The Gila River Indian Community has been home to a wide variety of wildlife and diverse habitat since time immemorial. The cultural significance and value of various species and their associated habitat is an important part of  the Community.  The rivers and the riparian areas that they supported were a direct connection to the way of life of the Pima (O’odham) and Maricopa (Pee Posh or Piipaash) people. Today, the Wildlife Program (Program) is responsible for managing, and protecting these areas that continue to occur within the Community. The Program provides protection and oversight of these valuable resources by implementing existing laws (Tribal and Federal) and by working closely with other Community Departments and outside agencies when necessary. The Program works closely with the following Departments/Agencies:




Coordination with these entities is critical in that it provides additional resources needed to address the variety of issues that occur when managing wildlife and habitat on such a large scale. As an example, the Community has worked closely with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to establish a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which was finalized in 2008 and establishes a cooperative partnership to develop and maintain the Community’s fish and wildlife resources to ensure they remain intact for future generations of Pima and Maricopa people.


Similarly, the Community is in the process of establishing a formal Statement of Relationship (SOR) with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to enhance the effectiveness of resource and information sharing as needed.  Existing laws/agreements used for management of wildlife and habitat on the Community:



Another important component of the program is providing education and outreach to both Community members and guests of the Community about the wildlife that occur throughout the Community. The Program participates in a variety of yearly programs such as the Annual DEQ Earth Day event and the Winter Bird Count in order to promote and teach Community members and others the importance of preserving and protecting wildlife throughout the Community.