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The Yurok Tribal Council hereby finds and declares that:

(a) Since time immemorial, the Klamath River, its tributary streams, its estuary, the streambeds thereof, the riparian areas adjacent thereto and the Pacific Ocean, have been natural resources of the most profound significance to the Tribe. Yurok people have always used these resources for cultural, ceremonial, religious, fishery, subsistence, residential and other purposes fundamental to the Tribe’s way of life.

(b) The people of the Yurok Tribe have a primary interest in the protection, control, and conservation of the water resources which flow into and through the Yurok Reservation, and the quality of such waters must be protected to insure the health, economic, aesthetic, and cultural well-being of the Yurok People.

(c) Various sites along the Klamath River are or may be contaminated with toxic or hazardous materials as a result of previous land use activities, many of which were authorized without adequate review of impacts or without adequate disclosure to the Tribe of the potential for such impacts, and the contamination at these sites may, if not properly contained and abated, pose significant risks to water quality and public health.

(d) The Tribal Council hereby finds that wellhead protection is a proactive approach to managing public ground water supplies and surface water intake, focusing on preventing contaminants from entering recharge areas to public water supply wells. Protecting wellheads and surface water intakes involves: knowing the location and boundaries of the recharge area; identifying any potential sources of contamination in the recharge area; controlling those potential sources to prevent the release of contaminants; and, controlling future land use in the recharge area to prevent activities which are known to threaten ground water and surface water quality.

(e) The Yurok Tribe possesses inherent sovereign authority to regulate pollution discharges that affect fundamental Tribal interests, including the economic, subsistence, public health, welfare, and safety of the Yurok Tribe and its members.

(f) Regulation or elimination of all discharges of pollutants into the waters of the Yurok Reservation is necessary in order to maintain the quality of those waters for their beneficial uses by members of the Yurok Tribe and residents of the Reservation.

(g) Such protection of Yurok waters is not adequately provided for under existing legislation, and such protection will be furthered by the passage, adoption, and implementation of this chapter. [Ord. 73 § 4002, amended, 5/21/2020.]