Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority 2017 Environmental Assessment and 2021 Review

Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority

Situation

In 2017, The Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority (PRCI) contracted with Soar Environmental for a Cultural Resources Environmental Assessment as the protocol for their United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funded project. The project proposed to develop multi-family housing units for the Tribe’s lower-income members, which required an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Preservation Act (NEPA). Then in the spring of 2021, the Tribe had changed the development to single-family homes, and HUD required an EA review to determine that the 2017 study was still relevant to the site plan.

Actions

Soar Environmental provided the NEPA EA for the PRCI, ensuring compliance with federal regulations through Phase I and Phase II archaeological surveys. During the 2017 survey, our Registered Professional Archaeologist (RPA) discovered multiple tribal cultural resources not previously recorded. Soar Environmental worked closely with PRCI to assess the project’s potential impacts, determined the Area of Potential Effect, and consulted with the Chukchansi Tribal Historic Preservation Officer before final submittal. In addition, Soar Environmental completed the Section 106 consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and devised mitigation measures to ensure project impacts would not adversely affect the on-site tribal cultural resources.

Results

Soar Environmental finished the 2017 project under budget and a month ahead of schedule, which allowed the PRCI to secure funding for their housing projects. As a result, PRCI’s doubled the amount of low-income housing offered to tribal members. The thorough evaluation ensured the project continued per federal, state, and local environmental regulations. In 2021, the HUD requested EA review found that even though the site plan had changed, the 2017 EA was still valid as no construction had yet taken place. As a result, the PRCI could once again secure the necessary funding for the project.

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