Siskiyou Land Conservancy
Protecting California’s Wild North Coast and Rivers Since 2004

SLC Begins Large Restoration Project on the South Fork Smith River

Working with a private landowner and Oregon’s Lomakatsi Restoration Project, Siskiyou Land Conservancy embarks on one of the most significant projects in the organization’s history.

“Before-After” photos of SLC’s restoration work on a 148-acre property along the South Fork Smith River. (Click photos to enlarge.) Photos by Greg King.

Siskiyou Land Conservancy has contracted with Ashland, Oregon-based Lomakatsi Restoration Project to begin a major restoration project on a 148-acre property along the Wild and Scenic South Fork Smith River. Siskiyou Land Conservancy holds a conservation easement on this private parcel, which supports a rare diversity of species and several habitat types.

The Wild and Scenic South Fork Smith River runs below the property protected by Siskiyou Land Conservancy.

In June, Lomakatsi brought a crew of 12 workers to the site to begin the heavy task of clearing and piling brush and small trees on 12 acres of the property. The project is intended to improve forest health and reduce the danger of catastrophic fire in areas that were clear-cut 40 years ago by an industrial timber owner.

Lomakatsi's Aaron Nauth briefs the work crew during an orientation session in the dense confier forest that grew in following clear-cutting 40 years ago.

Siskiyou Land Conservancy’s South Fork restoration effort will occur in several phases, eventually treating up to 100 acres of the 148-acre property. The rest of the property consists primarily of pristine meadows, white oak woodlands, springs and seasonal wetlands. The parcel also contains the easternmost redwoods on the Smith River, and the largest privately owned flat along the South Fork.

Mature second-growth redwoods and meadow on the South Fork Smith River property protected by Siskiyou Land Conservancy.

Lush meadows and seasonal wetlands run throughout the large flat areas of the property.

The property also supports rare stands of Port Orford cedar, which appear to be unaffected by the root disease (Phytophthora lateralis) that has devastated the species throughout much of its range.

A healthy Port-Orford cedar tree grows alongside a meadow on the 148-acre Smith River property protected by Siskiyou Land Conservancy.

SLC’s restoration project is supported by the Smith River National Recreation Area, which is currently working on a similar fuels/forest health project on federal land adjacent to the SLC property. Funding for the initial 12 acres of work was provided in part by a $19,800 (50 percent) matching grant from the U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service. Lomakatsi has also contributed to the project, while private donations have made up a small portion of the remaining 50 percent.

Dave Casey, of the National Resource Conservation Service, inspects the restoration site prior to work on the project.

If you would like to help see this important restoration effort to conclusion you may send contributions to: Siskiyou Land Conservancy, P.O. Box 4209, Arcata, CA 95518. Donations are tax deductible and much appreciated.

"Before": Dense brush growing on the property prior to work beginning.

"After": The same area shown in the photo above, after restoration work.

Photo point #3: "Before"

Photo point #3: "After"