The Campo Environmental Protection Agency [CEPA] was created by order of the General Council of the Campo Band of Kumeyaay Indians in July of 1990. Originally created to address concerns relating to a commercial development, the scope of CEPA activities has grown to all areas of environmental protection and protection of public health.
CEPA traces its cultural origins to the traditional environmental specialists of Kumeyaay society known as Kwasiiaay. Blending traditional knowledge and modern methodologies have created a sophisticated program of environmental protections that respects and augments contemporary tribal society.
The governing board of CEPA is comprised of three commissioners appointed to staggered three year terms by the Tribal Chairman and ratified by the General Council. Policy is executed through the Chairman, Supervisors and environmental technicians and specialists. Additional staff support is supplied by contractual staff.
The CEPA nursury provides a resource to assist in providing the saplings used in the reforestation program. Primary emphasis is on native oaks, willows, cottonwoods, cypress and pines. Some trees are also available for individuals to use in residential landscaping.
To reverse the effects of years of overgrazing and diminishment of our native trees, CEPA is planting saplings in many areas of the reservation. Fire wood groves of Eucalyptus are planned for the use of tribal members to supply an alternative wood supply for cooking and heating. CEPA also has a program to eradicate tamarix and other exotic invasive species that have taken hold in some parts of the reservation. Trees are more than sources of beauty and shade for the Kumeyaay people. Acorns and pine nuts were once staples of our diets. Increases in diabetes and obesity may be mitigated by making these healthy foods a bigger part of our present diet.
Despite the loss of revenue, the Campo Band voted to stop commercial grazing on tribal lands effective January 1, 1995. The result has been the single most effective move to assist in the recovery of wetland species in riparian areas. Continued support by the Band will allow CEPA to expand its efforts into the 36 miles of perennial and ephemeral streams of the reservation.
The reservation is subjected to emission impacts from the San Diego Metropolitan area, as well as emissions from the industrialization in Mexico along the U.S. border. Internally, mobile sources from automobiles on the highways, dust from dirt roads and future emissions from the Muht Hei landfill are areas under CEPA review. To ensure regional regulation development is equitable in dealing with tribal communities, CEPA monitors and participates in the Western Regional Air Partnership. The WRAP may recommend regulations on southern California that could have tremendous impacts to tribal communities. CEPA will be submitting a program for approval by US EPA to make the tribal agency the lead for all air quality permitting actions. CEPA is also working on getting a monitoring station to track emissions over time to assess the impacts of increasing industrialization in the area.