Wild and Working Lands

Restoring the health of Mattole forests and grasslands:

The Wild and Working Lands Program has several project areas: Riparian Ecosystem Restoration, Fire-Safe Forests and Homes, Forest Practices Review, Mattole Forest Futures Project, Grassland Restoration, Native Plants Nursery, and Invasive Species


The Council aims to restore and maintain the abundance and diversity of the Mattole watershed’s terrestrial ecosystems. To aid in the watershed’s recovery and protect the remaining forest and prairie from subdivision and development, the Council promotes local livelihoods based on the sustainable use of the watershed’s forests and grasslands.

Program Details:

The lands of the Mattole offer tremendous opportunities to the inhabitants of the Mattole, human and non-human alike. Its rain-soaked hillsides grow abundant forests of conifers and hardwoods, sheltering the streams where salmon and steelhead spawn. Its ridgetop prairies provide pasture to cattle, sheep, deer and occasional elk, as well as bountiful hunting grounds for at least many species of raptors. The soils of its valleys support farms and homestead gardens that yield a rich harvest of crops from blueberries to apples and wine grapes, from melons and tomatoes to artichokes and chard.

At the same time, Mattole lands also face a number of challenges stemming from past injuries and imminent changes to the environment from climate change and introduced species. Decades of fire suppression have put the landscape at increased risk of catastrophic fire; riparian forests fall short of their potential to stabilize and cool the streams along whose banks they grow; and the twin threats of climate change and sudden oak death may usher in widespread and abrupt changes in wildlife habitat.