Opportunity Fund helped finance the largest forestry carbon sequestration project in California.
Yurok Tribal Community Forest and Salmon Fishery Preserve
Protecting the Environment
Opportunity Fund provided $40,950,000 in investments to the Yurok Tribe to complete the final phase of its Yurok Tribal Community Forest and Salmon Fishery Preserve, in partnership with Western Rivers Conservancy. The Yurok Tribe ("Tribe") is California's largest tribe that for thousands of years has inhabited its ancestral lands in this area. Western Rivers Conservancy ("WRC") is a non-profit river protection organization that acquires important stream corridors and works with Tribe to manage the acquired lands for long-term sustainability.
Our funding has enabled the Tribe and WRC to acquire a 19,388-acre area and proceed with plans to transform it into a sustainable forestry, fisheries habitat restoration, and ecosystem services project.
A well-functioning ecosystem is of special significance to this rural economy and to the Yurok because the forest and the Klamath River are the lifeblood of the Yurok. Acquisition of this land allows the Tribe to incorporate sustainable forestry practices and restore the Klamath River to conditions that will allow salmon, an important food source, to thrive, while creating jobs and stimulating the local economy in the process.
In addition, the Yurok Project is part of the largest forestry carbon sequestration project in California as set out under the state’s global warming laws. Carbon credits produced from this project create an additional revenue stream.
With an unemployment rate amongst Tribal members of 74% as reported by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, this project is providing critically important jobs. There will be 426 jobs created or retained for low income Tribe members, all paying livable wages and providing benefits.
Since the first phase of this project, several Yurok tribal members have found meaningful employment. For example, Talbert Alvarado had successfully completed his forestry management certificate, but was unable to find employment in the area. In 2011, he was hired by the Yurok Forestry Department, and has advanced to Lead Forestry Technician. He has also worked as lead technician on the Yurok Tribe’s carbon sequestration project, and trains other technicians on carbon inventory methods.
The opportunity to work locally, on the Tribe’s ancestral lands is important to Talbert. It has provided a meaningful, good paying job, and has allowed Talbert to remain in the area and raise his family. We expect Talbert to soon earn his CA Registered Professional Foresters license and continue to advance in the Yurok Tribal Forestry Department.