Restoring Native American Stewardship to a Sierra Nevada Treasure
The protected 900-acre Heart K Ranch in California’s Genesee Valley is a Sierra Nevada treasure, boasting scenic mountain beauty and a rich historical and cultural past. It is perhaps the most species-diverse property in the Feather River Watershed, supporting 26 species of conservation concern. It is also of great importance to the local Mountain Maidu people.
The Maidu Indians of Genesee Valley are a federally unrecognized tribe. During the Gold Rush, land reservation treaties were left unratified, leaving the Maidu landless and in danger of losing cultural knowledge and practices. The Feather River Land Trust wanted to create cultural conservation easements to protect and promote Maidu engagement on the Heart K Ranch in perpetuity.
With their Toyota TogetherGreen grant, Plumas Audubon Society partnered with the Feather River Land Trust and Mountain Maidu community to plan stewardship and restoration activities on the Heart K Ranch that incorporate Maidu Traditional Ecological Knowledge.
Applying such traditional knowledge to the restoration of Heart K Ranch presented a unique opportunity to help sustain Maidu culture while enhancing land management practices and bird habitat. This innovative partnership staredt the process of advancing scientific and cultural knowledge using traditional practices, while accomplishing restoration outcomes for the future to critical oak woodlands and Cottonwood-willow riparian habitat.