community watershed restoration since 1983

20th Annual Coho Confab

Salmonid Restoration Federation

20th Annual Coho Confab in the Mattole August 24-26, 2017

Contact: Dana Stolzman, Executive Director, Salmonid Restoration Federation (707) 923-7501,


Salmonid Restoration Federation (SRF), Sanctuary Forest, Mattole Restoration Council, and the Mattole Salmon Group are coordinating the 20th Annual Coho Confab that will take place August 24-26 in the beautiful Mattole river valley in Humboldt County. The Coho Confab is a field symposium to learn about watershed restoration and techniques to restore and recover coho salmon populations. The Confab provides an ideal opportunity to network with other fish-centric people and to participate in field tours that highlight innovative salmon restoration practices. This event is partially funded by California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program and scholarships are available.


The Coho Confab will open Thursday evening, August 24 with a community dinner and inspiring keynote presentations from Geneticist Carlos Garza of NOAA Fisheries who will address prospects for recovery and restoration of coho salmon in California. Sungnome Madrone, Executive Director of the Mattole Salmon Group, will present on landowner stewardship incentives. Tasha McKee, Program Director of Sanctuary Forest, and Elijah Portugal of Redwood Community Action Agency will give a joint presentation on what we can learn from beaver structures and apply towards salmon restoration planning. “The Confab is a great opportunity for practitioners, landowners, and planners to convene and strategize about restoration opportunities to improve coho salmon populations.” – Dana Stolzman, ED, SRF.


Friday will include concurrent morning field tours including a Mattole estuary tour to see heliwood placement, terrace margin treatments, off-channel slough restoration, and bioengineering techniques. There will also be a Prosper Ridge prairie tour to showcase grassland reclamation and fuels reduction in King Range coastal prairie systems. After the morning tours, we will all corral up at the historic Mattole Grange for afternoon concurrent workshops including Coho Recovery Planning from state, ESU (Evolutionary Significant Unit), and watershed level with coho recovery coordinator from the Southern Oregon Northern California Coast ESU, Julie Weeder, Carlos Garza, and Sungnome Madrone.


Additionally, there will be a stewardship workshop for landowners including tools and resources for road improvements and water conservation. This workshop will feature several resource professionals including Matt Clifford, JD, of Trout Unlimited who will address water rights and water conservation planning, Tom Leroy of Pacific Watershed Associates to address Best Management Practices, and Cassie Pinnel, Executive Director of the Mattole Restoration Council. This is a great opportunity for landowners to participate in a constructive dialogue about stewardship obstacles and opportunities.


On Friday night in Confab tradition, we will share a farm to table feast, have a lively campfire, and an impromptu talent show or cabaret. The last day of the Confab will include two concurrent field tours including Beaver Dam Analogues and Groundwater Recharge Planning in the Mattole Headwaters with Tasha McKee and Elijah Portugal, and a Lower Salt River Restoration tour in the Eel River estuary that will be co-led by fisheries biologist, Ross Taylor, and Allen Renger of California Department of Fish and Wildlife.


Registration fees cover field tours, workshops, meals, and camping. To register for the Confab or to view the full agenda please visit our website:

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Wildlife Tracking – MFI Short Course

Mattole Field Institute Spring Series 2017 – Widlife Tracking with Kim Cabrera, April 19

On April 19, thirteen community members joined professional tracker Kim Cabrera for an introduction to wildlife tracking techniques. The group, ranging from 8 years old to roughly 70, explored exposed mud and sandbars in the Mattole River estuary.   

Despite recent rains,we encountered tracks made by coyote and deer, and when we went to investigate an area where otter tracks had been seen the day before, we were in for a grand surprise. The otter tracks, sadly, had been washed away by rising estuary tidewaters, but as we stood in the area, one of the boys participating in the course nonchalantly stated, “there’s an otter.” We looked, and there was a river otter swimming about twenty feet in front of us. “Wouldn’t it be cool if he climbed up on the bank and made some tracks for us?” Kim joked. The otter obliged. We watched as the otter clambered out of the water through some wet sand (perfect tracking substrate!) and then frolicked in a patch of dry sand, rolling around and showing us his white underbelly. As we photographed and gawked, he then defecated and eventually returned to the water.

Kim then led us to his tracks and scat and we had an excellent session of learning about otters. The children present particularly loved learning how to pour plaster to make casts of the tracks. Kim taught us some fundamentals of tracking lost humans, and how to differentiate various animals’ tracks.  Our day was cut short by a powerful rainstorm, but all were energized and grateful for the magical encounter we’d had with the otter, and for another beautiful day out in the field in the Mattole.

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Join us in celebrating the Mattole, everyone is welcome to this free event at the Mattole Grange!

