INDIO – Given the troubling state of air quality in the Coachella Valley, the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians and Cabazon Band of Mission Indians partnered to form a Coachella Valley Tribal Air-Monitoring Cooperative.

The cooperative was born out of need. According to the Air Quality Management District (AQMD), the Coachella Valley experiences some of the poorest air quality in the nation due to major transportation corridors (Interstate 10, Highway 86,), proximity to major metropolitan areas (the southern California Inland Empire), and natural sources of air pollution from desert dust and varying water levels of the Salton Sea.

They recently held an opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting for the air-monitoring station located near Eagle Falls Golf Course in Indio, according to a news release.

The air-monitoring station is the first of its kind in the Coachella Valley and uses the latest technology to measure air quality, more specifically particulate matter and ozone levels.

The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians sought grant funding to build an air-monitoring program and track the levels of dust in the air over time.

Supporters of the Air-Monitoring Cooperative included Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, Torres Martinez Band of Desert Cahuilla Indians, Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians, National Tribal Air Association, Tribal Air Monitoring Support Center, Salton Sea Authority, South Coast AQMD, City of Coachella, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bureau of Indian Affairs.

With this support, The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians was successfully awarded a Community Air Grant from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) under the Assembly Bill 617 program. CARB’s AB 617 program is aimed at air resource protection through a new community-focused action framework. The goal of  the program is to educate people about the air they breathe.

Data collected at the new air-monitoring station will soon be made available to the public on the Tribe’s website. You may access it by clicking here.

For more information, contact the Twenty-Nine Palms Tribal Environmental Protection Agency click here.

Photo caption: Jose Uribe, Tribal Air Technician, demonstrates the Teledyne API T640x Particulate Matter Analyzer.

Image Sources

  • Jose Uribe: Cord Media