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Hoopa Tribal Forestry
The Hoopa Tribal Forestry Department works under the direction of the Hoopa Valley Tribal Council, and is responsible for Forest Management of the tribe’s 90,000-acre reservation. This is accomplished through the efforts of the forestry department, under the direction of a forest manager. Professional resource specialists, technical staff, field crews and resource contractors work in unison to accomplish assigned goals. The Hoopa Tribal Forestry Department is comprised of the following sub-departments: Administration, Timber Sales Layout/Admin., Forest Management Inventory and Planning, Wildlife, Tsemeta Nursery.
The Hoopa Tribe is a “compact” tribe, actually one of the first tribes to participate in the initial act. In 1988, the Hoopa Tribe “compacted” the entire Bureau of Indian Affairs Forestry Program, except for signatory authority on timber sales. Since 1988, the Hoopa Tribe also compacted Road Maintenance/Construction, and Wildland Fire Management from the BIA. Hoopa is one of the only tribes in the nation to compact an entire Wildland Fire Management program from the BIA. The forestry department employs 45 full-time employees and 65+ employees during the peak field season.
Preparation of timber sales including timber sales contracts, timber appraisal and Valuation; allotment contracts/permits, compartmental stand exams, timber sale layout, identification of riparian and special management zones, compilation of Forest Officer’s reports for each timber sale, haul route reconstruction, road and landing location and construction, individual contract specification, periodic check scales at local mills, contract compliance through the Sale Administrator, home-site lease timber sales as appropriate, acquisition of right-of-way for log hauling, preparation of monthly billings for timber removed, and the preparation of monthly reports of timber cut. Generally, there are 2-4 timber sales prepared each year to meet the annual allowable cut. The timber prepared for sale is, by Tribal Council Resolution, given to Hoopa Forest Industries (HFI- a subsidiary for Hoopa Valley Development Enterprises) who in turn, market, harvest and deliver the timber to the successful bidder.
The Forest Development program is very aggressive at Hoopa. We strive to regenerate our harvested acres as soon as possible. The tribe contributes tremendously to timber stand management. This program contributes for the duration of the timber stand rotation. For example, within 1-3 years, the tribe invests in early release, and within 10-15 years, we pre-commercially thin. The Tribe is also very committed to its inventory, or resources. We are currently in the process of our fourth re-measurement on a 10-year interval for continuous forest inventory. Hoopa Tribal Forestry has over 550 inventory plots established on the Reservation.
INVENTORY & PLANNING
The Hoopa Tribal Forestry Planning Department is responsible for forest management plans and all associated pre-project planning, including environmental assessments, consultation with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, consultation on archeological resources, National Marine Fisheries Services, etc. The Forest Planning sub-department is also responsible for ecosystem restoration project planning and implementation. The Hoopa Valley Tribe has received funding through the President’s Forest Plan to implement watershed restoration on 60 miles of forest roads at Hoopa. Recently, the Hoopa Tribe was officially recognized for our contribution to forest management by being selected as one of only two tribes in the United States to represent indigenous groups from the Western Hemisphere to the United States Mission to the United Nations Third Session of the Commission for Sustainable Development, April 20, 1995, in New York, NY. In addition, the Hoopa Tribe received recognition for Excellence in Forest Management Planning, from the BIA in 1995. The Forest Planning sub-department is comprised of a Geologist, Wildlife Biologist, GIS Technician, Computer Analyst, and Planner. The department comples an average of 3-5 environmental assessments per year, and is involved in numerous other Tribal projects. The sub-department works closely with the Wildlife Biologist and a crew of 5-15 people to survey for Spotted Owls, Marbled Murrelets, and tribally important species such as fishers, pileated woodpeckers, etc. The sub-department is also responsible for the Tribal cultural burn program, which is reintroducing fire into the ecosystem to enhance the quality of basket-making materials and other cultural values.
Prior to the listing of northern spotted owl as a threatened species, the Hoopa Tribe relied on contract biologists to conduct wildlife surveys and to write the supporting environmental documents for timber harvest and other related activities. Since 1991, the Wildlife Sub-department has expanded and includes three full-time permanent people and a seasonal crew of up to 15 people to conduct surveys and monitoring of northern spotted owls and to conduct surveys for Marbled Murreletts. After three seasons of intensive surveying for Murrelets, no occupied stands have been discovered. Northern spotted owl densities are nearly as high as the highest reported densities in the literature. The Hoopa Tribe has an intensive banding and monitoring program for spotted owls and will eventually contribute to the regional demographic knowledge of the species. In addition, the tribe’s wildlife department has been conducting forest carnivore surveys using baited track stations. These track plate surveys have resulted in the highest detection rate for fishers of any place in California. Since January 1996, we have been conducting fisher behavior studies via radio collar.
Tsemeta Nursery is a branch of the Hoopa Valley Tribal Forestry Department, and provides the Hoopa Tribe the ability to re-plant it's recently logged units with native seedlings. The Tsemeta Forest Nursery is located in the heart of the beautiful Hoopa Valley. It is wholly owned and operated by the Hoopa Valley Tribe. Construction began on the nursery in 1987.