By Deanna Contreras
MENDOCINO COUNTY - More than 500 acres of coastal redwood habitat is back under the stewardship of indigenous people with the help of PG&E's Environmental Resources and Mitigation team.
The property transfer to the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, with help from Save the Redwoods League, means the land will once again be managed by its original caretakers who will lead the way in protecting high-quality habitat for the northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, and the yellow-legged frog.
PG&E aided in the purchase of 523 acres in Mendocino County, home to the endangered marbled murrelet, yellow-legged frog and northern spotted owl.
Through the company's Compensatory Mitigation Program, PG&E provided $3.55 million that enabled Save the Redwoods League to purchase the property initially, then another $1.13 million endowment to support perpetual stewardship of the preserve by the Council.
The stewardship endowment will ensure habitat values are protected, monitored, and maintained into perpetuity within the preserve. PG&E also funded various transactional costs associated with conservation projects, including the development and preparation of a long-term plan that will help guide the ongoing management of the preserve.
"The indigenous people are the original stewards of the land and this partnership not only preserves the coastal land but will benefit native and non-native people as well as wildlife along the Mendocino County coast," said Reno Franklin, head of PG&E Tribal Sustainability who is also a Save the Redwoods Board Member. "As a sign of indigenous resilience, the land will now be called Tc'ih-Léh-Dûñ, or Fish Run Place in the Sinkyone language."
PG&E's Habitat Conservation Plans seek to mitigate future or potential impacts anticipated over the next 30 years to listed species habitats. They were developed in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"Protecting these valuable resources support execution of critical maintenance and operations work while ensuring we're protecting the environment and the communities we serve," said Mariano Mandler, senior director of Environmental Management for PG&E. "This is a great collaborative effort that demonstrates our environmental stewardship commitment to protect the communities we serve."
To date, the company has voluntarily conserved, protected or restored more than 8,200 acres of threatened and endangered species habitat since 2008 through partnerships with land trusts and conservation organizations.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.