community watershed restoration since 1983

Help us build our new Native Plant Nursery


We have outgrown our current location and are moving our native plant nursery. Our new facility will be operational in April, 2016. The new nursery will be located on Chambers road just past the school. Currently we grow about 50,000 native grasses, shrubs, and trees. With our new facilities we will be able to grow up to 200,000 native plants. Our new facility will have two greenhouses, an expanded parking area, a shade structure, outdoor work space, and an expanded native plant demonstration garden.IMG_0745

We have broken ground on our new site! We still have a lot of work ahead of us and there are a variety of different ways you can become involved and help us make this transition.

How to Support Us

There are several upcoming events in which you can help.

March 25th AND 27th The Great Nursery Migration Volunteer Events! We will meet at the Mattole Valley Community Center at noon on Friday, 3/25 and at 10am on Sunday, 3/27. Come be a part of a big change at the Mattole Restoration Council. Click here for more details.

July 9th Hoop House Hoedown! We will have a barbecue, music, dancing, and more. There is also a raffle with the opportunity to win great prizes. Click here for more details.


We are trying to raise $40,000 for nursery move and upgrades. We need your help.

Click here to support us

$50 will help us buy nursery propagation benches

$100 will help us buy greenhouse plastic and greenhouse building materials

$500 will help us buy lumber, water tanks, building materials

$1,000 will help us buy a solar system

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Mattole River Estuary Project Update

Thanks to The Nature Conservancy for this great piece on the Mattole Estuary Project!

Restoring the Mattole River Estuary – Defense for the Drought?

Large wood structures have been added to enhance salmon habitat in the Mattole River estuary. In the foreground, construction equipment helps build the deep trenched willow baffles on the upstream side of the newly restored slough channel. © Abi Queen

Slough excavation site during project work. © Nathan Queener

Close-up of a large wood structure and the slough excavation. © Abi Queen

Yellow marks show where whole trees are added at the mouth of the slough. Upstream of the main slough excavation site, blue lines represent the first 50 feet of the trenches where whole trees with root wads were placed. Black lines represent the remainder of the trenches, where logs and willow cuttings were placed. © Mattole Salmon Group

Last winter’s drought impacted many things, including the coho, Chinook salmon, and steelhead that live in the Mattole River. A significant portion of the returning adult coho and Chinook this past fall and winter were limited to the lower Mattole River downstream of Honeydew due to low flows. The result? Fish spawned where they could in the lower river, rather than heading further upstream where the normally go and where stream habitat is better for growing fish. So what can we do about this situation? What will the young fish do?

What can we do?

We accelerate our efforts to restore the habitat they can reach – by returning the Mattole estuary back to a healthy estuary/lagoon with deep pools and extensive riparian and slough habitat.

The “Cohotel” – Side-Channel Refuge for Coho

There is a complex of elevated slough channels along the south bank of the Mattole River estuary that were disconnected from the river after the 1992 Triple Junction earthquakes uplifted the area by 3-5 feet, and subsequent deposition from over-bank flows filled in the old river channels. This slough restoration project excavated 250 feet of one of these historic channels to create off-channel habitat for juvenile salmonids in the summer of 2014. This slack-water habitat will have cooler water temperatures than the main river and an abundance of insects (food for juvenile salmonids) from the extensive over-hanging riparian vegetation. It will serve as a refuge from high water velocities in the winter and be a veritable paradise of cool water temperatures and abundant food in the summer. The work dredging the old, filled-in and uplifted slough channel was finished in early July. We have also completed extensive terrace margin treatments with willows, whole trees, wooden posts and logs, and thousands of willow cuttings. The willow and wood trenches are designed to lengthen the life of the slough excavation area by providing hardness (vegetation and logs) upstream. When the terrace gets inundated with water, the willow will also help to settle fine sediment upstream of the slough channel.

Helicoptering in “Log Cabins” for Fish

Two hundred Douglas fir trees were helicoptered into the estuary to accelerate the rebuilding of fish habitat. In summer, fish can rest in these deeper, cooler pools created by these log structures (see close-up on left) when flows are low, and in winter, shelter from the high flows. Flying in the logs took only 11 hours! This restoration project was fast and actually cheaper than trucking them in.

Now we wait for the fish to grow fat and healthy in their new homes.


Project Partners

In 2012, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), working with local landowners, watershed groups, and numerous other state and federal agencies, developed a 5-Year Restoration Plan for the estuary/lower river on BLM lands.

The slough project partners are the Mattole Salmon Group and the Mattole Restoration Council who are completing all of the associated willow planting work, and Patrick Queen, a local heavy equipment operator and problem solver. Funding comes from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, with funding and staff support from the Bureau of Land Management, and tree donations from Ellen Taylor and Michael Evenson.

The helicopter wood project was led by the Mattole Salmon Group, with funding and technical support from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, The Nature Conservancy, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Read more about the slough project and helicopter wood project.



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Prosper Prairie Grasslands Restoration Update

From managing recreational activities to conserving natural and cultural resources to facilitating energy development, the responsibilities of the Bureau of Land Management in California are diverse and challenging.


