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Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria Pledges $500K Matching Gift to Support Russian River Redwoods Acquisition

The following is a press release issued by the Save the Redwoods League:


Russian River Redwoods
Russian River Redwoods. Photo by Vivian Chen.

Save the Redwoods League today announced that the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (FIGR or Graton Rancheria) has offered a $500,000 matching gift to enable the protection of Russian River Redwoods. With this pledge, all donations to the Russian River Redwoods project made before Sept. 30 will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000.On Aug. 1, the League announced it had secured an agreement with RMB Revocable Family Trust to acquire a 394-acre redwood forest in Sonoma County, named Russian River Redwoods. The League now has until Sept. 30, 2023, to secure the $6.5 million needed to acquire the property and later transfer it to Sonoma County. The deal will ensure long-term protection for the Clar Tree, one of the county’s oldest and tallest coast redwoods, and for one mile of Russian River frontage near Guerneville.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to set this forest on a restoration path to grow the old-growth forest of the future, and we are delighted that so many are eager to help! There has been an outpouring of support since our announcement earlier this month. And the generosity of our friends at The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria is simply astonishing,” said Sam Hodder, president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League. “It is inspiring that The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria are helping to preserve this special forest within their traditional lands.”

“We are proud to support our partners at Save the Redwoods League,” said Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria Tribal Chairman Greg Sarris. “This coast redwood and Douglas-fir forest along the river is in the heart of the traditional lands and Southern Pomo territory of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. As part of our mission of environmental stewardship, we are excited to help return this important habitat and culturally significant land to uses that allow it to thrive.” The Russian River is home to steelhead trout and coho and Chinook salmon. Russian River Redwoods also includes a half-mile section of Mays Canyon Creek, a well-known stream for steelhead. The site connects a contiguous habitat corridor of more than 4,000 acres of protected lands, home to northern spotted owls, bobcats, gray foxes and red tree voles.

Nearly all the old-growth redwood trees at Russian River Redwoods were cut down more than 100 years ago—all except the Clar Tree. This ancient giant measures 16 feet in diameter. It stands 278 feet tall after the intense winter storms of 2023 sheared roughly 30 feet off the top. The Clar Tree is surrounded by younger mature redwoods; many are a century old and are regrowing from the roots of other ancient trees that once stood on the property.

The League plans to transfer the land to Sonoma County within a year for long-term stewardship and restoration to improve wildfire resilience and advance the forest toward old-growth form and function. Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District will support and help fund the transfer, and it will receive a conservation easement and recreational covenant over the property to ensure long-term protection and to create an opportunity for future access.

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The public can donate to support the protection of the Clar Tree and Russian River Redwoods on the Save the Redwoods League website. The matching grant from The Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria will match every gift made before Sept. 30, dollar-for-dollar, up to $500,000.


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MendoFever Staff
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Editor's Note: Whenever an article's byline reads "MendoFever Staff", the contents of that article were not composed by any of our reporters. Types of writing that will be attributed to "MendoFever Staff" include press releases, letters to the editor, op-eds, obituaries— essentially writing that is not produced by a reporter.

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