For Immediate Release
October 9, 2019
Amah Mutsun Land Trust Awarded State Funding for Stewardship of Quiroste Valley Cultural Preserve
Santa Cruz, California – The California Natural Resources Agency announced last week that Amah Mutsun Land Trust (AMLT) has been selected to receive $400k to carry out indigenous-based conservation and restoration work at Quiroste Valley Cultural Preserve (QVCP) in Año Nuevo State Park. The award was made through the competitive statewide Cultural, Community, and Natural Resources Grant Program, funded by Prop 68.
“These awards are a unique opportunity to help protect and celebrate important cultural resources while also building climate resiliency and expanding access to recreation,” California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot said. “We’re excited to support projects that enable communities to showcase traditional practices and promote sustainability.”
AMLT will use these funds to engage in a new phase of land stewardship work at QVCP in collaboration with the California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks), the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District (RCD), and Pie Ranch. With financial and technical support from State Parks and the RCD, AMLT’s Native Stewardship Corps has worked to reduce fuel loads in Quiroste Valley since 2018. This CCNR grant will support a new coastal prairie restoration program at QVCP, continued fuel reduction work, and an educational program led by Amah Mutsun docents.
AMLT Board President Valentin Lopez explained that this is an important project because it “allows our tribe to restore our relationship and spirituality to the land, to restore our native plants, and allows us to return ceremony the land, and fulfil our obligation to creator.”
The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band (AMTB) have held this vision for restoring and stewarding Quiroste Valley since 2006 when the tribe first partnered with State Parks and a team of researchers to carry out historical ecological research on indigenous resources at QVCP. Research demonstrated that Native people stewarded the land to maintain extensive coastal prairie in this location for over 1,000 years. Today, coastal prairie has almost disappeared from the California coast, replaced by exotic grasslands and woody vegetation.
EkOngKar Singh Khalsa, AMLT Executive Director stated, “AMLT is grateful to receive this generous grant. These funds will significantly increase our capacity for stewardship and support collaborative efforts to restore coastal prairie, promote indigenous landscape management methods and undertake native plant propagation within traditional Amah Mutsun tribal territory.”
Since 2018, the AMLT Native Stewardship Corps has been removing Douglas fir trees and harmful exotic species from QVCP to restore coastal prairie and reduce hazardous fuel loads. CCNR funds will allow AMLT to implement the next phase of this project, which involves planting native grassland plants and sowing native grassland seeds in areas where exotic and woody vegetation has been removed. In addition, this project will educate and engage members of the public in integrative resource stewardship based on indigenous values and methods.
California State Parks, Santa Cruz District Superintendent Chris Spohrer shared “We are very pleased to work with the Amah Mutsun Land Trust on this innovative project that will enhance Quiroste Valley’s coastal prairie and ensure ongoing indigenous stewardship of the cultural preserve.”
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