The Office of Legacy Management works closely with Native American and Alaska Native stakeholders that are partners in our commitment to long-term monitoring and surveillance. We routinely collaborate on site inspections, environmental monitoring, document review, natural resources management, community outreach, STEM education, and more.

2022 Highlights

LM has long recognized the importance of tribal partnerships and community input while working in and with tribal communities. In 2022, LM consulted and collaborated with tribes in three primary areas:  

  1. Hosting outreach efforts (with associated agencies) for tribal leaders and community members.  
  2. Conducting long-term surveillance and maintenance activities. 
  3. Distributing sampling results and providing LM-published documents. 

LM worked with tribal governments to manage sites located on or near tribal lands. Site management consultation and collaboration efforts occurred with the Aleuts, Hopi Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, Navajo Nation, Northern Arapaho Tribe, Pueblo of Acoma, Pueblo of Laguna, Pueblo of Zuni, Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Spokane Tribe of Indians, Tohono O’odham Nation, Ute Indian Tribe of Uintah and Ouray, and Zia Pueblo.

Site Management Activities

Aleutian Pribilof
LM transformed its communication strategy with tribes in Alaska for work relating to the Chariot and Amchitka sites. In September, LM hosted a kickoff meeting with the Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska to discuss the scope and financial agreement package with the goal to have everything in place before spring 2023. This sets the stage for the first five-year period of collaboration, consultation, and engagement.

Hopi Tribe
LM and the Hopi Tribe reached a new five-year cooperative agreement to support LM activities at the Tuba City, Arizona, Disposal Site. This agreement provides support for technical reviews, outreach, site visits, meeting participation, and other activities as necessary. 

Hualapai Tribe
LM met with the Hualapai Department of Cultural Resources director in preparation for the inventory of the single mine site on Hualapai land. The inventory activities are tentatively scheduled for fiscal year 2023.

Navajo Nation
LM continues to engage with the Navajo Nation in a variety of ways to meet shared objectives. Engagements include: 

  • Conducting door-to-door outreach.
  • Participating in the Northern Navajo Nation Fair.
  • Hosting STEM activities.
  • Providing site tours
  • Providing learning opportunities about baseline aerial surveys.
  • Communicating environmental-sampling results.
  • Researching water quality certification and groundwater system decommissioning.
  • Maintaining right-of-way agreements and access to LM assets on tribal land to assure safe access for inspection and testing. 

Major objectives include the inventory of mines on Navajo land and the development of a verification and validation (V&V) work plan that specifies mine-inventory procedures for Defense-Related Uranium Mines (DRUM) sites on Navajo land. LM: 

  • Hosted an inventory demonstration and multiple hazardous mine-safeguarding techniques at two Navajo site locations.
  • Addressed the sampling and radiation-measurement plan during recurring working group meetings.
  • Completed interim repairs of an evaporation pond to allow for continued treatment of groundwater while also developing a long-term remedy.

Northern Arapaho Tribe 
LM performed environmental sampling and transmitted an updated environmental risk assessment.

Pueblo of Acoma
LM met with members of the Pueblo of Acoma Tribal Leadership to tour the Bluewater, New Mexico, Disposal Site and discuss the site’s history, geology, groundwater monitoring, uranium contaminate plume, and ongoing project updates.

Pueblo of Laguna
LM worked with Pueblo of Laguna staff to schedule V&V field visits. Staff reviewed environmental compliance steps and conducted National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 consultation with the Pueblo of Laguna’s Tribal Historic Preservation Office. The Section 106 consultation outlines mitigation efforts to preserve cultural and historic resources, if present, during field activities. LM reviewed digital inventory and sampling data collected at three sites and provided a radiation-awareness briefing to the Pueblo of Laguna’s Environmental and Natural Resources Department, presenting radiological contamination control fundamentals, biological effects, radiation dose limits, radiation risks, personnel radiation-monitoring programs, DRUM benchmarks, and survey instrumentation.

Shoshone-Bannock Tribes 
LM worked with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes to provide an updated environmental risk assessment.

