The Yurok Tribe's land base, long confined to a narrow strip to either side of the lower Klamath River, will more than double in size now with a just-completed acquisition of 22,237 acres from Green Diamond Resource Company.
The tribe announced the acquisition in a news release this afternoon, noting that it will allow for restoration of river, forest and cultural resources.
The project will protect habitat for seven aquatic species, including: coho salmon, steelhead trout, Chinook salmon, coastal cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, southern torrent salamander, and tailed frog, as called for in Green Diamond's Aquatic Habitat Conservation Plan approved several years ago. The Tribe's approach to forestry will promote old-growth habitat and forest diversity that will benefit a number of imperiled species, including marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl, fisher, Humboldt marten and mardon skipper.
The acquisition was a joint effort between the tribe, the timber company, the State Water Resources Control Board -- which gave loaned the tribe $18.75 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to buy the land -- and the Western Rivers Conservancy, which also provided financing. Said Yurok Tribal Chairman Thomas O'Rourke:
"The Tribe has long sought the return of ancestral land to create a salmon sanctuary and restore tribal cultural management practices, which benefit fish, wildlife and the ecosystem as a whole. ... [The Tribe] looks forward to managing these lands in the way they were meant to be, which is for all species."