Now that Iron Gate Reservoir is draining, and acres of muddy slopes are being revealed, many are wondering when the replanting effort will begin.

It began the day after the reservoir started to recede.

The Yurok Tribe dispatched crews to spread a mix of native seeds over large areas.  The seeds were collected from the area since 2018 and then commercially grown, year after year, until there are now billions in storage for the project.Bags filled with seeds

Tens of thousands of acorns harvested by hand last fall are being planted, also by hand, in predetermined plots.

High priority tributaries are receiving a special planting focus because salmon will be coming back after decades of absence.  Areas close to homes will also receive special attention.

The restoration of the reservoir footprint is well underway as crews follow the waterline down the slope, taking advantage of the moisture in the sediment.

The overall revegetation effort is directed by Resource Environmental Solutions (RES), the nation’s largest ecological restoration firm. One of their hallmarks is a performance guarantee.  The job is not over until regulatory agencies agree that the planted area is performing at a level that meets preestablish criteria. This will likely take several years.

Planting seeds along the bank of the river

So RES will serve as long-term stewards of the landscape, monitoring and maintaining the 2,200 acres of restored land.

It is pedal to the metal for the restoration project even though the dams have not yet been removed.  Stay tuned for updates.