Habitat & Wildlife Division

The Nvn-nvst-'aa~-ta Habitat & Wildlife Division is based on the Tribal Environmental Plan FY2019-2022 and the Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation Strategic Plan. This division focuses on research, data collection, traditional knowledge, best available science and partnerships to inform restoration, adaptation and active stewardship, on a landscape level, to land, plants, and wildlife within Taa-laa-waa-dvn (Tolowa aboriginal territory). The goals of this division include the following:

  • Protect the legal right for Tribal hunting and gathering.
  • Habitat restoration and adaptation through the gathering of baseline and/or monitoring data on priority species, related habitats, indicators, and human uses.
  • Increase access to high quality traditional food and utilitarian plants.
  • Support pollution prevention and/or minimize environmental impacts on Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation properties and Traditional Cultural Properties.
  • Develop capacity for fuels reduction workforce, prescribed & cultural burning and forest health improvement.

Habitat & Wildlife 

Current Projects

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tribal Region 9:

    • Indian Environmental General Assistance Program (GAP) – This funding provides opportunity for the Nation to strengthen and increase capacity for environmental management decisions, designing projects and programs that respond to environmental threats, and to access other funding sources. This guidance enhances the Nation's ability to build tribal environmental program capacities that are aligned with the Nation's long-term goals, and measuring environmental program development progress over time.
      This program provides funding for program administration, information management, the Tribal Environmental Plan, communications- education and outreach, consultation, coordination and partnerships, professional development, solid waste management and baseline needs assessments.
    • Clean Water Act (CWA) 319– This funding is to develop and finalize the See-cha~ Tr'ee-ghii~-i~ (Lopez Creek) Watershed Plan, with goals to identify and select priority projects related to resource concerns for water and non-point source pollution in this watershed. See-cha~ Tr'ee-ghii~-li~ is currently the sole source for the Nation's drinking water system. 
    • Brownfields Multipurpose Clean-up This funding provides for planning, abatement and clean-up of the Xaa-wan'-k'wvt Village and Resort South R.V. Park Recreational Hall, the old Ship Ashore Registration office and surrounding parking area, and the existing Maintenance Yard. Clean-up activities will result in the restoration of ~11 acres for cultural, recreational and commercial uses. The Nation's intention is to continue active stewardship of the landscape through cleanup, redevelopment and restoration initiatives; with a vision to transform the village into a focal point of the surrounding region, while improving the health and safety of our community; contributing to broader environmental preservation and habitat restoration; and increasing local economic opportunities. For more information or to make comments regarding the Xaa-wan'-k'wvt Village & Resort South R.V. Park Brownfields Clean-up contact: Cynthia Ford, Habitat & Wildlife Manager Natural Resources Department, cynthia.ford@tolowa.com.
  • Institute of Museum and Library Services Tr'aa-may Xwee-nish-dvn - 


    The proposed project establishes a living, native plant and seed library and a plant propagation nursery at Sri’-srwvlh (Gilbert Creek). The library and nursery will support the preservation of important aspects of Tolowa cultural history and tradition. This project will repurpose Sri’-srwvlh as a learning space to house a live collection of plants found throughout the Taa-laa-waa-dvn including those traditionally used for food, medicine, and materials. This living library collection will educate community members about native plant identification, Tolowa plant names, respectful and sustainable harvesting, processing and uses, propagation, and cultivation techniques.

  • Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation Food Sovereignty Building - 


    This project is using COVID relief funds to design and construct a facility to improve the capacity for the Nation and its citizens to process, store and distribute traditional and quality foods and utilitarian materials.

  • Traditional Plant Management Scenario –


    This funding is through the Intertribal Agriculture Council for the purpose of expanding the scope of Natural Resources Conservation Services conservation planning approaches on Tribal lands, to be more inclusive of Traditional forms of land management for foods, fiber, and other useful cultural products derived from active land management of controlled lands, through direct collaboration with Tribal stakeholders. The Nation’s goal is to establish protocols based on Traditional Ecological Knowledge, living culture, and western science to inform active management of tribal resources and lands; maintain cultural & community vitality; restore traditional management practices; and support resilient and biodiverse habitats. The Nation is developing and implementing this project on 'E'sr-k'aa-ni located in Smith River, Ca.

  • National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, Low Divide, Hiouchi and Big Flat Fuels Management Project-


    This is a project of the Smith River Collaborative, a forest collaborative combined of nine diverse stakeholders. The project is to treat 300 acres of vegetation located within four strategically placed fuel breaks to protect Low Divide, Hiouchi and Big Flat; urban wildland interface communities. The project is located on National Forest System lands administered by the Smith River National Recreation Area of the Six Rivers National Forest. The project area consists of four fuel breaks that include initial and/or maintenance treatments. Maintaining these fuel breaks will provide additional defensible space and will assist with control efforts in the event of a wildland fire threatening private property. Activities include mechanical treatment of the 300 acres using handheld mechanized equipment, hand piling and covering of all cut and down woody debris, roadside mastication within the road prism and invasive broom removal in specific areas. The work will be jointly performed by the Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation, County of Del Norte, and Alder Camp Conservation Camp crews (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection). Expected results include reduced risk of severe wildfires, reduction in the spread of invasive broom, and local workforce development capacity to address a long term fuels reduction strategy. In addition, this work promotes healthy habitat for the promotion of traditional plants and wildlife species while increasing the quality of these resources as well as increased opportunities for traditional harvesting.

  • Chis-chu (Elk) Management-


    Tolowa Dee-ni' have relied on chis-chu as a cultural resource since time immemorial. Chis-chu provide us with sustenance and utilitarian materials that are used for our tools and ceremony. On June 14, 2018 the Nation adopted protocols in the Harvest Title that provide for sound management of fish, wildlife and plants that are based on traditional law passed down orally over countless generations. In addition, our program works cooperatively with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to achieve co-management responsibilities, through a Memorandum of Understanding (2018) relative to the tagging and monitoring of the local chis-chu populations. Staff conducts regular and opportunistic observations of cis-chu including population counts, health/disease surveillance and collection of samples for Treponema Associated Hoof Disease. The Nation uses this information to inform management decisions for chis-chu including harvesting and habitat restoration. Staff is responsible for the collection, processing and distribution of cis-chu on behalf of the Nation.

Plans and documents related to the Habitat & Wildlife Program:

  • TDN Tribal Environmental Plan
  • TDN Tribal Code Title 16- Harvest Title
  • 2021 Chis-chu Naa-tr'vlh-xat (Roosevelt Elk, Cervus canadensis roosevelti Hunt) Regulations
  • TDN Solid Waste Management Plan
  • TDN Land Use Ordinance
  • TDN Forestry Management Plan
  • Pesticide Usage and the Smith River Plan