Respectful of Culture

SMA has extensive experience with the cultural-specific aspects of any project located on Native American lands and has the proven ability to facilitate the progress of such projects. Since 1985, SMA has worked with numerous Nations and Tribes. Projects have included planning, design, surveying, local community outreach and coordination, funding acquisition assistance and regulatory agency interaction for a variety of small and large-scale projects. SMA takes pride in our ability to consistently complete these projects on time and within budget.

Funding Procurement Specialists

SMA has successfully assisted numerous tribal entities in securing planning, design, and construction funding for a variety of infrastructure projects. Funding helps tribal communities improve their water, wastewater, facility, transportation infrastructure and renewable energy. Our understanding of the various funding sources and requirements enables us to strategically phase activities to best leverage the various funding programs so projects have financial support from the planning through construction stages. Funding sources include:

  • Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
  • Water Trust Board
  • State Drinking Water Revolving Fund
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG)
  • Tribal Infrastructure Fund (TIF)
  • New Mexico Finance Authority (NMFA) Grants and Loans (including Community Planning Grants)
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Experience Coordinating with Local, State and Federal Agencies

SMA is well versed in navigating the unique cultural and jurisdictional issues encountered on Native American lands. SMA has extensive experience with the culturally specific aspects of projects located on Native American lands and has the proven ability to facilitate project success. This success includes excellent working relationships with tribal agency personnel, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Indian Health Services.

Through our experience working on tribal lands, SMA has learned and developed a solid understanding of regulatory imposed specifically on tribes and tribal trust/allotted lands. This makes our project teams uniquely positioned to assist with projects that involve right-of-way and easement processes, such as utility and roadways.

Comprehensive In-House Services

SMA’s team includes professional engineers, professional surveyors, professional geologists and hydrogeologists, soil scientists, surveyors, certified floodplain managers, environmental professionals, GIS/CAD operators, construction observers and support staff. Our professionals do more than designing the spaces where we work and live. SMA designs and improves spaces to open new opportunities and build more sustainable communities. Our range of services include:

  • Infrastructure Planning
  • Utility Planning, Design and Management
  • Permitting, Certifications and Agency Coordination
  • Surveying / GIS / Mapping
  • Environmental Documentation (ER/EA)
  • Asset Management Planning
  • Long Range Transportation Planning
  • Roadway safety Planning
  • Utility Modeling
  • Funding Acquisition Assistance
  • Bid and Construction Phase Administration
  • Utility Engineering
  • SCADA / IoT Integration
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Regionalization Planning

Cutter Lateral / Eastern Navajo Water Pipeline
Phases 2, 3, and 4

SMA designed a regional water system to serve 10,000+ people in more than ten rural communities across four counties required a fasttrack design with concurrent tracks for design, funding, and rights-ofway acquisition. The $870M project provides San Juan River water to communities in Northwest New Mexico and is an integral component of the Navajo Nation’s water development strategy and the San Juan River Settlement Agreement between the Navajo Nation and the State of New Mexico. Work included the design of water facilities consisting of approximately 43 miles of eight-inch to 24-inch water pipeline, three storage tanks, three booster pump stations, four chlorination facilities and SCADA facilities consisting of one new 120-foot tower, new microwave transceiver pair and 900 MHz MAS radio with 25+ remote telemetry units.

Also included was the development of a regional water development concept, preliminary engineering reports (used to obtain $9M in USDA grant funding), surveying, cultural resource inventory, biological inventory, paleontological inventory, environmental assessment, rights-of-way acquisition from Navajo Nation, BIA, BLM, State Land Office and private landowners, geotechnical investigations, subsurface rock investigations, SCADA radio path reliability analyses, chlorine decay kinetic study, soil corrosivity investigation, hydroexcavation of existing petroleum pipelines, hydraulic analyses, structural design, electrical design, transients analysis, representation of owner in legislative process.

Pueblo of Isleta Infrastructure Upgrades

This project included design of water, wastewater, and fiber optics infrastructure upgrades to provide for ten planned new facilities in the Enterprise Zone and area of the new elementary school. These new facilities include an event center, museum, golf course club house banquet facility, office building, public safety complex, sports complex, truck stop / convenience store, light rail visitor center, lakes store / RV park, and a music park. Existing facilities incorporated in the project included a convenience store, elementary school, and wastewater treatment plant.

Design included 4,500 linear feet of gravity sewer; 5,700 linear feet of wastewater force main; four sewer lift stations; road and railroad under-crossings, wide range of wastewater flows due to large-scale periodic public events; tie-in new and existing facilities. Design also included permitting, 13,000 linear feet of water line, 1.5-million-gallon water storage, four sewer lift stations, 13,000 linear feet of fiber optic conduit and road and drainage channel crossings.

The scope of work included site survey, geotechnical investigation, study phase report for collection system estimated flows and routing

Let's Work Together

SMA employees include members of the Pueblos of Zuni, the Navajo Nation and the Cherokee Nation. Of the total number of SMA employees, 8% are of documented tribal heritage. These employees are engineers, interns, project administrators, and marketing personnel. SMA has also informally mentored new Native American-owned businesses, not as part of any governmental program, but because of our deep commitment to supporting the Native American community. We believe in providing individuals and companies to expand their business capabilities and therefore contribute more fully to the advancement of Native American enterprise.

We look forward to assisting you with your next engineering, environmental or geomatics project. For more information about our services to Tribal entities, email us at