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Yurok tribe gets funding for project

By Cornelia de Bruin, Triplicate  May 23, 2007

The Yurok tribe will receive $98,263 to pay for a stream bank and riparian restoration project along Lower Terwer Creek.

The money is part of $1.68 million in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funds being released for habitat improvement projects along reservations' wildlife corridor lands.

"We have had the program for years, but it used to be run out of our Portland, Ore. office," Tribal Grant Programs Coordinator Don Straight said. "We try to help the tribes accomplish some of their goals goals that fall into the Fish and Wildlife department's field of interest."

The Yuroks plan to restore habitat and plant varieties and to stabilize Lower Terwer Creek's channel by using willow baffles and mattresses to correct silty water, install tree planting islands, and plant native trees on about 35 acres of flood prone surfaces.

The project will use other plantings to stabilize about 3,250 feet of eroding stream bank.

The plants used are grown at a native tree nursery at the tribal office that also receives operational funds through the grant.

In addition, the project will use plantings to reclaim about 15 acres of abandoned cattle pastures that adjoin the creek.

Yurok tribal members and employees will learn how to stabilize and restore, and glean heavy equipment skills via hands-on work, Straight said.

As the project progresses, the tribe will work with private landowners downstream in the hope of persuading them to take part in similar efforts.

The project will benefit Chinook and coho salmon both federal- and state-listed threatened species steelhead trout, sea-run cutthroat trout and Pacific lamprey, along with migratory songbirds.

The tribe is partnering with Green Diamond Resource Company as well as the state Department of Fish and Game in this restoration effort.

Tribes' portions of the funding package include allocations to eight California and Nevada tribes. A total of 15 projects submitted to Fish and Wildlife in Sacramento were ranked to determine which would receive funding.

They were scored by a committee that included reps of Fish and Wildlife and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Dan Gale, senior fisheries biologist for the Yurok tribe, submitted the Terwer Creek project.

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