New Dawn for Navajo Nation Zoo – (Most Recent Press Release)

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 24, 2015

New Dawn for Navajo Nation Zoo

Saving the lives of eagles.

That’s one goal of a new Navajo Nation Eagle Aviary here at the Navajo Nation Zoo.

Navajo Nation Zoo Department Manager David Mikesic, said “Thanks to a host of partners, we will now be able to build a new eagle aviary to help save the lives of eagles that have been injured in the wild.”

An 80 feet by 30 feet observation type of facility will be constructed to house approximately 20 golden eagles. It will also include an adjoining office, food prep room and a medical center for eagles.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided initial funding of $200,000, which was used for planning and design. The Navajo Nation Council also approved an appropriation of $401,000 from the Navajo Nation Undesignated Unreserved Fund Balance in May. The Navajo Tourism Department under the Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development also contributed $200,000 to help construct a new eagle aviary.

“I want to thank all of our partners for their support and funding that we received,” Mikesic stated. “This is a very exciting and important project for the Navajo people.”

The four main goals of the Navajo Nation Eagle Aviary are to save the lives of injured eagles; It will allow the Navajo people to legally obtain eagle feathers; The facility will be used to educate the public about eagle conservation and it will allow the Navajo people to view and maintain a spiritual connection with eagles.

The Navajo Nation Eagle Aviary will primarily house injured golden eagles; however, it will also include injured bald eagles.

“Although there are legal ways to obtain an eagle feather, there are still individuals out there who are shooting eagles and selling their feathers illegally in the black market,” Mikesic noted. “In addition to education, the Navajo Nation Eagle Aviary will also be used to help the public establish a spiritual connection to the eagles.”

Mikesic said it is hoped the Navajo Nation Eagle Aviary Project will begin construction in July.

The Navajo Nation will also soon be home to a black-footed ferret, which was once considered the most endangered mammal in the U.S.

“The black-footed ferret was once part of the natural environment on the Navajo Nation,” Mikesic explained.  “It went extinct from the Navajo Nation in the 1930’s due to canine diseases, reductions in prarie dog towns and other grassland issues.

After the ferret was rediscovered in Wyoming in the 1980s, a number of zoos began captive breeding programs to increase the number of ferrets in the U.S.  The young produced from breeding programs are then trained to be put back into the wild. After the ferret was rediscovered in Wyoming in the 1980s, a number of zoos began captive breeding programs to increase the number of ferrets in the U.S.  The young produced from breeding programs are then trained to be put back into the wild.

New Land Withdrawal Designation Regulations Approved

New Land Withdrawal Designation Regulations Approved

            WINDOW ROCK, AZ. – The Resources and Development Committee of the Navajo Nation Council passed a resolution on Tuesday, June 16th approving the Land Withdrawal Designation Regulation to designate land for future development.

            The Navajo Land Department has been working diligently to amend regulations to clarify and expedite the land withdrawal designation process, which was causing a little confusion among the chapters and making project time lines longer.  These regulations will enhance the chapter Land Use Plans.

            Navajo Nation Land Department Director Mike Halona, stated, “We’re trying to clarify the difference between a land withdrawal designation process and land conveyance process.  We hope the passage of these new regulations will help clarify and streamline the land withdrawal process for the Navajo chapters to develop their community land use plans. Without recording chapter land use plan (CLUP) land designation, we could be adversely developing within an area planned for other use.”

            A land withdrawal designation does not authorize development or disturbance on Navajo Nation land. Moreover, it does not apply to how to get a lease. Prior to any development on the land, a lease must be obtained in addition to the withdrawal. 

           The purpose of a land withdrawal designation is to designate an area of land for future development by ensuring that the rights of grazing permittees, who are in compliance with their grazing permits are properly addressed as applicable and as required under 16 N.N.C. SS 1401 et seq. and to prevent any subsequent claims to the land and ensuring that the affected chapter supports the land withdrawal designation and use of the land.

           Halona added, “With the approval of the Navajo Nation General Leasing Regulations of 2013, which gave the Navajo Nation authority to approve leases; this Land Withdrawal Designation Regulation is step one in the Land Use Planning process.  The Navajo Land Department is in the process of establishing a Navajo General Leasing Office, where all leases and permits will be administered by the Navajo Nation.   Land Withdrawal Designation Regulations was just one among other regulations that are being developed.”

The Resources Development Committee within approval of this legislation also included that “the Navajo Nation government may develop on land designated by the Land Withdrawal Designation without a lease for government purposes only.”

            The Resources and Development Committee authorized the Navajo Land Department director the power and authority to give final approval of all land withdrawal designations on the Navajo Nation.

            For more information about how to acquire a land withdrawal, contact the Navajo Nation Land Department at (928) 871-6401.