Around the South Pacific Division

South Pacific Division joined partners from The Port of San Francisco at the historic Ferry Building Jan. 26, to announce release of the draft San Francisco Waterfront Coastal Flood Feasibility Study for a 60-day review and public comment. SPD...
Leaders from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers San Francisco District and East Bay Municipal Utility District signed a milestone project partnership agreement Jan. 26, 2024, paving the way for construction of the first recycled water pipeline to...
Danny Baldwin, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contractor, checks a dozer arm for proper operation at Folsom Dam Dike 1 in Granite Bay, California, November 15, 2023. The USACE Sacramento District is raising the dike up to 3.5 feet in accordance with...
Doug Chitwood, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District lead project engineer, left of center, talks with Col. James Handura, commander of the Corps’ South Pacific Division, right, during a site tour Jan. 18 on the Rio Hondo side of...
Three eagles perched in a tree are seen through a telescope at John Martin Reservoir, Colo., during the annual mid-winter bald eagle survey there, Jan. 12, 2024.

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District Achieves another First for Tribal Program

Albuquerque District Public Affairs
Published Jan. 16, 2012
SANTA CLARA PUEBLO, N.M., -- Maj. Seth Wacker and Robert Isenberg of the Corps’ South Pacific Division’s 59th Forward Engineering Support Team – Advanced (center), visit a freshwater site at Santa Clara Pueblo and meet with Adrian Garcia, a Santa Clara tribal member.

SANTA CLARA PUEBLO, N.M., -- Maj. Seth Wacker and Robert Isenberg of the Corps’ South Pacific Division’s 59th Forward Engineering Support Team – Advanced (center), visit a freshwater site at Santa Clara Pueblo and meet with Adrian Garcia, a Santa Clara tribal member.

In the first meeting of its kind, Robert Isenberg and Maj. Seth Wacker, members of the South Pacific Division’s 59th Forward Engineering Support Team - Advanced (FEST) joined District Tribal Liaison Ron Kneebone in a visit with representatives of two New Mexico Pueblos Dec. 14 and 15. They met with the Pueblo of Santa Clara and the Pueblo de Cochiti to provide the Native American tribes with critically needed engineering support to address local infrastructure issues and to provide FEST members with real-world training.

Like most small, rural communities, Native American tribes deal with numerous infrastructure challenges on a daily basis. The purpose of these initial meetings with the FEST team was to identify the most urgent infrastructure challenges that these tribes face. Santa Clara identified disruptions in provision of fresh water as the highest priority. Pueblo de Cochiti selected wastewater treatment as their most pressing challenge.

The FEST team is part of the Corps’ Field Force Engineering program. Each division has a FEST attached to it. When deployed, the teams work with small, diverse communities who usually have only limited resources. Their normal mission is to provide engineer recommendations to the communities, often in support of Overseas Contingency Operations. They evaluate functions like the sewer, water, environmental impact, academics, trash and technical engineering where they visit.

Working with Native American tribes in the United States is very similar to working with the smaller groups of individuals when the FEST team is deployed. When not deployed, each team maintains continuous training in order to maintain high levels of performance.

The 59th FEST currently has one civil and one environmental engineer, but a team normally has two civil engineers, a mechanical engineer, an electrical engineer, an environmental engineer and a cartographer. A team also includes a Sgt. 1st Class who is the noncommissioned officer in charge.

According to Wacker, the 59th’s full team is expected to be assembled by the time they return to the Albuquerque District in March. At that time, they will meet with both Pueblos again to share their recommendations.

“This initial meeting is a milestone for the Corps; it was the first encounter of the FEST team with any tribal nation,” Kneebone said. “The Assistant Secretary of the Army, other FEST teams throughout the country and other Corps tribal liaisons will be closely monitoring this pilot study.”

According to Kneebone, if this mission proves successful, it may be extended nationwide to involve the entire FEST program.
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News Releases

District Achieves another First for Tribal Program

Albuquerque District Public Affairs
Published Jan. 16, 2012
SANTA CLARA PUEBLO, N.M., -- Maj. Seth Wacker and Robert Isenberg of the Corps’ South Pacific Division’s 59th Forward Engineering Support Team – Advanced (center), visit a freshwater site at Santa Clara Pueblo and meet with Adrian Garcia, a Santa Clara tribal member.

SANTA CLARA PUEBLO, N.M., -- Maj. Seth Wacker and Robert Isenberg of the Corps’ South Pacific Division’s 59th Forward Engineering Support Team – Advanced (center), visit a freshwater site at Santa Clara Pueblo and meet with Adrian Garcia, a Santa Clara tribal member.

In the first meeting of its kind, Robert Isenberg and Maj. Seth Wacker, members of the South Pacific Division’s 59th Forward Engineering Support Team - Advanced (FEST) joined District Tribal Liaison Ron Kneebone in a visit with representatives of two New Mexico Pueblos Dec. 14 and 15. They met with the Pueblo of Santa Clara and the Pueblo de Cochiti to provide the Native American tribes with critically needed engineering support to address local infrastructure issues and to provide FEST members with real-world training.

Like most small, rural communities, Native American tribes deal with numerous infrastructure challenges on a daily basis. The purpose of these initial meetings with the FEST team was to identify the most urgent infrastructure challenges that these tribes face. Santa Clara identified disruptions in provision of fresh water as the highest priority. Pueblo de Cochiti selected wastewater treatment as their most pressing challenge.

The FEST team is part of the Corps’ Field Force Engineering program. Each division has a FEST attached to it. When deployed, the teams work with small, diverse communities who usually have only limited resources. Their normal mission is to provide engineer recommendations to the communities, often in support of Overseas Contingency Operations. They evaluate functions like the sewer, water, environmental impact, academics, trash and technical engineering where they visit.

Working with Native American tribes in the United States is very similar to working with the smaller groups of individuals when the FEST team is deployed. When not deployed, each team maintains continuous training in order to maintain high levels of performance.

The 59th FEST currently has one civil and one environmental engineer, but a team normally has two civil engineers, a mechanical engineer, an electrical engineer, an environmental engineer and a cartographer. A team also includes a Sgt. 1st Class who is the noncommissioned officer in charge.

According to Wacker, the 59th’s full team is expected to be assembled by the time they return to the Albuquerque District in March. At that time, they will meet with both Pueblos again to share their recommendations.

“This initial meeting is a milestone for the Corps; it was the first encounter of the FEST team with any tribal nation,” Kneebone said. “The Assistant Secretary of the Army, other FEST teams throughout the country and other Corps tribal liaisons will be closely monitoring this pilot study.”

According to Kneebone, if this mission proves successful, it may be extended nationwide to involve the entire FEST program.