The Current Magazine Summer 2018 - Page 38

Detailed assessment of a site and a solid restoration plan are absolutely essential for a successful project, but a plan is just a plan. There have to be boots on the ground to complete the work, and that’s where Lomakatsi’s twenty-plus years of experience as an ecological workforce training outfit comes into play. Working with the Inter-Tribal Ecosystem Restoration Network and members of the Illmawi Band of the Ajumawi/Atsuge Nation (Pit River Tribe), Lomakatsi implemented both youth and adult Tribal Workforce Training and Employment Programs to build tribal capacity to manage lands surrounding Hat Creek. Over the course of the project, more than thirty band members underwent training in plant species identification, ecological thinning via chainsaw operation and controlled burning, and erosion control. Participants were trained in all aspects of riparian restoration planting, including site selection and preparation, installation, mulching, and caging. Additionally, tribal crew members learned how to transplant native trees and shrubs into larger containers for future plantings, providing necessary training for long-term sustainable restoration of the site.

Workshops on ecocultural restoration and Traditional Ecological Knowledge were incorporated into the training by Tribal Elders and Cultural Specialists throughout the program. This model of leveraging Lomakatsi’s workforce training capacity to partner with indigenous people on their traditional land base is a hallmark of Lomakatsi’s model of place-based learning, and has been replicated in large-scale forest and watershed restoration initiatives throughout Oregon and Northern California.

In addition to the Tribal Workforce Training Program, Lomakatsi has been implementing youth training and employment programs for over a decade now, one of which was established during the Hat Creek Restoration Project.

The Issi Wah Tribal Youth Training and Employment Program, conducted for four weeks each summer during the restoration of Hat Creek, employed tribal youth under the guidance of Lomakatsi tribal staff and restoration specialists, traditional Tribal Elders, and ecocultural specialists to blend traditional cultural and ecological knowledge into a cutting-edge restoration workforce training program. Over two years, ten tribal youth were employed on their ancestral lands, learning restoration workforce skills that provide economic opportunity in their tribal communities.

The end result of all of this on-the-ground training on an active restoration project was impressive, with tribal crews restoring three miles of river trail and constructing 3000 feet of new trail to provide fishing access while protecting streambanks. Tribal crews also constructed 4,000 feet of split rail fencing to protect sensitive streamside areas, installed log cribs to stabilize eroding streambanks, as well as constructing five benches and an informational kiosk at the site. Eight acres of oak habitat restoration took place, and along with the planting of native trees and shrubs, thousands of willows were transplanted for later use in streambank stabilization. Additionally, more than two miles of wire fencing were removed from the sight, and a mile-and-a-half stretch of Hat Creek was treated for invasive weeds. Lomakatsi also developed the Hat Creek Native Plant Species Guide to enhance both the learning and recreational experience at Hat Creek.

Lomakatsi Restoration Project currently manages contracts for the continued maintenance of the site so the good work done at Hat Creek will continue to benefit the ecosystem, the community, and the anglers that fish at Hat Creek for years to come.

For more information about Lomakatsi’s work, visit


Issi Wah Tribal Youth Program Participants on the newly completed Carbon Bridge at Hat Creek