Seen in overview, the 30 x 30 conservation efforts at federal and state levels are tremendous, but as the last two weeks’ conversations have made clear, it is at the landscape and local levels that these conservation efforts work or don’t work, get done or don’t, and ideally get done as thoroughly and thoughtfully as possible.
This week we focus in one specific and historic project at least 50 years in the making – the undamming of the majestic Klamath River. The final approval for the removal of a series of hydroelectric-production dams (whose installations date from the early to the mid1900s) was won in November of 2022. Dam removal is set to begin in 2023. We’re in conversation with two people, Brook Thompson and Joshua Chenoweth, engaged by the Yurok Tribe in preparing for the revegetation of the more than 2000 acres that will be re-exposed following the draining of the dam basins.
Brook is a Yurok tribal member, a Native scholar, civil engineer, water rights and cultural sovereignty activist, and Joshua is a restoration ecologist working for the Yurok tribe and leading the many-year planning and implementation of this complex revegetation process.
It’s all about re-connections. Listen in!
Images of Brook and Joshua courtesy of subjects; all rights reserved.
The mission of the Yurok Tribe is: "to exercise the aboriginal and sovereign rights of the Yurok People to continue forever our Tribal traditions of self-governance, cultural and spiritual preservation, stewardship of Yurok lands, waters and other natural endowments, balanced social and economic development, peace and reciprocity, and respect for the dignity and individual rights of all persons living within the jurisdiction of the Yurok Tribe, while honoring our Creator, our ancestors and our descendants."
Follow the Yurok Tribe's Klamath River work online: https://www.yuroktribe.org/
Follow California's 30 x 30 efforts online through www.californianature.ca.gov/;
and the Federal level efforts at: www.doi.gov/priorities/america-the-beautiful
Follow California's Consortium of 30 x 30 partners: www.powerinnature.org/about/
For more on the CNPS 2022 Conservation Conference: https://conference.cnps.org/program/keynote-speakers/
For an in depth recap of the CNPS 2022 Conservation Conference by CNPS member and plantsman Doug Mandel as posted in the Shasta Chapter's Firecracker Newsletter: https://shasta-cnps.org/cnps-2022-conference-october-20-22/
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JOIN US again next week, when we broaden our view from this week’s focus on revegetation planning for the undamming of the Klamath, to take broader look at the river’s namesake region and the importance of knowing any place better from all lenses for most effective conservation to be truly possible. We’re in conversation with Michael Kauffman and Justin Garwood editors of a comprehensive new natural history of the Klamath Mountains: The Klamath Mountains, A Natural History. Listen in.
Speaking of Plants and Place.....
Continuing our discussion of conservation sand biodiversity and gardeners as powerful partners in supporting biodiversity conservation through good garden plants that bring high habitat value, this week we regale the genus Ribes – the only genus in the gooseberry family: Grossulariaciaea.
Ribes includes upwards of 150 species naturally occurring across the Northern Hemisphere and in the Andes of South America. According to the US Forest Service’s celebrating wildflowers website, ribes are generally fairly low-growing, woody shrubs occurring in dry chaparral environments to the moisture loving shade of coastal forests. In the genus, those species with spiny stems are commonly called gooseberries, and those without spines or bristles on their stems and are often called currants. All of these often flamboyantly flowering shrubs (most of which hold pretty nicely in a vase or arrangement) produce succulent berries – some of these also being notably spined or bristled - that provide colorful and ample food for us as well as for wildlife- from insects, to birds, to mammals.
Here in interior Northern California the earliest of them – the Californian endemic Ribes malvaceum, also known as chaparral currant - is starting to bloom in the right now late December or early January right through to March. In the exposed, often very dry chaparral – the graceful pink pendent multi-flowered clusters of the this currant is not only lighting up its ecosystems, but offering important early nectar for the first bees and the overwintering resident hummingbirds.
From there the show goes on across North America, with the pink to red Ribes sanguineum blooming from January through May, the more woodland loving fragrant yellow flowered Ribes aureum and its close mid-western relative Ribes odoratum also called clove-scented currant – growing in both dry uplands and moister forests and riparian corridors. In Colorado, we called Ribes odoratum Buffalo currant. In my first California garden, the spicy scent of the foliage of the evergreen Ribes viburnifolium made a good groundcover under native oaks with and its low growing habit and lacy delicate late spring flowers. Ribes bracteosum – sometimes known as stink currant – grows throughout the northwest of California and throughout the Klamath ranges and redwood forests there and blooms later in the season – May to June – extending the period for both humans and wildlife alike.
With relatively low water or fertility needs in cultivation, adaptability and interesting flowers and foliage providing forage and larval associations for moths and butterflies, you can’t go too far wrong with one or two native currants in your garden – research your native Ribes and let me know how they grow for you.
Thinking out loud this week:
Brook’s story of the redwood tree she planted with the help of her father and it being a companion and measuring stick as it were mirroring her own growth and well-being – I wonder how many of us have life-long plant relationships against which we can measure our lives? I feel like we should all have such a gift – I feel like, it is up to us – the plant people of the world - to keep work towards this being as important a developmental marker in our cultural values and cultural literacy….think what flows and grows from that?
AND - CP EVENTS 2023: a quick heads up that I will be at the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Spring Garden Symposium on Saturday January 28th as their closing speaker for the day. If you’re in the area and can make it, please – make sure to introduce yourself so I can say hello and thank you for listening out there….more 2023 dates are being added to the calendar regularly – to see if I might be coming to your area this year check out cultivating place/events for all the details.
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