For Immediate Release
County seeks public input as Koi Tribe prepares environmental assessment for casino site
SANTA ROSA, CA | June 08, 2022
The County of Sonoma is seeking the public’s input to help frame its response to plans by the Koi Nation of Northern California for a Tribal Environmental Impact Report concerning the proposed Koi Nation Shiloh Resort and Casino Project off Shiloh Road near Windsor. The response is to a Notice of Preparation that the Koi Nation and U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs released on May 27. Comments are due to the Bureau of Indian Affairs by June 27. The County of Sonoma will incorporate public comments received by June 20 as part of its response to the Notice of Preparation.
According to the Notice of Preparation, which also announced the commencement of a public sector scoping process under the National Environmental Policy Act, interested parties may submit comments identifying potential environmental issues, concerns, reasonable mitigation measures, and alternatives to be considered in an environmental assessment. The notice anticipates that if land goes into trust and if the State of California enters into a gaming compact with the tribe, then the future Compact would require a tribal environmental report for the tribe’s casino development. As a result, the Koi Nation will prospectively prepare a tribal Environmental Impact Report in conjunction with the federal government’s preparation of the Environmental Assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act. The notice explains that this joint preparation is “to reduce paperwork and eliminate redundancy.”
The Draft Environmental Assessment/Tribal Environmental Impact Report is anticipated to be released in the fall of 2022. The County of Sonoma is committed to participating in the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ environmental review process and, although the county is not the decision maker when it comes to the tribe’s casino project, it will provide opportunities for public engagement on this issue to supplement the required federal process.
The Koi Nation submitted an application to the Bureau of Indian Affairs on Sept. 15, 2021 requesting that the Secretary of the Interior take 68.6 acres of fee land into trust in unincorporated Sonoma County. All five federally recognized Sonoma County tribes and the County of Sonoma itself, have written letters in opposition or released resolutions in opposition to the Koi Nation’s application to take lands into trust in Sonoma County, where they have no ancestral ties.
The project site is located outside of, but adjacent to, the Town of Windsor. The project site is bordered by Shiloh Road and residential parcels to the north, Old Redwood Highway and residential parcels to the west, and agricultural and commercial parcels in unincorporated Sonoma County to the south and east. Existing land uses on the project site consist of a residence and operating vineyard. Pruitt Creek bisects the central portion of the site.
According to the Notice of Preparation, the proposed project includes the development of a casino, hotel, conference and event center, restaurant and bars, and supporting parking and infrastructure within the project site.
The Koi Nation has indicated in its application that the Bureau of Indian Affair’s acquisition of the project site for gaming purposes will establish the first trust property for the Koi Nation on its restored lands in accordance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and its economic land base in order to promote the general welfare of the Koi Nation and its members, raise governmental revenues, and create jobs for its members.
The environmental report will evaluate a range of reasonable alternatives. Possible alternatives under consideration include:
- The proposed project as described above;
- A reduced intensity alternative;
- A non-gaming alternative; and
- A no-action alternative.
The range of alternatives to be addressed in the environmental report may be expanded or reduced during the scoping process.
Comments on this Notice of Preparation and the public scoping process may be sent directly to the Bureau of Indian Affairs:
Bureau of Indian Affairs, Pacific Region
Attn: Amy Dutschke, Regional Director
2800 Cottage Way
Sacramento, CA 95825
Comments may also be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments received by the County of Sonoma by June 20 will be incorporated into the county’s response to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Comments may be sent to email@example.com.
County Administrator's Office