One of the first relicensing project initiatives for Southern California Edison’s FERC Alternative Licensing Procedure was focused on the restoration of Jackass Meadow Sedge Beds, a Native American culturally sensitive site located in the high Sierra Nevada mountains. Historically, Jackass Meadow was flooded with water and sandy soil that helped the sedge roots, traditionally used by Native Americans for basket weaving, grow strong. The beds were negatively impacted by the construction of Florence Dam and subsequent uncontrolled releases through the meadow coupled with years of cattle grazing and noxious weed growth.
Description of Services
Members of the team organized volunteers and set up meetings to tackle the issue. Resources were balanced through a collaboration between environmental and cultural professionals, NGOs and the surrounding communities. Initial team members reached out to the community via telephone, mailings and word-of-mouth to the community and schools in the surrounding area. As word spread, the team grew to a crew of 40 volunteers from the utility, the Sierra National Forest, the High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew, the North Fork Mono Nation, the North Fork Rancheria and the Big Sandy Rancheria. On the last night, staff worked with Native Americans and the USDA-FS to create a collective presentation on the use of the area from pre-historic times to the present. Approximately 200 community members showed up for the presentation, and heard from Native Americans, agencies, and staff.
Over the next five years, the length of the roots increased four-fold, and finally reached a useable length suitable for basket weaving. The sedge bed regrowth provides the Native American Communities once again with not only a great gathering place, but also the opportunity to harvest the sedges for basket weaving. More importantly, the Native American community now has a stable environment to pass along their century-old traditions to many generations to come.