The Current Magazine Summer 2018 - Page 37

Ecosystem restoration is a complex endeavor. And while the act of changing conditions in a project area for the benefit of species is complicated in and of itself, it becomes exponentially more so when human factors, such as land ownership, traditional use, and recreation are introduced. The Hat Creek Riparian Restoration, Cultural Protection and Recreation Improvement Project is no exception. With partnerships that brought together just the right mix of expertise, the five-year project has been a remarkable success story restoring a reach of stream on the aboriginal lands of the Illmawi Band of the Ajumawi/Atsuge Nation.

California Trout partner, Lomakatsi Restoration Project, is one of those partners capable of lending technical, administrative, programmatic and on-the-ground skills that keep projects rolling, from planning, to implementation, to long-term maintenance. The grassroots ecological restoration nonprofit, based in Ashland, Oregon, takes a three-pronged approach to restoration: Restore ecosystems and the sustainability of communities, cultures and economies. With this guiding credo, the organization works throughout Oregon and Northern California on a variety of large-scale restoration operations, and brings decades of experience working with Native American tribal communities in the region.

In the case of the Hat Creek Project, Lomakatsi joined the effort in 2013, lending its technical capacity to develop the Hat Creek Wild Trout Area Riparian Restoration Planting Plan, Recreation Trail Plan, and Noxious Weed Plan that guided the project. Lomakatsi additionally developed the Riparian Planting Plan that mapped species selection and planting locations for the more than six-thousand native trees, plants and shrubs used in the restoration. Lomakatsi also implemented an innovative approach, reaching out to tribal elders to incorporate traditional ecological knowledge of the Illmawi into the planting plan, ensuring culturally important species were given proper priority in the restoration.

Photo by Mike Wier

Issi Wah Tribal Youth Program Participants on the first day of the program

Photos courtesy of Lomakatsi Restoration Project