community watershed restoration since 1983

We are hiring! Please see the job announcement for Executive Director position.

The Mattole Restoration Council is a 36 year-old watershed restoration non-profit on the Lost Coast of Northern California, with a million dollar plus annual budget and a regular staff of nine. We are a membership organization with an elected board of directors that undertakes landscape-scale watershed restoration and rehabilitation in the Mattole watershed and adjacent areas, and promotes a stewardship land ethic.

Job responsibilities:

 Works with the board of directors to execute the mission and long-term strategic goals;  Oversees and manages 9 regular staff and 60 seasonal employees;  Leads fundraising efforts and works with the program staff to develop projects and submit grant proposals to various federal and state agencies and foundations;  Directs the implementation of organizational policies and the strategic plan;  Acts as liaison to the community, partner groups, agencies, and other stakeholders;  Oversees fiscal management. Desired Qualifications  Excellent communication skills;  Experience with fundraising and developing federal and state grant proposals;  Experience with managing federal and state contracts;  Ability to establish dynamic relationships with a broad base of stakeholders;  Experience with non-profit fiscal and personnel management;  Commitment to community based watershed restoration;  A background in environmental science/biology/ecology;  Familiarity with watershed restoration strategies and methods;  Strong sense of self-direction and self-organization; The position is full to half time (negotiable), and reports to the board of directors. Compensation is commensurate with experience, and includes health, vacation, training and retirement benefits. The position is based in the Petrolia office, with travel throughout the watershed and Northern California. A valid driver’s license and functioning personal vehicle are required.

To Apply: Email cover letter, resume/CV and three references to John Williams,

For more information, call John at 707 629 3265. This position is open until filled; interviews begin on January 13, 2020.

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Project Coordinator Job Announcement

The Mattole Restoration Council’s Native Ecosystem Restoration Program is seeking a qualified candidate to manage multiple projects including Oak Woodland Restoration, Sudden Oak Death Monitoring and Control, and Invasive Plant Control. The PC will be responsible for managing the Oak Woodland Restoration Program, the Invasive Plant Control Program, monitoring the spread of Sudden Oak Death (SOD) throughout the Mattole and develop SOD projects to mitigate its impact on Mattole forests and fire safety. The PC will also supervise and mentor youth and college students on seasonal field projects.

Job responsibilities

 Work with federal and state agencies and local landowners to develop, design and implement

Oak Woodland Restoration, Invasive Plant Control, and Sudden Oak Death (SOD) Control

Projects throughout the Mattole and adjacent watersheds.

 Work with Program Director to develop grant proposals and final reports

 Assist Program Director with project management tasks on Riparian and Grasslands Restoration Projects

 Update and complete the Oak Woodland, Invasive Plant and SOD planning documents

 Lead staff and volunteers in the field for data collection and manual labor

Required qualifications

 Two years (4000 hrs) of experience managing ecological restoration or forestry projects

 Experience with Northern California oak woodland and grassland ecosystems, and familiarity

with native and non-native plant communities

 Experience writing grant proposals and managing contracts

 Proficiency with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Microsoft Word and Excel

 Ability to perform field work in challenging terrain and weather conditions

 Strong written and oral communication skills

 Must commit to one year, 24 hrs/week and up to 40 hrs/week during field seasons

 Valid Drivers License

Other desirable qualifications

 Bachelors degree in Restoration Ecology, Environmental Science, Forestry, or a related field

 Experience supervising employees, managing budgets, and managing computer databases.

 Wilderness First Aid, Avenza Maps, GPS, and OSHA certifications

 Experience working with private landowners

Position Dates: December 9, 2019 – December 8, 2020 with opportunity to extend indefinitely

Hours: 24 hrs/week and up to 40 hrs/week during certain times. Opportunity to work up to 40

hrs/week with other MRC tasks not related to this position.

Wage/Benefits: $22 – $28/hr (Depending on experience) plus health, sick, vacation, and training benefits.

Location: The position is based in Petrolia, CA with travel throughout the watershed.

How to Apply: Email letter of interest, resume and three references to by

November 18, 2019. Visit or call Hugh at 406-546-2053 for more info.

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Elephant Seal Walk Photos

HSU Professor Dawn Goley describes the origins of the Punta Gorda elephant seal colony on the Lost Coast, and how it may be expected to grow in the coming years.

Participants on the King Range Alliance’s hike to see the elephant seals marvel at how many different animals are on the beach

Young and older enjoy a close-up look at elephant seals in the King Range NCA, along with expert guides. 

A beautiful day on the Lost Coast, a great day to learn about elephant seal ecology!

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Identifying and Using Local Medicinal Plants of the King Range National Conservation Area


April 13th, 2019, 10 am -2 pm

Bring: Lunch, water, jacket, Notebook and Pen.

