Angela Waupochick
Keshena, Wisconsin

Angela has been with the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians for almost 9 years. She began her tenure with the Tribe as a GIS specialist, contributing to the Tribe’s first wetland functions mapping project “A Landscape-Scale Wetland Functional Assessment and Identification of Potential Wetland Restoration Sites for the Stockbridge-Munsee Community”. She became further immersed in 2011 when she was hired as a wetland specialist to manage US EPA Wetland Program Development Grant (WPDG) the tribe had been awarded. During the first project period, she completed the Tribe’s wetland program plan. The five-year plan provides a strategy for planning and implementing a sustainable wetland program, communicating the intent and need of the program to EPA, and providing valuable water resource information to the tribal leadership.

In 2015, she became the Tribe’s hydrologist, adding the management of the Tribe’s Clean Water Act Section 106 program to her duties. In 2016, she completed all the necessary planning and drafting of documents, establishing the Tribe’s Nonpoint Source 319 program, while continuing to oversee the wetland program. She is a driving force behind the implementation of stream and wetland restoration activities on the reservation.

Angela developed project plans, secured funding and effectively managed 3 recent projects on tribal lands which supported restoration of both wetlands and streams.

The Miller Creek project involved removal of abandoned rail bed sections and culvert installation that effectively restored hydrologic connectivity to the stream and adjacent wetlands, returned Miller Creek to its original channel, recreated stable habitat for native species and restored wetland functions to adjacent wetlands. The restoration positively impacted a mile of stream and its adjacent wetlands within 7 mile, 52-acre parcel.

The Cemetery Scrape project focused on improvement of wetland function, increased wetland acreage and diversity and manage undesirable species. This site was identified as a potential restoration site through the GIS landscape level functional assessment created previously. Angela and program staff re-assessed the area to confirm hydric soils, historical wetland boundary, species composition and functional assessment. The work included grading of the site, removal of invasive species and planting of tamarack seedlings, all of which were collected from the reservation to keep costs low. The project restored approximately 5 acres of wetland. Most recently, another project underway, located near the tribe’s golf course, is focused at restoring a 4-acre site, impacted from development.

During her tenure, Angela has applied for and successfully received four WPDG’s: Development of Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program for SMC (2013), Advancing SMC Wetland Program through Research, Training and Watershed Planning (2015), Improving Outreach and Program Capacity for the SMC (2016), and Establishing and Implementing a Long-term Monitoring Network to document the hydrology of tribal wetlands pre- and post- Emerald Ash Borer invasion (2018). While also securing several project funding proposals from other agencies.

Angela most recently orchestrated the creation of a web-based story map. The story map showcases successful water-related projects across the reservation and highlights the history of the tribe and their connection to water resources ( Angela partnered with St. Mary’s University of Minnesota GeoSpatial Services on this project to create one of the first tribal water resources story map nationally.

The story map has facilitated communication of all Tribal water resources program goals, informed Tribal members and the public about the importance of wetlands and overall watershed health, facilitated the initiation of partnerships and combined efforts with landowners and local agencies to improve water quality, and allowed for the summation of water quality and wetland data. It has proven to be an extremely effective education and outreach tool.

Angela has presented her work at US EPA Region 5 State and Tribal Wetland Program meetings and participated in a wide range of national webinars, eager to share the story map as well as gather feedback from other states and tribes on ways to enhance this successful tool. As such, Angela's work on the story map has prompted interest from numerous state's and tribes nationally. She has laid the groundwork for other tribes to enhance education and outreach of wetland resources and projects on tribal lands.

Angela is deserving of recognition because she has worked hard to accomplish an incredible amount of work in a relatively short period of time; including development of new programs for the Tribe, planning and managing restoration projects and continually sharing her work at regional and national meetings. Angela has tirelessly devoted her time to securing funding and advancing the Tribe’s wetland program she initiated in 2011.