Universal Access Action Plan

Education and Outreach

Raise consciousness and awareness of Native American history and experience in the US specifically with respect to the lack of access to drinking water for Tribal communities and the relevant responsibilities and engagement of the federal government.

Effective Deployment of Federal Resources

Call the federal government to action under its federal treaty and trust responsibilities to provide clean water access for Tribes, advocate for the necessary resources, and promote a “whole of government” approach to achieving universal access.

Federal Engagement

Monitor the federal government’s priorities and actions that are (or are not) focused on implementing infrastructure funding for Tribal clean water systems. Pursue strategic and targeted opportunities to highlight, promote, and draw attention to the need for measurable progress on getting clean drinking water to Tribal households and communities.

Support Tribal Capacity Development

Provide Tribes with information to support informed decision making on utilizing available funding for clean water infrastructure and assist them with accessing funding to assess, plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain drinking water systems over the long-term.

Core Team

Heather Tanana, Initiative Lead

Heather Tanana (JD/MPH) is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and an Assistant Research Professor at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. She is Associate Faculty with the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. Heather practiced law for several years with Richards Brandt Miller Nelson before completing a clerkship with U.S. District Court Judge David Nuffer. Her career has been driven by her personal commitment to serving her people. She chairs the board of the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake and volunteers her time on other groups to promote diversity in the legal field, including the Rocky Mineral Law Foundation Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, Association of American Law Schools Section on Indian Nations and Indigenous Peoples, and American Bar Association Native American Resources Committee. Heather’s research interests include exploring the overlay between environmental and health policy, promoting better practices in Indian child welfare, and criminal justice in Indian country.

Amy McCoy, Core Team Member

Amy McCoy, PhD, is a founding partner of AMP Insights, a consulting firm that actively applies strategic research and creative communications to the confounding social, legal, and practical challenges of water scarcity and climate change. Her education and career are grounded in a commitment to working at the crossroads of water, land, culture, and language. Amy serves an Adjunct Research Scientist with the University of Arizona Southwest Center and participates in a variety of ecological and water access research collaborations in the western U.S. and internationally. With 15 years consulting experience, she previously worked in community-based non-profits and was a Captain and competitive athlete in the US Air Force. Amy graduated with a BS in Environmental Biology from Yale University, an MA in Environmental Studies from the University of Southern California, and a PhD in Arid Lands Resource Sciences from the University of Arizona. Amy lives in Colorado Springs, CO. 

Anne Castle, Founder and Advisor

Anne Castle is a Senior Fellow at the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources at the University of Colorado Law School. She is a founding member of the Water Policy Group. From 2009 to 2014, she was Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at the U.S. Department of the Interior where she oversaw water and science policy and had responsibility for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey. While at Interior, Anne spearheaded the WaterSMART program and provided hands-on leadership on Colorado River issues including a ground-breaking agreement between the US and Mexico. She serves on the boards or advisory committees for Colorado Legal Services, the Colorado Water Trust, the Salazar Center for North American Conservation, and Stanford University’s Water in the West program. She was appointed by President Biden as the US Commissioner to the Upper Colorado River Commission.

Matthew McKinney, Core Team Member

Matthew McKinney is the Director of the Center for Natural Resources & Environmental Policy at the University of Montana, where he co-chairs the Natural Resources Conflict Resolution Program. He is co-facilitator of the Water & Tribes Initiative, a partnership among tribal and other leaders in the Colorado River Basin to enhance tribal capacity and support collaborative problem-solving. Matthew has over 30 years of experience as a facilitator, mediator, policy analyst, and educator. He has worked on water, public land, and related issues throughout the American West, and in Canada, Mongolia, Turkey, India, Middle East, Australia, and Europe. In addition to working on place-based and policy-oriented projects, Matt has provided leadership in designing a number of collaborative networks, partnerships, and organizations. When not working, he can be found hiking, biking, fly-fishing, floating, skiing, golfing, and enjoying Montana and the public lands of the American West with his wife, three daughters, and three grandchildren.

T. Daryl Vigil, Core Team Member

Jicarilla Apache Nation (enrolled), Jemez Pueblo, Zia Pueblo, currently serves as the Water Administrator for the Jicarilla Apache Nation. Daryl is Co-facilitator Water & Tribes Initiative and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Colorado River Water Users Association. He previously served as the Chairman of the Colorado River Ten Tribes Partnership and the Interim Executive Director and official spokesperson for the Ten Tribes Partnership. He was also previously a member of the Coordination Committee of the San Juan River Recovery and Restoration Project, the past Secretary/Treasurer of the Colorado River Water Users Association, and the Chairman of the Board of the Jicarilla Apache Utility Authority. Daryl also previously held the position of President/CEO of the Apache Nugget Corporation, the Jicarilla Apache Nation’s Gaming Enterprise.

