Popular Education Tools

Land Use

        Coachella [Topographical map]. (2009). Retrieved from The California Endowment.

  • A map of the Coachella region that includes roads, streets, parks and the Salton Sea. It also outlines Thermal and Mecca on the map.


ECV-IVAN. (2011). East Coachella Valley IVAN Reports. Retrieved from http://ivan-coachella.org/reports/


  • “A community organization that protects the environment and well-being of residents.  This is the first community-based environmental reporting site in all of California, and it's for you to tell us about environmental problems and environmental damage.”
  • Sponsored by Comite Civico Del Valle, Inc., Cal EPA State Water Resources Control Board, The California Endowment, and Z Data Solutions LLC.
  • Mapping includes search function by date and category of environmental hazard (e.g. abandoned/ illegal dumping, etc.).
  • The website has documented reports of the odor pestilence coming from Western Environmental and cites the incidence as a verified report.


Honoré, M. (2012, March 25). Mecca’s Misery, Chapter 2: Cabazon Band of Mission Indians. The Desert Sun. Retrieved from http://www.mydesert.com/article/20120325/NEWS07/203240347/Mecca-smell-odor-misery-Western-Environmental-operation-Desert-Sun-investigation-iSun

  • The tribe and its chairman, David Roosevelt, report being taken off-guard by the community’s accusations regarding the tribe’s waste treatment facility and its practices.
  • Roosevelt is not convinced Western was the source of the odors after the tribe shut down the plant’s soy-whey and oil-separation ponds in February 2011.
  • An east valley environmental justice task force invited the tribe to attend its monthly meetings, but Roosevelt declined.
  • Roosevelt wants the public to know the tribe does not seek to hide behind its sovereignty.
  • The tribe employs three members for its environmental department, which Roosevelt considers is sufficient.
  • In 2005, the tribe had just wrapped up a $145 million Fantasy Springs expansion, but the casino wasn't making the money needed to support operations; at least 40 employees were laid off. Some speculate this event might have detracted attention to environmental regulations at the waste treatment plant, although Roosevelt said that at the time “there was no reason to think anything was amiss at the recovery park.”


Honoré, M. (2011, November 29). Re: Health hazards similar in San Joaquin, Coachella valleys [article by Desert Sun reporter]. Retrieved from http://sjvleap.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/health-hazards-similar-in-san-joaquin-coachella-valleys/


  • Blog post in SJV Leap highlights the “Land of Risk/ Land of Opportunity” report on environmental and health risks in the San Joaquin Valley; states conditions are similar in the eastern Coachella Valley (e.g. polluted water, toxic air).
  • States no comparable report exists for the eastern Coachella Valley.
  • Academic involvement in region: Ryan Sinclair (Assistant Professor of Environmental Health, Loma Linda University) maps mobile home parks and “health threats from wastewater that isn’t properly disposed”; team of students is assisting him with project; intends to finish project when he receives more funding. His report can be found on the IVAN mapping website: http://www.ivanonline.org/

Madrigal, A. (2008). Sovereignty, Land & Water: Building tribal environmental and cultural programs on the Cahuilla & Twenty-Nine Palms Reservations. Riverside, CA: California Center for Native Nations.

McGovern, D. (1995). The Campo Indian landfill war: The fight for gold in California's garbage. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.


  • McGovern concludes that as long as there is revenue to be earned from the construction of waste management facilities on Indian reservations, and as long as regulation standards remain ambiguous for Indian land, tribes will continue to find value in entering into agreements.
  • McGovern portrays the tribes as “vulnerable” to exploitation by waste management companies, with the benefits of the partnership favoring non-Indians, especially when considering the sites would be largely handling non-Indian-generated waste.
  • Tribes often lack the resources to adequately evaluate the financial, legal, and technical aspects of proposals, as well as the resources to establish and operate a system to meet certain standards. The Campo case is unique in that it established a model other tribes can use, by requiring the developer to subsidize the tribe’s expenses in assessing the proposal and developing a regulatory program (McGovern 251).
  • The complexity of the issue lies in the effect of constructing the management facility or not. By constructing the facility, nearby communities face the risk of landfill leakage which could contaminate the nearby aquifer. On the other hand, the revenue generated by the facility would provide the Campos tribe an escape from poverty (McGovern 255). 
  • Frequently asked questions about the Campo Landfill can be found at http://www.campo-nsn.gov/campolandfill.html


         Middleton, B. R. (2011). Trust in the land: New directions in tribal conservation. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Saldivar, A. (2012, May 4). Children Lay Foundation for Community Garden at Mecca Trailer Park. Coachella Unincorporated. Retrieved from http://coachellaunincorporated.org/2012/05/04/children-lay-foundation-for-community-garden/

  • Kounkuey Design Initiative and Pueblo Unido Community Development Corporation are collaborating on a community garden project in Mecca’s St. Anthony’s Trailer Park. KDI details the project on their website http://www.kounkuey.org/SA_PPS.html#
  • KDI has partnered with the University of California, Davis extension program in Riverside County to provide Nutrition Education classes to residents.
  • The project aims to provide residents with a safe recreation area for adults and children, engage local youth as community leaders, and provide healthy good options through garden crops.


Saldivar, A. (2011, November 17). Private School = Public Transportation Headache for Thermal Student. Coachella Unincorporated. Retrieved from http://coachellaunincorporated.org/2011/11/17/private-school-public-transportation-headache-for-thermal-student.

  • This article presents the personal account of a young Thermal resident and her struggles with public transportation to and from her private school in Palm Desert.
  • The author asserts that there are too few transit stops in the East Valley, and that she would require private means of transportation to and from the nearest bus stop; the nearest bus stop from her home was an hour away on foot.

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