Bear Den Landing: Creating Resilient Environments & Tribal Communities through Ecological Planning & Public Participation on Fort Berthold Reservation
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Over half of the 135,000 miles of oil and gasoline pipelines in the U.S. were installed before 1969, with implementation of pipes occurring before maturation of steel or coating technology. Leaks and spills are becoming increasingly common within the realm of man-made environmental hazards. North Dakota is the second largest in oil production, suffering from 85 paramount oil spills in last 20 years. North Dakota tribal lands are faced with declining environmental issues as a majority of reservations located in areas of hazard, creating a state of crisis within their livable environment. A broken pipeline burst more than a million gallons of saltwater into Charbonneau Creek, a tributary of the Yellowstone River, causing massive die-off of ﬁsh, plants and the tainting of productive soil and drinkable water sources. Most spill damage directly effects Native Americans, who are most reliant on environmental health and stability. Oil spills are extremely unpredictable, with little available information of when, where and how they occur. Beyond this, there are no remediation or planning strategies to be executed when these spills transpire. While most literature focuses on reports of spills, this study will propose an analytical strategy to mitigate the environmental threat of oil spills to water resources through environmental planning. Geospatial and hydraulic modeling tools will be introduced using National Hydrography Dataset for watershed-based drainage delineations, basin characteristic visualization, and streamﬂow estimation. A variety of case studies will be examined and analyzed to inform environmental intervention. The result will present a landscape conservation and resiliency plan to include hazard identiﬁcation, vulnerability analysis and ecological planning for an endangered watershed area on Fort Berthold Reservation near Mandaree, ND. The goal is to provide new perspectives on possibilities of creating a more resilient and sustainable tribal community. The design of this thesis will focus on the study of the historically rich ecosystem of the river and detrimental effects on Lake Sakakawea and Three Afﬂiated Tribes way of life. Through environmental planning and reclamation, this project seeks to revive the relationship between biological and cultural diversity among natural environments.