Spokane Tribe of Indians
LM met with the Spokane Tribe of Indians to assess resource needs for future DRUM field V&V activities and deliver electronic information concerning DRUM database information, records, references, and maps. LM completed three site visits; performed annual mine inspections; and conducted environmental sampling at the former processing site, the raffinate ponds area, and the uranium mill tailings disposal site. During a site visit, LM confirmed the mines were reclaimed with no physical hazards present and low or no potential for gamma radiation exposure.

Tohono O’odham Nation
LM worked with the Tohono O’odham Tribe about potential V&V activities for mines on tribal land.

Annual Briefing of Activities
LM provided an annual briefing of activities related to the Uranium Leasing Program, in accordance with a 2014 Programmatic Agreement. Parties included the Pueblo of Isleta, Pueblo of Jemez, Pueblo of Pojoaque, Pueblo of San Felipe, Pueblo of Santa Clara, Pueblo of Taos, Pueblo of Zuni, Southern Ute, and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.

LM worked with the Hualapai Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe of Uintah and Ouray, Navajo Nation, Pueblo of Zia, and Pueblo of Zuni to request approval to inventory and sample uranium mines. The DRUM team worked with the Pueblo of Laguna, Navajo Nation, Spokane Tribe of Indians, and Tohono O’odham Nation to develop a V&V work plan.

STEM Outreach
LM hosted a STEM workshop for environmental science students from Navajo Technical University, participated in a STEM-sation event at Chinle High School on the Navajo Nation, and provided a federal partners presentation on STEM with LM to the Navajo Nation. 

Ongoing Collaboration

Current LM Tribal Sites Map

Acoma and Laguna Pueblos

The Acoma and Laguna Pueblos are southeast of LM’s Bluewater, New Mexico, Disposal Site in Cibola County, near the town of Grants.

Uranium-ore processing at the site in the 1950s through 1970s produced radioactive tailings. Water in the tailings slurry seeped into the underlying alluvial and bedrock aquifers, contaminating the groundwater. Site reclamation began in 1991, and by 1995, all mill tailings, contaminated soils, demolished mill structures, and contaminated vicinity property materials were encapsulated in on-site disposal areas.

LM’s groundwater monitoring demonstrates that contaminated groundwater has migrated off the Bluewater site; this migration occurred during the past milling activities. Evaluation of groundwater data for the site and downgradient of the site indicates that no drinking water supply wells have contaminant concentrations above drinking water standards and that the site-derived contamination does not pose a current or future risk for community water systems in the Grants-Bluewater valley. LM continues to evaluate off-site contamination to ensure safety of human health and the environment.

LM collaborates with both pueblos, and tribal representatives of both have toured the site for an overview of the disposal cell, site hydrogeology, and groundwater-contamination concerns.

Bluewater, New Mexico, Disposal Site

Bluewater, New Mexico, Disposal Site.

Alaska Natives

LM oversees two sites in Alaska, one on Amchitka Island at the western end of the Aleutian chain, the other at Chariot in northwest Alaska. LM collaborates closely with Alaska Natives to provide long-term stewardship of both sites.


Currently uninhabited, Amchitka Island is an ancestral home of the Aleuts, whose nearest community today lies about 170 miles to the east on Adak Island. The Aleuts occupied Amchitka intermittently, beginning about 4,000 years ago through the late 1700s. At the beginning of World War II, Amchitka contained only an abandoned Russian fishing village.

From 1965 to 1971, the U.S. government conducted three underground nuclear tests on Amchitka. In 2001, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) was assigned responsibility for properties related to these tests, referred to collectively as the Amchitka, Alaska, Site. The site is outside the island’s designated wilderness area and is not near potential Alaskan Native tribal claims.

LM performs terrestrial sampling on the island and marine sampling in the ocean waters surrounding Amchitka and Adak islands. 

In addition, LM participates annually in a focus session at the Alaska Forum on the Environment to discuss long-term surveillance and monitoring activities at the Amchitka site. Other participants include the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Amchitka, Alaska, Site

Amchitka, Alaska, Site

Amchitka, Alaska, Site.


