PG&E Awards Karuk Tribe $100,000 Grant for ‘Climate Change Resilience Planning’

This is a press release from the Karuk Tribe:

Chairman Attebery receiving award from PGE’s Corporate Sustainability, Climate Resilience Chief Kit Batten

Blue Lake, CA –[On September 27] Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) [awarded] the Karuk Tribe $100,000 to develop a plan for addressing infrastructure needs and community protections necessary for the implementation of prescribed burns in eastern Humboldt County.  The award will be presented to Karuk Chairman Russell ‘Buster’ Attebery at the Blue Lake Casino’s Sapphire Place Event Center located at 428 Chartin Road, Blue Lake, CA 95525 at 1 pm. The Karuk Tribe is one of two recipients of PG&E’s Its Better Together Resilient Communities grants – a program created to support local initiatives to build greater climate resilience throughout Northern and Central California. The

“We have used fire as a management tool since the beginning of time,” notes Karuk Ecocultural Revitalization Director Bill Tripp, “but in recent decades, the Forest Service has suppressed nearly all fire activity with disastrous results. Now our traditional knowledge is informing a new approach to forest management that uses fire to reduce fuel loads, improve watershed health, and reduce the risk of catastrophic fires. We welcome PG&E as a partner in this effort.”

The goals of the Karuk project include

•       Identifying areas for prescribed burns as part of the Tribe’s Climate Adaptation Plan.

•       Promoting community resilience to wildfires and climate change at both regional and community levels.

•       Strengthening the region’s capacity to respond to wildfires in support of local communities in the Mid-Klamath River Basin.

This year’s fire season highlights the need for such programs as well as the value of prescribed fire projects like those the Karuk advocate.

The current fires in the Klamath Basin illustrate the need and benefits of such programs. The Prescott fire on the Klamath National Forest burned in an area where fire has been excluded by fire suppression activities for a longer period of time and the result has been a dangerous fire impossible to manage, growing as much as 9,046 acres in a single day. By contrast, the Fork, Blue, Elk, Little Chimney, Dill and Dillon fires on Six Rivers National Forest started at a time and place closely resembling prescribed burning conditions. This resulted in reduced fuel loads, and a manageable wildfire with beneficial effects on the watershed.

The Karuk Tribe will use these funds to plan activities that will further foster collaboration with the Six Rivers National Forest, Mid-Klamath Watershed Council, Salmon River Restoration Council, The Nature Conservancy and others participating in the Western Klamath Restoration Partnership. “Managing fire and forests is a community endeavor, always has been and always will be.” adds Tripp.

To further support the long term sustainability of actions like those being planned as part of this project, tax deductible gifts, are being accepted by The Endowment for Eco-Cultural Revitalization Fund at hafoundation.org/ecocultural.

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9 comments

  • I had that same carpeting installed throughout the entire 1st level of Limbo. It really adds to the sense of sorrow without torment. Of course my interior designer lives on the 2nd level. (I do have a sense of humor, contrary to popular opinion)

  • Yay! Prevention is the best! I love how happy Buster looks.

  • BS! That’s my PGE overcharged escalated rates token gesture of money and for any touchy feely topic of political correctness. Hell, CDF shut down preventative burning 60 years ago and now we recognize the Indian’s way???? WTF!!!

  • Won’t the prescribed burns release tons of C02 into the atmosphere, making the effects of global warming worse?

    • Yes, in the short run. In the long run, however, these cool season burns probably result in greater carbon conservation. First reason- cool season burns burn understory (brush) at lower temperatures leaving more charcoal to incorporate in soil. Charcoal has a far longer residence time than downed wood. Second reason- very hot fires burn up soil carbon. Prescribed burns (if well designed) should burn very little soil carbon. Third reason: Hot fires in fire season are likely to produce stand replacing effects, meaning burning up the biggest carbon mass in the forest. They are also likely to cover greater area at high intensity if they don’t encounter fuel managed areas. Fourth reason (related to the previous) – mixed age forests are more stable with respect to biomass accumulation over time. Some trees begin to grow much older. Even age forests tend to die all at once and either release much of their carbon through rapid decay or more catastrophically in high intensity summer fires. Old Growth trees are not simply old trees they are the product of a complex ecosystem. Fifth reason- California bunch grasses are promoted by fire. They survive fire, burn cooler to the extent they burn, and their 6-20 ft root systems conserve carbon, water and soil (see reason 2). 4-8 inches of soil washed away when European annual grasses largely replaced bunch grass ecosystems. 20 ft deep root systems hold lots of carbon; I’ve heard as much as 10 times the european annuals whose entire mass is in the zone where summer heat and sun causes them to “burn” away. Sixth Reason- tremendous water retention effects from complex soil life, complex overstory vegetation, and those root structures give the whole system a chance of cooling and watering itself in the face of temperature rise. This will allow more growth and decrease die-off from climate change, if we’re lucky.

      Contrary to European-American management strategies, Forests are not Trees+Dirt. This is all just an educated amateur’s understanding. Feel free to add or clarify. One of the California Forest Carbon plan “solutions” is to cut down trees, mill them, incorporate them into buildings and thereby sequester carbon. I think this approach makes more sense.

  • Climate will always change, it has been,long before human roamed the earth.
    Why do these arrogant minds,think they must control the climate?
    Cant clean up after themselves but want to control the climate instead of making real changes at the top, shit happens to flow down the hill, not up.
    [edit]propaganda

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