The Soboba Tribal Environmental Department is committed to protecting, restoring, and enhancing natural resources on the Soboba Reservation for all tribal members past, present, and future.
What We Do
The Environmental Department works to raise awareness of all aspects of the environment. This includes solid waste issues, pollution prevention, water and air quality, conservation measures, household hazardous waste disposal, and many other areas. In addition to community outreach and education efforts such as participating in community events, the department also hosts an annual Tribal Earth Day event and community clean up days. We also conduct surface water quality testing on streams running through the reservation, collect and manage geographical data, and create programs to address environmental concerns.
An easy way to begin learning about the environment around you is to visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency website and use MyEnvironment
Spring Greetings to all of the Tribal Members from your Environmental Department. 2017 has been off to a great start. We’ve had plenty of rain to refresh the soil and as we make our way into spring we would like to take the opportunity to try and introduce more eco-friendly alternatives for upcoming holidays and remind those who have a green-thumb, to start preparing for your gardens. Below you will find information on eco-friendly dying alternatives as well as gardening information specific to our region.
We would also like to announce that the 11th Annual Soboba Tribal Earth Day will be held on April 20th. Please look out for more information as the date approaches. Thank you all for your continued community support.
The Soboba Tribal Environmental Department would like to wish everyone a great spring season and Happy Easter!
Easter arrives on Sunday, April 16th this year and as we prepare to celebrate the holiday, there is a way you can dye your Easter eggs using all natural, non-toxic and environmentally friendly foods and spices that you probably already have at home. Not only is this way safer than using traditional dye kits, but natural dyes produce more shades and brighter colors!
Use the following foods and spices to create naturally colored dyes:
Red – yellow onion skins, fresh beets, red pepper, cranberries, raspberries or chili powder
Orange – paprika, orange peels, carrot tops or carrot juice,
Yellow – turmeric, lemon peels, birch leaves, celery seed or cumin
Green – spinach, parsley
Blue – red cabbage leaves or blueberries
Purple – red wine, beets or blueberries
Brown – walnut shells, black tea or coffee
To dye the eggs:
Boil 5 cups water with 2 Tablespoons of white vinegar. Add the ingredient you want for the color you want and boil for 30 minutes with the lid on. Once the water is lukewarm, place the uncooked eggs in the pot and add additional water if needed to completely cover the eggs. Heat the pot and cook the eggs until they are hardboiled.
The intensity of the color depends on how many of the leaves/skins, etc you put in the water and how long you keep the eggs in the mixture. Once cooled, you can rub the eggs with olive oil to keep them vibrant.
10 SPRING-FRIENDLY PLANTS
The Arbor Day Foundation separates the U.S. into Plant Hardiness Zones that determine which plants are best to grow within our zone based on our temperatures. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, San Jacinto and Hemet fall under Zones 8 and 9. If you’re looking to start a garden or replace the plants you lost through the winter months, the following is a list of plants that are best planted during springtime in the 8 and 9 zones:
1. PANSY Growing conditions: Sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil. The pansy is an annual that gardeners flock to because it's one of the best flowers to plant in spring for early-season containers and window boxes and blooms in a variety of colors.
2. LILAC Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil. Lilac varieties, one of the best flowers to plant in spring, come in all shapes and sizes and smell amazing!
3. GRAPE HYACINTH Growing conditions: Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil. Hyacinths are one of the most beautiful and best flowers to plant in the spring, coming in clusters that look like bunches of grapes.
4. DAFFODIL Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil. The bright, jovial spring flower has a range of shapes and sizes, from trumpet, to small and large-cupped, to double-cupped. Daffodil foliage should be left to die back on its own to rejuvenate the plants for the following year.
5. BLUESTAR Growing conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil. A reward of the bluestar is that it puts on a color show in spring with star-shape, light blue flowers. Then in the fall, the foliage transforms into a bright golden-yellow display.
6. OAKLEAF HYDRANGEA Growing conditions: Part shade and moist, well-drained soil. Big flowers and oversize foliage ensure the oakleaf hydrangea has a unique presence in the garden and blooms in the late spring, offering reliable, vigorous growth.
7. ACOMA IRIS Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil. The Iris comes in just about every color and blooms up to 34 inches tall toward the end of spring.
8. BLOODROOT Growing conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil. This herbaceous spring perennial flower makes its appearance in March, shooting up white flowers that last until late spring. It's one of the best flowers to plant in spring and a good fit for either a shaded or woodland garden.
9. YELLOW TRILLIUM Growing conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil. Yellow trillium is a true spring plant: Once its flowers die back at the season's end in June, the foliage recedes, its marbled leaves and delicate yellow-white blooms are a welcome sight in April.
10. GRAND MAITRE CROCUS Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil. Crocuses are one of the best flowers to plant in spring and they bloom in colors of pink, purple, yellow, or white petals.
Summer is just around the corner…
Enjoy the Ocean and Sand, Embrace the Plastic Bag Ban
Since its California State wide implementation, the plastic bag ban has everyone wondering why plastic bags were so bad in the first place. Did you know that as many as 1 trillion plastic bags are used around the world, and that 380 billion were used right here in the US? If those numbers aren’t staggering enough, less than 5% of those 1 trillion bags are properly recycled. The plastic one-time use bags that were previously distributed by commercial stores before the ban, are made from petroleum based plastics that require millions of barrels of oil to make. Plastic bags were designed to be light weight and easily disposable, which makes convenient shopping for consumers, but extremely difficult for recycling. Plastic bags require a specific protocol to be properly recycled and because the bags are so light they can become entangled in recycling machinery gears if recycled with other average materials.
So what happens to plastic bags if they are not recycled? Plastic bags have many places to call home; like roadsides, landfills, parks, recreational areas, and eventually make their way into lakes, streams, rivers, and finally the ocean. The ocean and marine life are extremely susceptible to the negative effects of plastic bag pollution. Many species of oceanic turtles eat jelly fish as a part of their diet, because of the fluidity and light weighted nature of plastic bags, they can often be confused for a jellyfish. When turtles consume the indigestible bags plastic bags cause blockages in their digestive track which prohibits food from digestion and eventually causes starvation. Studies have shown that more than 50% of studies done on deceased turtles have plastic in their stomachs.
Sea birds and other marine life are also vulnerable to the dangers of plastic bags, they can ingest them or become entangled in bags causing starvation and exhaustion, leading to death. Plastic bag pollution is also hazardous to inland bodies of water, terrestrial habitats, and wildlife. This type of waste finds its way in various public areas such as parks and roadsides where they can potentially become a breeding ground for mosquitos. Since plastic bags are not biodegradable they can collect rain or dew to form very small pools of stagnant water for mosquitos to lay their eggs in. Increased mosquito populations increase pest problems and vector-borne diseases which directly affects people and public health. There are many ways that plastic bag pollution directly affects everyone, did you know that plastic pollution costs millions in taxes and that some urban communities spend over $1 million dollars yearly on litter removal where plastic bags are a growing problem?
Plastic bag bans are designed to target single use bags like the ones found at big chain general and grocery stores. Most bans require that replacement bags should be made from compostable or recycled elements and be made thicker and or heavier so it cannot interfere with industrial recycling processes. Another requirement is that bags must be made to be reused more than a single use, some have been created to be used over 125 times and are washable. Some retailers are also required to charge a fee per replacement bag such as 10 cents a bag. The regulations of different plastic bag bans are all designed to help protect the environment and public health while promoting effective manufacturing practices and reduction in pollution. So the next time you think of the bag ban, remember that the environment and your health benefit tremendously from the reduction of plastic bags. To be an all-star environmentally conscious shopper try out bringing your own reusable bags for every visit.
The Soboba Tribal Environmental Department would like to thank all Tribal members and colleagues for making 2016 a successful year. The department looks forward to the New Year and hopes together we can make it a green 2017!