The sale of the Sek-wet-se property to the Coquille Tribe is significant in restoring the Tribe’s ancestral homeland.
The sale of 3,200 acres of forestland in Curry County to the by EFM to the Coquille Tribe will not only restore a critical part of the Tribe’s ancestral homeland, but will also significantly improve wildlife habitat by connecting the property to the adjacent Grassy Knob Wilderness area and other U.S. Forest Service wilderness areas in the Siskiyou National Forest. The property (previously known as the Sixes) was re-named Sek-wet-se by the Tribe.
The sale of Sek-wet-se to the Coquille Tribe is the kind of transaction that EFM seeks in order to deliver positive financial, social, and environmental outcomes, while improving forest management practices and long-term, local land ownership. EFM acquired the Sek-wet-se property in 2006, and has been working to restore riparian habitat, improve species diversity, and lower the presence of invasive plants, while working towards an anticipated sale to the Tribe.
EFM co-founder and CEO Bettina von Hagen commented, “We are thrilled to assist the Coquille Tribe in reestablishing its territory and cultural traditions. Sek-wet-se is a truly unique property and will significantly benefit from the Tribe’s ecological forestry practices and commitment to riparian restoration. This is a great affirmation of EFM’s strategy to acquire and restore significant forestland and sell it to perpetual conservation-oriented owners–we look forward to many more transactions with tribes, land trusts, municipalities, conservation buyers and federal and state agencies.” The Sek-wet-se property was once part of the Coquille’s ancestral homeland and the Tribe has found evidence of a cultural site at the confluence of Dry Creek and the Sixes River, and the property contains a mix of timber, culturally significant plants, salmon habitat, and hunting and foraging habitat, attributes at the heart of their land repatriation strategy.
Federal treaties creating a Coquille homeland were never ratified and many Tribal members were forced to move to what is now the Siletz Reservation. The Oregon Resources Conservation Act of 1996 restored the 5,400 acre Coquille Forest in Coos County, Oregon to the Coquille Tribe. Unlike other forests held in trust for and managed by federally recognized tribe under the National Indian Forest Resources Management Act, the “standards and guidelines” of adjacent federal forests, currently the Northwest Forest Plan. While most federal forests have not met their timber production expectations under the Northwest Forest Plan, the Coquille Forest is considered to have met all social, ecological and economic outputs of the Plan. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified the Coquille Forest in September 2011.
The re-acquisition of the Sek-wet-se Forest significantly advances cultural restoration of the Coquille Indian Tribe. This forest will provide a place for the Tribe to transfer cultural knowledge between generations and expand its sustainable land management practices. We are so grateful for our partnership with EFM and are committed to making this project a success for the Tribe and for Curry County.
— BRENDA MEADE,
CHAIRPERSON OF THE COQUILLE INDIAN TRIBAL COUNCIL
The property includes habitat for the northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, and other key species but is particularly noted for its importance to salmonids. Matt Swanson of the Curry Country Soil and Water Conservation District notes, “Dry Creek is the most important tributary to the Sixes River, in regard to salmon production and water quality. In some years it accounts for 60 percent of the Chinook run, and it supports stable populations of Coho, Steelhead and cutthroat. More than half of the spawning and rearing takes place in Dry Creek, downstream of the Grassy Knob Wilderness on the Sixes property.” These conservation values will be maintained and enhanced by the Coquille Tribe, which plans to continue its FSC-certified management.