition.”

“Since time immemorial, the Cocopah people have stewarded this land and I’m proud to support their efforts in this project,” said Rep. Grijalva. “These are the type of federal investments that must be continued, as they are vital to our communities and the sustainability of our planet. I look forward to our collective work to restore this critical habitat and protect it for generations to come.”

The Cocopah Tribe will use the funding to establish a Tribal youth conservation corps and perform earthwork, install irrigation for revegetation, and engage Tribal youth in the removal of invasive species to improve habitat, connectivity, and resilience of this spiritually and culturally important area. The Tribe intends to develop a portion of its’ unused Colorado River water rights to implement and sustain the planned restoration, but currently lacks infrastructure to allow the water to reach the site.

The restoration site is located in the floodplain of the Colorado River, just below Morelos Dam (the furthest downstream dam on the river) in the limitrophe, the river reach that forms the border between the US and Mexico, and marks the transition into the river’s delta region.

The Tribe has received funding from the NFWF’s America the Beautiful Challenge Grant, FWS Tribal Wildlife Grant, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Catena Foundation, the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, and the National Audubon Society to implement this project.

The America the Beautiful Challenge is a public-private grant program for locally led ecosystem restoration projects that invest in watershed restoration, resilience, equitable access, workforce development, corridors and connectivity, and collaborative conservation. More information on the project can be found here and here.  

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