LM’s Chariot, Alaska, Site is located in the Ogoturuk Valley in the Cape Thompson region of northwest Alaska, bounded on the southwest by the Chukchi Sea. The closest populated areas are the Inupiaq villages of Point Hope, 32 miles northwest of the site, and Kivalina, 41 miles southeast.

In 1962, the U.S. Geological Survey conducted a radioactive tracer experiment in test plots at the Chariot site. Soil contaminated with radioactive elements from an experimental nuclear detonation at the Nevada Test Site (now called the Nevada National Security Site) was brought to the Chariot site for use in the test plots.

In consultation with area residents and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, DOE decided in 1993 that removal of all remaining radiologically contaminated material at the site was the most effective means of assuring residents that the site presented no risk to human health or the environment. The State of Alaska issued a clean-closure status of the site following the 1993 remediation, and clean-closure with institutional controls following a 2014 cleanup of diesel-contaminated soils from former boreholes at the site.

LM collaborates with Alaska Natives for long-term management of the Chariot site.

Chariot, Alaska, Site

Chariot, Alaska, Site

Chariot, Alaska, Site.

Jicarilla Apache

LM’s Gasbuggy site, located in Carson National Forest in northwestern New Mexico, borders the Jicarilla Apache Nation.

Project Gasbuggy was part of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Plowshare Program, which sought to find peaceful uses for nuclear power. In 1967, AEC detonated a nuclear device at 4,227 feet below the ground surface to fracture the rock and increase natural gas flow. Most of the radionuclides from that detonation were contained in the solidified molten rock in the cavity and no radiation was released at the surface. AEC decommissioned and demobilized the site in 1978, and the structures and equipment used for the test were decontaminated and removed. Cleanup was complete by 2004. Today, the U.S. Forest Service has returned the land to its pre-Gasbuggy uses of recreation and livestock grazing.

EPA began monitoring groundwater and surface water annually at Gasbuggy beginning in 1972. The sampling locations — located in Carson National Forest, the Jicarilla Apache Reservation, and on private property — consisted of springs, ponds, surface water drainages, ranch wells, and livestock watering wells near the site. Since 2008, DOE has overseen this hydrologic monitoring. In 2009, annual monitoring was reduced to once every five years since no Gasbuggy-related contamination had been detected.

If new oil and gas wells are drilled near Gasbuggy, LM samples the gas to ensure no contaminants from the nuclear test are detected.

Gasbuggy, New Mexico, Site

Gasbuggy, New Mexico, Site

Gasbuggy, New Mexico, Site.

Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe

LM provides long-term stewardship to four former uranium mill sites located on the Navajo Nation: Shiprock, New Mexico; Tuba City, Arizona; Mexican Hat, Utah; and Monument Valley, Utah, sites. The Tuba City site is near Hopi tribal lands.

Through a cooperative agreement, LM coordinates closely with the Navajo Nation Abandoned Mine Lands/Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (AML/UMTRA) Department and Hopi Office of Mining and Mineral Resources to inform tribal government leadership and communities about LM activities. With the agreement, LM provides opportunities for ongoing, two-way communication regarding site inspections, document review, and community outreach initiatives. LM actively seeks, considers, and responds to the views of its tribal stakeholders, to provide input in LM’s decision-making process. 

Outreach Efforts

As part of its outreach efforts, LM attends the Navajo Nation’s yearly tribal fairs and other community events to share information. LM also provides in-person and written updates to Chapter House leadership and elected officials. LM engages with the community and strengthens tribal and federal partnerships for protecting human health and the environment. 

LM is committed to supporting science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in tribal communities. STEM with LM brings to life the awe-inspiring and world-changing advancements and events of the nuclear age, subsequent cleanup, and ecological transformations of LM sites. Educational outreach events with local schools introduce students to topics such as radon, radiation, and the legacy of uranium mining and milling. STEM with LM scientists and engineers actively support science education at the Navajo Nation’s high school and colleges by teaching, presenting seminars, and mentoring students in fieldwork activities. LM serves as a committee member alongside tribal and Navajo Nation corporations to organize multiple STEM events throughout high schools on the Navajo Nation each year.   LM attends the American Indian Science and Engineering Society annual conference and actively participates in the career fair and STEM event day.  

