For the past decade the Yurok Tribe and Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC) have been working together to acquire over 47,000 acres of timberland along the lower Klamath River. The purpose of this acquisition is to return Yurok ancestral lands to Yurok ownership, to protect the Blue Creek watershed and its cultural and ecological importance by creating a Salmon Sanctuary, and to provide economic and employment opportunities to Yurok Tribe members by establishing the Yurok Community Forest. Blue Creek is an important cold-water tributary to the Klamath River and is critical climate refugia for Chinook, coho and steelhead as well as northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets and Humboldt marten. To protect and enhance the phenomenal cultural and natural resources associated with the Blue Creek watershed and the lower Klamath River, the Yurok Tribe and WRC partnered with the Humboldt County Resource Conservation District to submit a successful CAL FIRE Forest Health Grant application (Improving Forest Health in the Yurok Community Forest and Salmon Sanctuary, Grant Agreement Number 8GG19607) to implement forest heath and fuels reduction treatments on approximately 1,400 acres of land owned by the Yurok Tribe and Western Rivers Conservancy.
Through this project, the Yurok Tribe, WRC and HCRCD will work together to implement forest management activities that reduce fuel loads, retain the healthiest and largest trees, increase the potential to return cultural burning to the landscape, improve wildlife habitat and create employment opportunities for Yurok Tribe members. Activities include improving emergency access and watershed health by repairing the Blue Creek Bridge, implementing a 135 Blue Creek Fuel Break, and fuels reduction treatments on 2,000 acres of Yurok land in the Pecwan Creek watershed.
The Improving Forest Health in the Yurok Community Forest and Salmon Sanctuary project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment– particularly in disadvantaged communities. The Cap-and-Trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling, and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are located within and benefiting residents of disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and low-income households across California. For more information, visit the California Climate Investments website at: www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov.