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U.S. EPA awards more than $86,000 to Northern California tribes following major illegal dump cleanups

Release Date: 09/15/2009
Contact Information: Nahal Mogharabi, 415-947-4307,

More than 200 tons of trash, 400 vehicles removed from Klamath River Watershed

SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded a $38,553 grant to the Yurok Tribe and $47,798 to the Karuk Tribe in Northern California to improve solid waste management practices within their communities following significant illegal dump cleanups led by a state-funded contractor with assistance from the tribes.

To date, more than 200 tons of solid and hazardous waste, including tires, appliances, batteries, flammable and toxic solids, and 400 vehicles have been removed from the Klamath River watershed. The cleanup effort began in October 2008 and has since significantly reduced health threats caused by illegal dumping along the Klamath and Trinity Rivers.

The tribes will use the EPA grants to integrate and expand current recycling programs and develop a system to track current recycling in an effort to move their communities back toward sustainable waste management practices.

“This collaboration between tribes, state and federal agencies and local organizations is leading to significant improvements in the Klamath Watershed,” said Jeff Scott, director of the Waste Management Division for the Pacific Southwest region. “These cleanup efforts have benefited the tribe and Humboldt County residents, and improved critical habitat for threatened species, such as Chinook salmon and the Northern Spotted Owl. The EPA’s new grants will build on these successes.”

The awards follow large cleanup efforts of solid and hazardous waste from the Yurok, Hoopa and Karuk tribal lands, in collaboration with state, federal and local agencies. These efforts gained significant momentum in August 2008, when the California Integrated Waste Management Board approved $800,000 in funding to clean up illegal dump sites on the Yurok Reservation with assistance from the U.S. EPA, Indian Health Services and the Yurok Tribe.

"Years of prolonged illegal dumping can be devastating to the environment and to public health," said Board Chair Margo Reid Brown. "The Board is proud to partner with the Yurok Tribe and federal agencies to assist in cleaning up this fragile Klamath River eco-system."

“The California Integrated Waste Management Board funding was pivotal in moving progress forward,” Scott noted.

The Klamath River Basin, which covers 10.5 million acres in southern Oregon and Northern California, is home to six federally-recognized Tribes and several National Wildlife Refuges, parks and forests. The Klamath Basin has been embattled in natural resource issues including water allocation, water quality, and threatened and endangered species. The Klamath River is also a major producer of salmon on the West Coast.

For more information on the cleanup efforts on Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa Tribal lands, visit:

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For more information on the Klamath River Basin, visit:


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