Mission Statement of The Colorado River Indian Tribes Department of Fish & Game
To protect human life and property by enforcing Tribal laws, deterring criminal activity, ensuring public safety and to conserve, enhance and restore diverse wildlife resources and habitats through protection and management programs and to provide wildlife resources for the enjoyment, appreciation and use by present and future generations.
The first Chief Game Warden was Mr. Luke Patch Sr. back in the early 1950's. He was instrumental in creating the Range Riders, which the primary duty was to control livestock. In later years the Fish & Game Department was then formed under Chief Game Warden Luke Patch. The Natural Resource Code was passed and subsequently other codes were written by authority of the Natural Resource Code. Mr. Patch ended his long-dedicated career and retired in 1981.
Mr. Stanford Ameelyenah was hired by the Tribal Council in 1981 with recommendation from Mr. Patch. Stanford was in office until 1994 when he retired. Mr. David Martinez became Chief Game Warden in 1994 until he retired in 2010. Mr. Carl Harper Jr. was hired as the Chief Game Warden from 2012 until February 14, 2018. Harper Jr.'s sudden passing had an unexpected bearing on the department but operations continued onward with the direction of Acting Chief Game Warden Raymond Aspa. On November 30, 2018 Chief Game Warden Josephine Tahbo was hired and appointed by CRIT Tribal Council.
The department is under the direct supervision of the Tribal Council and receives its primary funding from the Tribal Government. We are poised to carry out any and all assignments ordered by the Tribal Council; one example is by establishing a law enforcement presence in the south west boundary of the reservation and patrolling the Big River areas. The Department enforces Tribal Codes throughout the reservation.
Our department prides itself on the ability to provide a timely service to the Colorado River Indian Reservation area. The following are the many things we do on a daily basis and current projects we are working on.
Wildlife: Natural Resource Code Article I Fish and Game:
Wildlife is an integral part of the ecosystem of the valley and surrounding lands outside of our jurisdiction. Unfortunately, this has a domino effect in which negative impacts to a certain area can have a rippling effect on the whole system. We do our best to monitor that part of the ecosystem in our control. The Natural Resource Code allows us to take immediate action to set regulation and policy regarding wildlife.
Deer: We have received some funding to capture and apply radio collars to deer. We are conducting surveys to monitor their ranging areas. We also perform annual population surveys where deer are counted along survey routes and population densities are estimated.
Fish: We are doing routine monitoring of all species of aquatic wildlife in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We accomplish this by setting nets in the river and backwater of the reservation. All species of fish and aquatic wildlife are recorded.
Technical Assistance: We provide biological evaluations for the Big River Development and other projects that come before the Tribal Council Resource Development.