Space is limited, so please contact if you plan to attend.

Come get acquainted with medicinal plants living in and around the King Range!

This class will be great for beginners interested in using local plants for medicine. It will also provide in-depth information for experienced medicine-makers, so come and bring your questions about specific plants or ailments, and enjoy some focused time outside with our local herbalista, Nicole Gagliano.

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Sustainable Seaweed Harvest


April 21st. Meet at Mattole Beach Trailhead at 6:40 A.M. Sharp!

Ever wanted to learn about harvesting edible seaweeds?
Want to know what types grow here on the Lost Coast, and how
to harvest them sustainably? This class is for you!

Bring: water, snacks, windbreaker, sun gear, Grippy
Footwear that can get wet, scissors, sacks, Fishing license.

Meet at Mattole Beach Trailhead at 6:40 A.M. Sharp!

Please contact if you plan to attend.

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Nick’s Interns Program now Accepting Applications – Due March 29

Are you motivated to learn, work hard, and make a valuable contribution to our environment and community?

Nick’s Interns, A program providing work opportunities for high school students, is –Now Accepting Applications for summer 2019— DUE MARCH 29.

As a paid intern, you will take part in a range of restoration and land management projects such as native grass seed collection, invasive species removal, trail construction, campground maintenance, steelhead dive surveys, salmon habitat enhancement and much more!


BLM: Session One – June 24 – July 11

BLM: Session Two – July 15 – August 1

MRC: June / July (Dates T.B.D.)

Send applications to:

MRC/Nick’s Interns, PO Box 223 Whitethorn Ca, 95589

Fax: (707) 986-7374


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Remembering Freeman House

Remembering Freeman and When Restoration was Radical

By Ali Freedlund, Mattole Restoration Council


Seldom do we meet those remarkable souls who so alter the foundations of our perspective that we dare refer to them as Teacher. Freeman House was certainly one of those souls. He was the Doyen of Mattole restoration thought and therefore action. He realigned, in an elegant, delectable way, the lens we use to view the place we live. And it stuck. And it was far-reaching.

Freeman emphasized the need to engage all peoples in their places to reweave what had become a tattered tapestry of the land. Through his writings, speech, and humble presence, Freeman carefully constructed a manner of living in relationship with forest, river, and meadow. He not only studied the earlier traditions of local tribal peoples, but he launched a new and familiar way of honoring and implementing the work that the earth tells us needs to be done. He crafted homages to the ‘work’ as a model for generations. A longtime friend and restorationist, Bob Anderson, when asked what Freeman’s influence was, immediately replied, “Freeman’s gift was his ability to mainstream radical ideas.” Interesting that it was radical to muddle with spawning fish to increase their numbers or to negotiate the protection of an old-growth forest, or to out-slope rural ranch roads to decrease sediment, or to bring together disparate groups in a watershed alliance, or to cobble together conservation parcels in the middle of the watershed that would create a wildlife corridor from Humboldt Redwoods State Park to the King Range National Conservation Area. But in looking back, each one of these successes had been novel, and yes, radical for its time. Yes, Freeman knew that for true recovery to be sustained, it would take enlisting the people living in their watersheds to do the work, to take it on with gusto, and to align with the currents inherent in dynamic processes.

Freeman was an original founder of the Mattole Restoration Council (MRC) in 1983 in order to bring all the groups that were working in isolation in one watershed together to discuss projects, priorities, and philosophies. Originally a 13-member council of groups, in 1998, under his direction, the MRC metamorphosed into an organization that implemented a myriad of projects – much as it continues to this day. Any attempt to encapsulate the legacy he left our community, or to other restorationists, would never be deep enough, hallowed enough, or complex enough, all traits which he embodied completely. So I turned to his friends.

One of the original members of the Council and the founder of Sanctuary Forest,Inc., Rondal Snodgrass sent this offering: “Along the Mattole there were Up River People and Down River People. The salmon migration connected these two elements of river culture. Freeman spoke of us as “reinhabitors,” showing us that we were planted here for higher purposes. He demonstrated and taught us with elegance the deeper ecology of our new culture’s purpose. I have been an Up River Person emblazoned by headwaters, the old growth forests and watered spawning-ground streams. Freeman has been a Down River Person, emblazoned with estuary, forest, prairie, and river mouth. Together with many, many others, we joined heart, mind and spirit to weave these elements together. Yes, we continue. This present time calls us to praise Freeman, an emblazoned elder for us all.”

And from Jerry Martien, close friend and North Coast poet: “Freeman House’s theory and practice was essentially this: restoration and recovery can’t be done from the outside. Both for the watershed and the person, it has to come from within. Freeman always seemed to be speaking—and writing—and acting from the heart. He also listened from the heart, and was constantly conducting and sharing his own scientific and cultural education. To be formulated, spoken about, and practiced, he would insist, in the vernacular—in terms that express a local culture. He was a dedicated naturalist and a full-on advocate for salmon’s place at the center of that culture, in the Mattole and throughout the Northwest. He was also a Digger, and saw that theater and music, dance and poetry could express those priorities—again, from the heart—and so nourish person, community, and place. He gave himself to that task. In his essay “Afterlife” he provided his own memorial: The Earth will claim me as its own. Which I am.

David Simpson, a co-founder of the Mattole Salmon Group, writes:

“In the fall of 1981, over 40 residents of various parts of the Mattole, having been trained in the then-esoteric craft of salmon species and redd identification, pulled on waders and spread out over the valley. It was the beginning of what was no doubt the first systematic survey of the spawners of an entire watershed to be conducted exclusively by residents of that watershed.

It’s hard to recollect today that, back in 1981, these were far-out ideas and audacious acts. Even referring to the Mattole as a ‘watershed’ was new and mildly wonkish, but turning over the abstruse work of gathering accurate biological data that could help a wild species survive to a bunch of backwoods yokels like us? That was outright radical.

Freeman House, co-founder of the Mattole Salmon Group and the Mattole Restoration Council, was not exactly a raving radical. He had indeed participated quite willingly in cultural events in the 60s and early 70s that sorely challenged existing paradigms. By the time he joined us here in the Mattole, though, to help build the watershed restoration idea into one of the central social movements of our times, his relationship to his fellows was typified by a quiet dignity and an exceptional conscientiousness. These traits would prove essential to the job ahead. He was, of course, a grand writer. He was also a truly inspired watershed administrator.

Looking back, it’s reasonable to presume that when we started out, we had caught the salmon runs on a downswing and that this downward momentum continued, with a few aberrations both up and down, for over 30 years. The return of abundance—a river visibly full of salmon—seemed for much of that time a distant dream. Until, that is, the past two years and especially this year: a Mattole salmon surveyor’s delight. (See article at right.)

It was, propitiously, Freeman’s last year with us. The incredible body of work that started with the hatchbox program and those first spawner surveys may have finally begun to pay off. (Note I say ‘may’—our coho runs have not recovered  and the rebuilding of the Chinook population is still at a fragile early stage.) Freeman’s quiet but hard-core belief in the power of inhabitants of a place, a watershed—in us—to alter the course of history is turning out to have been of great consequence. What might have been another inevitable chronicle of decline and disrepair could turn out instead to be the first chapter in a celebration of renewal and recovery. And we, people of the Mattole, have played the central role. Thank you, Freeman and farewell old friend.”


Freeman was a watershed mystic—one who seeks, by contemplation and self-surrender, unity with the watershed. From his book, Totem Salmon:

“I walk in a world I have come to understand as mutable, ever-changing. My walk on the next morning carries me into streaming fog blowing off the Pacific into my face. The chill of it shortens my planned route and makes me wonder just how wide that line on that map that divides water from land should be.

The rolling hills around me seem still, but I know that they are not. All the land within my view is called by geologists an accretionary prism. In plainer language, the seemingly solid ground under my feet is made of rubble scraped off the Gorda plate as it dives beneath the North American plate. Such knowledge is occasionally enlivened by an adrenal rush that is a response to the rumble and roll of the earth, or by a series of sharp jolts that knocks the jars off the shelves in my home. It is the mountains around me rearranging themselves.

After a while, the movement of mountains rearranges the mind. I find in myself a new fluidity of response, a diminished sense of attachment, a more comfortable sense of humility. I am a different person than I was when I arrived in the valley. I may not be alone.”

No Freeman, you are not alone.

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Welcome Nathan Queener, our new Executive Director!

Dear MRC Members, Partners, and Community,

We are very pleased to announce that Nathan Queener has been selected as our new Executive Director, starting December 15.  Nathan is an ideal fit for this position. He has been working with the MRC for over 10 years, and is currently our Watershed Information Science Program Director. His role has included designing and implementing approaches to monitoring instream sediment conditions in the watershed, and analysis of stream habitat conditions.

Nathan has been deeply involved in restoration projects throughout the watershed, and brings extensive experience and knowledge to his new position. In addition, Nathan holds a Master of Science from Humboldt State University in Watershed, Wildland, and Forest Science. Prior to his experience in the Mattole, he has worked as a field biologist and researcher, trek leader, and data specialist in Montana, Idaho, and Arizona.

Welcome Nathan, we look forward to this new chapter! You can contact Nathan at, or reach him at our office at (707) 629-3514.

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