Kids activities (4-6 p.m.)

Lost Coast Camp staff and friends are bringing their fun games for a super exciting kid zone!

 Tug-of war Contest (5 p.m.)

What?! Better start getting your team of 5 together now, because the competition will be tough! In addition to the ultimate bragging rights, we’ll have some sweet prizes too.

Prizes – Beer – Dinner (6 p.m.)

Door prizes, local brews, the most delicious food to be found in the Mattole – halibut tacos with corn salad from Calamity Coast Catering ($5)– come out and treat yourself! Our local businesses and groups will have booths set-up showcasing all the Valley has to offer (contact Cassie at 629-3514 if you want to table)

Square Dancing (7-9 p.m.)

What better way to spend a Saturday night than square dancing to our local talents, with calling by one of the best. Dust off your dancing shoes and get ready for a rockin’ good time!

Mattole Valley Mudstompers, with calling by Lyndsey Battle


ALL local groups and businesses invited to table -for more info, contact Cassie at (707) 629-3514 or

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Birds, Blues, and Brews!

Come support the Mattole Restoration Council with a perfect trifecta of bird calls and trivia, fantastic blues to swing music, and delicious Mad River beer! In addition to a great time, $1 from each pint goes to support local, environmental restoration work in the Mattole.

At the Mad River Brewing Company in Blue Lake –  Wednesday, April 19th from 5-9pm.


We all know Humboldt hosts a wealth of birds, and plenty of bird lovers! Do you have a stellar bird call? Bring it for a chance to win a prize in our bird call competition! No bird calls, but plenty of bird knowledge? Join us for our bird trivia round! Bird calls and trivia, 7-7:30



Strap on your dancing shoes! Blase Bonpane and the Soulmates are bringing their Blues to Swing experience for your enjoyment. For a sneak peak of their fantastic sound, you can visit their website here: Music from 6-8:30pm.



Oh Mad River Brewing, from your delicious beers to your community engagement– we are fans! MRB is donating $1 from each pint  sold on April 19 to the Mattole Restoration Council, thank you!




We’re a local non-profit that has been working to restore and conserve the health of the Mattole River Watershed in Southern Humboldt for over 30 years – through native plants, forest health, and education, we’re working throughout the watershed. To learn more about what we do, check out our website.


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Volunteer at the Native Plant Nursery

Interns and Volunteers help at the nursery

Do you like working with native plants? How about helping out our community? If so, come get your hands dirty with us at the Native Plant Nursery on Mondays from 10-12pm. This is also a great time to stop by for plant and seed inquiries.
Tasks vary weekly – but you can expect to enjoy simple fulfilling jobs such as transplanting trees, preparing seedlings to be planted, and maintaining our native Seed Farms.

Can’t make it out but still want to support the nursery? You can find some of the plants that we sell here.

For more information or to find out what we are doing this week, contact Veronica at 629-3514, or

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Medicinal Herbs MFI Course

On April 1, Mattole Field Institute ran a well-attended, free field course on Medicinal Herbs with a local herbalist Nicole Gagliano of Wild and Wise Herbal CSA. Twenty-three community members came out for the instructional hike, which was noteworthy due to another popular event being subsequently scheduled on the same day. One delightful outcome of this field course was that it was attended by young and old: participants ranged from 6 years old to elders in their 70s. We learned to identify various medicinal plants growing along roadsides and in the forest of lower Mill Creek, and then had a focused classroom session where we discussed medicinal properties of the plants, with a hands-on session of medicine-making. Participants who stayed

for the latter portion took home medicinal tinctures and salves that they had prepared themselves, as well as a guide to herbal medicine-making prepared by Nicole.

Thank you Nicole and everyone that attended! And, thank you the Grace US Foundation for making this course possible!

To learn more about Nicole’s herbal CSA, Wild and Wise, visit

For additional upcoming courses, click here.

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MFI Short Courses, Free and Open to the Public!

DATE CHANGE: Birding Mattole Beach and Estuary will now be offered on June 11.

Thanks to the generous support of Grace US Foundation, the Mattole Field Institute is excited to offer a series of 1-day courses that are free and open to the public! However, space is limited – so please RSVP with if you are interested in attending any of these great classes.

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Sudden Oak Death Commmunity Meeting

Sudden Oak Death and the Mattole Watershed

Please join the Mattole Restoration Council and the University of California Cooperative Extension for a community meeting on the current status of sudden oak death (SOD) in the Mattole watershed. The presentation will be followed by a Q & A session and field training to teach participants how to identify SOD symptoms and collect their own samples for SOD verification.

Please bring your own lunch. If you suspect to have SOD infected trees on your property, feel free to bring bay leaf samples for lab testing. For more information on identifying SOD symptoms, please visit:

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