Partners Helping to Restore Grasslands at Prosper Ridge

A team of hard working partners  recently planted thousands of grass plants on a coastal prairie overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Northern California,  contributing to an ongoing effort to restore 850 acres of grassland that has been impacted by encroaching shrubs and Douglas-fir trees.

workers along a ridge with ocean in background

Partners work along a ridge overlooking the Pacific, planting grass plants to restore a coastal prairie. (Photo by Sonny Anderson, BLM volunteer)

Staff from the local Mattole Restoration Council worked with  the Americorps Watershed Stewardship Project, applying eight species of grass seed and planting 30,000 plugs of six grass species over 18 acres of BLM-managed public land on Prosper Ridge near the community of Petrolia.  Neighborhood volunteers and community contractors had previously cleared shrubs and young trees from the restoration site.

woman swining a pick

A worker prepares a site for planting grass plant plugs. (Photo by Sonny Anderson, BLM volunteer)

Through this effort, BLM is enhancing the proportion of deep-rooted, native perennial grasses compared to non-native, annual and perennial grass species of lesser value.

Man planting a grass plant

A project participant plants grass plugs in  coastal prairie restoration work at Prosper Ridge, a public land area managed by the BLM Arcata Field Office. (Photo by Sonny Anderson, BLM volunteer)

Native plants were locally developed and annually propagated as part of the BLM Arcata Field Office’s participation with the BLM Seeds of Success program.  BLM botanist Jennifer Wheeler has been directing the program and attributes success to  a  cooperative partnership with the Mattole Restoration Council, a local non-profit group focusing on various aspects of watershed restoration in the Mattole watershed and adjacent areas in the King Range National Conservation Area.

The work now ongoing at Prosper Ridge is the result of about 13 years of close community coordination and planning that resulted in the Prosper Ridge Prairie Plan. The plan helps BLM meet one of the primary goals and objectives of the King Range National Conservation Area  Resource Management Plan (2005) to “maintain healthy, productive grasslands to encourage native species abundance and diversity.”

Piles of brush

Shrubs and young Douglas-fir trees were removed from the treatment sites and piled for later burning in the project to restore grasslands at Prosper Ridge. (Photo by Sonny Anderson, BLM volunteer)

There are several phases in the restoration project.  The project began with mechanical removal of coyote brush and young Douglas-fir trees in predefined units to build buffer areas to meet community safety expectations and reduce fuel loads. After several years of treatment,  the BLM will use prescribed fire, timing the broadcast burns to maintain the area as a productive grassland.

Throughout the woody vegetation removal process, disturbed soil areas will be sown with native seed and clovers, and/or planted with native bunchgrass plugs to establish new colonies capable of their own reproduction and expansion.

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Heavy Equipment Contractor Solicitation – UPDATE: Bid Awarded

UPDATE: We have selected Patrick Queen Construction. Thank you to all the contractors who submitted bids.

Solicitation of Proposals

The Mattole Restoration Council invites interested companies to submit a proposal for vegetation removal for Phase 3 of the Prosper Ridge Prairie Restoration Project. Submitted project proposals need to be either emailed to or received by the MRC, PO Box 160, Petrolia, CA 95558 by July 29, 2015.

Project Location: Prosper Ridge Prairie Units to be treated in this phase are identified on the attached map. This project is entirely on public lands managed by the Arcata Area Bureau of Land Management. The units are south of the Mattole Beach campground on Prosper Ridge Road. The nearest town is Petrolia, CA.

Project Description:
Prosper Ridge Prairie Restoration Project Phase 3 is a grasslands restoration project the Mattole Restoration Council has been implementing on public lands in the North King Range Prairie area with direction and funding through the Arcata Bureau of Land Management (BLM) since May 2014. The overall goal of the project is to restore areas of open grasslands in areas of historic coverage through multiple treatments. It is a multi-year process dependant on timing and funding. This phase calls for the mechanical removal of vegetative species that have colonized in the absence of fire grassland ecosystems. Species to be removed include coyote brush (Bacharis pilularus) with as much of the root ball intact to prevent re-growth and Douglas-fir (Psuedostuga menzesii). Removed material will be piled in large piles away from fuels. Contractor is not responsible for burning piles. The equipment that has successfully removed this vegetation and created piles includes a mid-sized excavator with a thumb. The Windy Point and Cattle Guard units are on relatively flat ground, however, the Strawberry Rock and Barksdale Table unit has areas in excess of 30% slope. Some treatments have already occurred in some units. Total acres is approximately 100, actual treatment acres are far less. Not all acres will be treated with this phase. Project will begin in August but only until August 21 (hunting season). These preliminary treatments will target removal of pure young Douglas-fir as the ground is currently too dry for the complete removal of coyote brush and root wad. Once the rains begin, other treatments will begin again, likely in January 2016.

Project Tour:
There will be a project tour depending on interest on July 24, 2015 from 9:00 am-12:00pm. Please RSVP with Ali:, or call (707) 822-4477.

The proposals should emphasize experience with efficiency of treatment over total number of acres treated.. This contract is between the Mattole Restoration Council and chosen Contractor. Contractor will be paid upon completion of project sites or when work is stopped for the season due to soil moisture and/or weather. Mattole Restoration Council will direct timings of treatments in consultation with BLM project manager.

The proposal should detail the following information with a not-to-exceed amount of $83,000:
1) Contractors License and Insurance
2) List all experience completing vegetation removal projects, especially with species mentioned above. Provide information of number of years as well as how many acres of vegetation removal has been completed to date.
3) Describe equipment type and rate per hour for equipment and rate per hour for operator. Prepare a budget that details total number of equipment operating hours proposed for the NTE amount of $83,000 (operating hours only include time when operator is in machine removing vegetation)
4) Personnel to be used
5) Mobilization and Demobilization Costs
6) Operating safety protocols and spill prevention protocols
7) Federal Prevailing Wage rates
8) Other Contracting Costs

Evaluation Factors
The MRC will evaluate all proposals in a fair and equal manner using the above numbered details to determine the selection.

A contractor will be selected on Friday, July 31. The contract will be executed and work should begin shortly thereafter.

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