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U.S. EPA and coalition in Klamath and Trinity River basins join forces to improve watershed conditions

Release Date: 11/10/2005
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, 415-947-4297

SAN FRANCISCO – The Yurok Tribe of northern California, along with Trinity County and the county’s Resource Conservation District, have received an $835,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect and restore the Trinity and Lower Klamath river systems, the agency announced today.

The Yurok Tribe and Trinity County will use this “Targeted Watershed Grant” to restore the rivers’ fisheries. Both river systems once teemed with bountiful runs of salmon and steelhead, which have since declined because of damming of the upper watershed, water diversions and poor land management. The Klamath itself once supported third largest salmon fishery on the West Coast after Columbia and Sacramento rivers.

The grant is one of 12 announced by the U.S. EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water, Benjamin H. Grumbles, during an event along the banks of the Tangipahoa River in Louisiana. In all, this year’s grants total $9 million. The Yurok Tribe, Trinity County and the Trinity County Resource Conservation District – and the 11 other watershed coalitions receiving money today – join 34 others that have been selected over the past two years, sharing nearly $39 million in grants.

“This seed money grows partnerships for healthy watersheds and sustainable infrastructure,” Grumbles said. “These grass-roots projects advance cooperative conservation and environmental innovation across America.”

The coalitions selected have been recognized for setting clear goals and comprehensive watershed plans. The Targeted Watersheds Grant Program fosters community-based initiatives to help protect, preserve and restore local or regional watersheds. The goal of the program is to build on the successes of partners who have completed all of the watershed assessments and are ready to carry out their plans, such as the Yurok Tribe and Trinity County have.

“This grant promises to build on the energy, commitment, experience and enthusiasm of the local, citizen-driven efforts of the Yurok Tribe and Trinity County, and the EPA is proud to contribute to such a partnership,” said Alexis Strauss, director of the Water Division at the EPA’s regional office in San Francisco. “The tribe and the county are taking on some of the most challenging water quality problems – problems such as habitat loss and alteration, sedimentation and nutrient enrichment – and I believe that this project will show real, measurable results.”

Howard McConnell, the Yurok Tribal Chairman, said: “The Yurok Tribe has been working hard with Trinity County and others on Trinity and Klamath river issues. We look forward to this opportunity to get environmental results. We will put this money to good use implementing high priority watershed restoration projects.”

Tom Stokely, Principal Planner for Trinity County, added: “This project exemplifies the cooperation between Trinity County, the Yurok Tribe and Trinity County Resource Conservation District to restore the salmon and steelhead resources that we share and value.”

Specifically, the money will be spent for Terwer Creek, which is in the Lower Klamath Watershed. There the Yurok Tribe will decommission 1.1 miles of roads and rehabilitate 18 upslope areas, stabilize nearly 1,000 feet of highly erodable stream bank and revegetate the bank with 800 trees.

In Indian Creek, which is in the Trinity Watershed, Trinity County will clear vegetation, remove sediment, reshape the river channel, construct a side channel and revegetate to allow for full release of the Trinity dam flows.

And in Hidden Valley, which is in the South Fork Trinity River Watershed, the Trinity County Resource Conservation District will decommission five miles of roads, remove controllable sediment at 33 high-risk steam crossings and reduce road densities by nearly 50 percent in a 3.2 square-mile area.

The projects are based on extensive studies and partnerships, including the 2000 Record of Decision for the Trinity Mainstream Fishery Restoration, the Trinity River Mainstem Fishery Restoration Environmental Impact Statement, the Action Plan for the South Fork Trinity River and the South Fork Trinity River Sediment TMDL.

In addition to the U.S. EPA grant, there is a additional $2,992,000 going towards these projects from private and public sources


More information about this year’s selections or about the Targeted Watershed Grant program is at: