Jeff Feldpausch is the Director of the tribe’s Resource Protection Department. (Emily Russell/KCAW)

The Sitka Tribe of Alaska heard some good news at its February Tribal Council meeting.

The Resource Protection Department and Chris Whitehead were recognized at the Alaska Forum on the Environment last week and I just wanted to congratulate Jeff [Feldpausch] and the department,” Lisa Gassman, the Tribe’s General Manager, told the Council.

The Alaska Forum on the Environment brings together state, federal, and tribal agencies every year.

Chris Whitehead, the Tribe’s Environmental Program Manager, was given the Environmental Excellence Award by the Regional Tribal Operations Committee.

The second award– the Outstanding Achievement Award– went to the Tribe’s Resource Protection Department for its effort to monitor toxic shellfish and harmful algal blooms.

Sitka Tribe operates a laboratory and samples shellfish across the Southeast Alaska Tribal Toxins network, serving fifteen other tribes in the region.

“It was quite an honor,” Jeff Feldpausch, Director of the Resource Protection Department, told the Tribal Council. “A lot of the Southeast tribes nominated us and pushed the [awards] through, so, yeah, it was quite an honor.”

The Tribe continues testing weekly for shellfish toxins and harmful algal blooms. It’s also working on a program to monitor ocean acidification levels.