Jeff Riggs, Yurok Tribe, (707) 482-1350
Jeff McCracken, Bureau of Reclamation, (916) 978-5101
Alexandra Pitts, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (916) 414-6619
Amy Dutschke, Bureau of Indian Affairs (916) 978-6000
Janet Bedrosian, Bureau of Land Management (916) 978-4600
The Department of the Interior and the Yurok Tribe of Northern California today announced a major agreement to cooperate in the management of land and fishery resources in the Klamath Basin. This unprecedented agreement will assure the coordination of resource management programs, and expand the cooperation between the Tribe and Interior agencies in river monitoring, data collection, strategic planning, land acquisition and recovery and related natural resource management efforts.
The execution of the agreement by the Department of the Interior acknowledges the unique resources skills and knowledge that the Tribe can contribute to cooperative programs with Interior agencies including the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others. As part of the Agreement, the Yurok Tribe will conduct valuable studies including fish counts, water quality monitoring and juvenile chinook assessments.
"I am pleased that the Tribe and the Department have reached this historic agreement. It is a new beginning in our relationship, one that will greatly benefit both the Tribe and the important resources of the Klamath Basin that we are committed to maintain and restore," said Kirk Rodgers, Regional Director, Bureau of Reclamation. "We look forward to working with the Tribe on a wide variety of projects and benefiting from the Yurok Tribe's considerable knowledge of the river and its fisheries."
The Yurok Tribe is California's largest Native American tribe with nearly 5,000 enrolled members. The Tribe's main offices are located in Klamath, California.
Yurok Tribal Council Chairman Howard McConnell called the agreement "unique and tremendously promising. Since time immemorial, the Yurok people have continuously inhabited the Lower Klamath River Basin and surrounding areas. Our ancestors were exemplary stewards of this land and water, and our commitment to responsible natural resource management continues to this day. This landmark agreement gets us working in new and creative ways with the federal government, and it allows us to leverage our proven expertise in fisheries, forestry, watershed and other natural resource areas to the long-term benefit of the basin and its inhabitants."
"The Yurok have distinguished themselves as exceptional partners," added Steve Thompson, California and Nevada Manager of U S Fish and Wildlife Service. "This agreement acknowledges their capabilities, commitment and forges a partnership which will prove a powerful tool for achieving our shared goals."