The Santa Ynez Chumash Environmental Office (SYCEO) was created in 1998 to provide support to the Tribal Government and to serve the Chumash Tribal community. After 10 years the SYCEO is changing and expanding, but our mission statement remains the same:
“To enhance and preserve the natural environment of the Chumash Reservation in order to provide a safe and healthy community for its residents and visitors.”
In order to accomplish this goal the SYCEO is developing several resource management programs in the area of:
- Solid Waste Management
Efforts include a non-operational vehicle removal and recycling program, open dump assessment and clean-up, inventory of solid waste generated on the Reservation, removal of solid waste from the creek bed and riparian area, waste reduction/recycling community education events, and the development of a Solid Waste Management Plan to manage all future solid waste.
- Natural Resource Protection
The SYCEO is currently conducting riparian habitat assessments, biological assessments, surface and ground water quality monitoring, identifying potential pollution sources, identifying and removing invasive plant species, and developing a Water Quality Control Plan, a Fish, Wildlife, and Habitat Management Plan, and an Integrated Weed Management Plan to protect our natural resources. Furthermore, the SYCEO will collaborate with the Chumash Cultural Department to host a workshop at the annual Camp Kalawashaq that shares the importance of natural resource protection with children.
- Renewable Energy Development
Working in conjunction with the Chumash Casino operations and facilities managers, the SYCEO is investigating the potential for large scale commercial solar projects at the Casino and alternative/renewable fuel options for our fleet vehicles. The SYCEO is also coordinating a community residential solar program to establish solar energy production on Tribal homes.
- Greening Tribal Operations
In order to establish and maintain the Santa Ynez Chumash as an environmental leader in the community the SYCEO is expanding many of the already impressive “green” practices employed at the Chumash Casino Resort to the Tribal Health Clinic and Tribal Hall. Some of these practices include “green” purchasing, improving energy efficiency, and water conservation. We are also actively pursuing environmental accreditations such as L.E.E.D. (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and Green Business certifications for these buildings.
- Environmental Advisory Committee Formation
The SYCEO realizes that the success of these programs greatly depends on the involvement of the Chumash Tribal community. In order to facilitate this need we are forming an Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) made up of community members that will meet four times a year to discuss environmental concerns and program development in a casual and fun setting. You can learn more about the EAC here. To participate in the EAC please contact Jesse Patterson via email, by phone, or drop by the Environmental Office located in the Tribal Hall. Our door is always open.
The SYCEO is also working with several federal, state, and local agencies and non-profit organizations to ensure the success of these programs. Some of these agencies include the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Bureau of Reclamation, the Community Environmental Council and the Cachuma Operations and Maintenance Board.