Garrit Vogesser, Core Team Member

Garrit Voggesser is the Senior Director of Tribal Partnerships and Policy with the National Wildlife Federation. Garrit has worked with Tribes for over two decades, engaging nation-wide on a wide array of wildlife and habitat conservation issues, particularly western water, buffalo conservation, wildlife connectivity, ensuring equity for Tribes in federal natural resource legislation and funding, and providing environmental education and outdoor opportunities for Tribal youth. Garrit received a Ph.D. in American Indian and environmental history from the University of Oklahoma in 2004.


Bidtah Becker, Founder & Advisor

Bidtah Becker has dedicated her career to the Navajo Nation and its natural resources. She has served as Deputy Secretary for Environmental Justice, Tribal Affairs & Border Relations at CalEPA. Prior to this, she was an Associate Attorney for the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority. Bidtah also had the honor of serving as the Director of the Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources, as an appointee of President Begaye and Vice-President Nez, after having served 11 years in the Navajo Nation Department of Justice focusing on water rights and natural resources issues. Continuing her deep interest and passion for water, she serves as an advisor for the Water and Tribes Initiative in the Colorado River Basin and is honored to serve as a Commissioner on the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission and on the Navajo Nation Water Rights Commission. Bidtah is equally passionate about supporting artists and serves as a Trustee for the Institute of American Indian Arts and Culture. Bidtah is a member of the Nation and lives on the Navajo Nation in Fort Defiance with her husband and two school age children.

John Echohawk, Advisor

John Echohawk is the Executive Director of the Native American Rights Fund (NARF). NARF has been involved in nine of the 32 Indian water rights cases that have resulted in settlements. 
Mr. Echohawk has worked with the Department of the Interior, the Western Governors Association, the Western States Water Council, the Conference of Western Attorneys General, the Western Business Roundtable, the National Congress of American Indians and the Joint Federal Tribal Water Funding Task Force to promote favorable Indian water rights settlement policies. He was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the Western Water Policy Review Commission. He served on both the Clinton-Gore and the Obama-Biden DOI transition teams. He serves on the boards of the American Indian Resources Institute, the Association on American Indian Affairs, the Indigenous Language Institute, NRDC, and the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development.
B.A., and J.D., University of NM. Reginald Heber Smith Fellow; Native American Rights Fund; admitted to practice law in Colorado.

Margaret J. Vick, Advisor

Margaret J. Vick has more than 30 years of experience working with and advising Native American Tribes and tribal organizations in the Western United States including her service as General and Special Counsel to the Havasupai Tribe, Special Counsel to the Colorado River Indian Tribes and legal advisor to Inter Tribal Council of Arizona. Dr. Vick served as an embedded advisor for USAID with the Ministry of Energy and Water for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan from 2009 through 2010. Dr. Vick has a doctorate of juridical sciences in the law of international water resources and works with all levels of government on complex water allocation and management issues.  She specializes in cross-jurisdictional negotiations and brings a wide range of expertise and a broad perspective to issues of water use and governance.  She is a frequent speaker on Colorado River issues.

Peter Culp, Advisor

Peter Culp is the managing partner of Culp & Kelly, LLP. He works with a broad base of clients, including foundations and non-governmental organizations, municipalities, industry, agricultural producers, and investors on issues related to water law and policy, environmental law and policy, natural resource issues, and strategic planning and policy engagement, and works to address the growing challenges at the intersection of water and climate change. Peter’s work has included extensive involvement in issues surrounding both the domestic and international management of the Colorado River. Peter has been twice awarded the Partners in Conservation Award by the U.S. Department of Interior, as well as TNC Arizona’s Outstanding Conservation Achievement Award and the Arizona Capitol Times’ Leader of the Year Award in Public Policy. As a nationally-recognized expert in water law and policy, he was inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Environmental Lawyers. Peter was a partner of Squire Patton Boggs LLP.

Mike Hamman, Advisor

Mike A. Hamman, a registered professional engineer in New Mexico, has more than 35 years of engineering and water resources management experience with focus on the upper Rio Grande basin. Mike serves as the CEO and Chief Engineer of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mike was with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as Area Manager with responsibilities over 13 federal water projects from the San Luis Valley in Colorado to Fort Quitman in Texas. Mike served as a Regional Water Planner for the NM Interstate Stream Commission, the Water Utility Director for Santa Fe, and the Water Administrator and head of the Utility Authority for the Jicarilla Apache Nation. At the Nation, he led the development of its drinking water and wastewater system rehabilitation and expansion program to serve the greater Dulce community service area previously managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Mike was raised in Taos & received his BS degree in Civil Engineering from the University of New Mexico. Mike and his family live on a small farm in Corrales, New Mexico.

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