The following editorial by RCLC’s Executive Director, Jim Elias, appeard in the May 5, 2023 ICO:
May 1, 2023
Thank you for your April 28 report that the Department of Commerce has recommended $60.3 million in funding for northern California projects dedicated to climate change adaptations and habitat restoration, including toward improving conditions for Mendocino Coast salmonids. This funding compliments Redwood Coast Land Conservancy (RCLC) Mill Bend Preserve projects currently underway, and others set to launch soon.
Following its hundred-year timber processing history, RCLC purchased Mill Bend in 2021 with a combination of public and private funding—including generous community support—and is now transforming it into a center for habitat restoration and nature-based recreation and learning. A $268,000 State Coastal Conservancy Wildfire Resilience Grant Program award will enable RCLC to expand ongoing efforts to reduce wildfire risks to the Preserve and the adjoining Gualala community by removing slash debris, dead trees, and high-fire-risk invasive plants, utilizing RCLC staff and dedicated volunteers.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recently announced that RCLC succeeded in winning a $404,000 Fisheries Restoration Grant. This award will fund a Prunuske-Chatham, Inc. design plan to enhance impaired Gualala River estuary conditions by increasing pool depths, creating additional river channels, and installing logs and other large woody debris to improve coho salmon and steelhead trout habitat.
At RCLC, we sometimes refer to Mill Bend Preserve as a living lab, where we take science-based actions to restore native habitats and then observe the impacts of those actions. When and where appropriate, we adjust our strategies. We also take pride in sharing Mill Bend’s natural wonders with visitors through bird and wildflower walks, highlighting the restorative power of nature. For those ready to help, RCLC offers a range of volunteer opportunities, from removing invasive plants to expanding the organization’s community reach. There’s a lot to do and we welcome your participation. You can learn more about RCLC at rclc.org.
Redwood Coast Land Conservancy
PO Box 1511
Gualala, CA 95445