Community Outreach Network

In 2007, Congress issued a directive for multiple federal agencies and various Navajo agencies to create a Five-Year Plan (2008-2013) to address uranium contamination within the Navajo Nation. The federal agencies involved in this effort include the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Department of the Interior.  The tribal entities include the Office of the Navajo Nation President and Vice President, Navajo Nation AML/UMTRA Department, Navajo Nation Department of Health, Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency, and Navajo Nation Department of Justice.

In 2014, the same federal collaboration updated the Five-Year Plan (2014-2018) to build on the work completed in the first five years and adjusted the document based on information gained during this time. EPA, the lead agency on the project, published the 10-Year Plan (2019-2029) was published in February 2021. It builds on the work of the two previous Five-Year Plans and identifies the next steps in addressing the human health and environmental risks associated with the legacy of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation.

The Navajo Nation Outreach Office in Window Rock, Arizona, is focused on coordinating and supporting the multi-agency effort through community outreach, joint agency and tribal planning, and information sharing. The outreach office is staffed by three full time employees and is open Monday through Friday. Staff engage in one-on-one outreach within the four former uranium processing mill site communities, Navajo Nation fairs and STEM events through out the Navajo Nation and the Hopi reservation. The Outreach Offices houses a public use computer and printer from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for community members to access the Abandoned Uranium Mine (AUM) documents.  

More information:

Video Url
Legacy Management on Navajo Nation Sites
Video courtesy of the Department of Energy

Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes

The Riverton, Wyoming, Processing Site is in Fremont County within the boundaries of the Wind River Indian Reservation (Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes).

The site is the location of a former uranium- and vanadium-ore processing mill that operated from 1958 to 1963. These milling operations produced radioactive tailings, along with uranium, radium, and thorium contamination in soils and construction debris. DOE completed surface remediation of the Riverton site in 1989.

The past milling operations at the Riverton site resulted in surface and groundwater contamination. A perpetual deed restriction for the former mill site property restricts well drilling and land development. DOE funded an alternate drinking water supply system in 1998 to provide potable water to residents within a specified boundary around the site. Tribal ordinance places restrictions on well installation, prohibits surface impoundments, and authorizes access to inspect and sample new wells within this boundary.

In 2017, LM finalized a cooperative agreement with the Northern Arapaho Tribe to collaborate on an environmental monitoring program at the site and facilitate outreach to area residents and other stakeholders.

Riverton, Wyoming, Processing Site

Riverton, Wyoming, Processing Site

Riverton, Wyoming, Processing Site.

Spokane Tribe of Indians

LM’s Sherwood site, located about 35 miles northwest of Spokane, Washington, lies within the Spokane Indian Reservation.

Milling operations began in 1978, when Western Nuclear used an acid-leach process to extract uranium from ore hauled from an open pit mine a half mile from the mill. The operations produced radioactive mill tailings. Along with contaminated mill site soils, buildings, and debris, these tailings were encapsulated in an engineered disposal cell constructed east of the former mill site.

Following completion and approval of the remediation by the Washington State Department of Health, the site was transferred to the Office of Legacy Management in 2001 for long-term surveillance and management.

LM conducts annual groundwater monitoring at the site and shares results with the Spokane Tribe. No contamination has been detected in groundwater downgradient of the disposal cell. Tribal representatives collaborate with LM on annual site inspections, noxious weed control, and management of forest resources.

Sherwood, Washington, Disposal Site

 Sherwood, Washington, Disposal Site

Sherwood, Washington, Disposal Site.

National Working Groups

We also work closely with the State and Tribal Government Working Group (STGWG), part of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Made up of states and Native American tribes, STGWG engages directly with DOE on issues related to the cleanup of the nuclear weapons complex. STGWG representatives provide recommendations to ensure that operation and cleanup activities are in compliance with all federal and state laws and regulations and tribal rights, including those retained by treaty, conferred by statute, and protected by the federal trust responsibility. STGWG'S Closure for the Seventh Generation, 2017 Edition report provides updated information on long-term stewardship activities across DOE sites.