Technical Outreach Services for Native American Communities

EPA Grant Number: R828770C002
Subproject: this is subproject number 002 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R828770
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: HSRC (2001) - Midwest Hazardous Substance Research Center
Center Director: Banks, M. Katherine
Title: Technical Outreach Services for Native American Communities
Investigators: Reddi, Lakshmi N.
Institution: Kansas State University
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: October 1, 2001 through September 30, 2006
Project Amount: Refer to main center abstract for funding details.
RFA: Hazardous Substance Research Centers - HSRC (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Substance Research Centers , Tribal Environmental Health Research , Land and Waste Management


Public participation in the environmental decision-making process is complicated by the diverse backgrounds and interests of stakeholders. This is also true when Native American communities are involved, where added levels of cultural, social, and historical differences exist. It is usually difficult for non-community members to build the trust-based relationships necessary to help tribal groups understand and express technical concerns and input. Persons with ties to and an understanding of tribal communities stand a better chance of establishing relationships that lead to meaningful tribal involvement.

The Technical Outreach Services for Native American Communities (TOSNAC) program provides technical assistance to Native Americans dealing with hazardous substance issues. This program is national in scope and coordinated through the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Center at Haskell Indian Nations University. It provides first contact, needs assessment, initial support, and helps arrange long-term technical support by regional TOSC and TAB programs housed at the five EPA Hazardous Substance Research Centers across the country.


During the 2002 federal fiscal year, TOSNAC will support between 10 and 20 tribal communities. A number of these communities will have received TOSC support under an earlier generation of Hazardous Substance Research Centers, and will continue to receive this support from the Midwest HSRC. The communities receiving technical support at any given time will be determined through a needs assessment process that includes input from communities, EPA Regional officials, and the Midwest HSRC outreach advisory committee.

Assistance will be tailored to meet the needs of specific communities, but may include training programs, workshops, and publications for tribes to address issues such as cultural risk assessment, interaction with state and federal agencies, sustainable resource and land use planning, site evaluation, and environmental regulations. While education is the primary focus of the program, it may also be appropriate for TOSNAC to facilitate communication among stakeholders and to offer scientific opinions on specific issues. However, TOSNAC personnel are not stakeholders, or the agents of stakeholders, and are therefore expected to remain neutral in their interactions with communities and other stakeholders. Participation at tribal conferences or at national tribal events, where tribal environmental needs and issues are discussed, is also an important needs assessment and technical support activity.

Supplemental Keywords:

Technical assistance, community support, hazardous waste contamination, tribes., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Health Risk Assessment, Risk Assessments, Hazardous Waste, Ecological Risk Assessment, Ecology and Ecosystems, Hazardous, outreach material, contaminant transport, contaminant dynamics, decision making, human exposure, native americans, technology transfer, stakeholders, human health risk, technical outreach, community support, hazardous substance contamination

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • Final

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R828770    HSRC (2001) - Midwest Hazardous Substance Research Center

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R828770C001 Technical Outreach Services for Communities
    R828770C002 Technical Outreach Services for Native American Communities
    R828770C003 Sustainable Remediation
    R828770C004 Incorporating Natural Attenuation Into Design and Management Strategies For Contaminated Sites
    R828770C005 Metals Removal by Constructed Wetlands
    R828770C006 Adaptation of Subsurface Microbial Biofilm Communities in Response to Chemical Stressors
    R828770C007 Dewatering, Remediation, and Evaluation of Dredged Sediments
    R828770C008 Interaction of Various Plant Species with Microbial PCB-Degraders in Contaminated Soils
    R828770C009 Microbial Indicators of Bioremediation Potential and Success