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karuk tribe
department of natural resources 

*This position has been filled*

karuk dnr.jpeg

Orleans, CA

Ecocultural Revitalization and Collaborative

Stewardship Projects on Karuk Lands

Desired Skills/Traits:

  • Natural Resource management or computer science

  • Data analysis, ESRI, GIS Management

  • Basic understanding of R, Arcade, Python, SQL

  • Experience or interest in Traditional Ecological knowledge &  tribal sovereignty

  • Collaborative & holds appreciation for nature


Openings: 0 of 1

Focus Area: Forestry/Fire

Climate Mitigation & Adaptation, Ecological Forestry, Watershed Management, Fire Preparedness & Management, Wildlife - Prescribed Fire and Natural/Cultural Resources Management

project breakdown







Education & Outreach


Goals & Needs

The Karuk Tribe is a federally recognized Indian Tribe occupying aboriginal land along the middle course of the Klamath and Salmon Rivers in Northern California. The Karuk Department of Natural Resources, which is the interested applicant for this program, is located in Orleans, California. The Mission of the Karuk Department of Natural Resources is to protect, enhance and restore the cultural/natural resources and ecological processes upon which Karuk people depend. 

The desire is that the GrizzlyCorps member would be able to assist in essential GIS and data stewardship functions for the GIS Division of the Karuk DNR, namely for the Western Klamath Restoration Partnership (WKRP), but also might provide GIS support to all divisions of the DNR including cultural resources management, fire, and wildlife projects. 

The Western Klamath Restoration Partnership (WKRP) is one of the main collaborations the Karuk Tribe is a co-lead on. WKRP is a collaborative land and fire management effort between Tribal, Federal, and Non-Governmental (NGO) stakeholders in the Western Klamath Mountains of Northern California. It is based on 20 years of collaborative work between diverse partners, ultimately forming the WKRP in 2013. It spans two national forests—the Klamath and Six Rivers—and includes the communities of Weitchpec, Orleans, Somes Bar, Forks of Salmon, Cecilville, Sawyers Bar, Happy Camp, Seiad Valley, and much of the Karuk Tribe’s ancestral territory. Historically, the Western Klamath Mountains experienced fires every 3 to 10 years. Fire suppression over the last 100 years has resulted in a fire deficit that the WKRP is working to mitigate. A hallmark of the partnership is the Karuk Tribe’s knowledge of fire, passed down from generation to generation. This “traditional ecological knowledge” (TEK) shows us that traditional human/fire relationships of our past can guide the strategies of our future. ​

GrizzlyCorps members would have the opportunity to work at the forefront of the integration of TEK and Western science through planning and implementation by Karuk people on Karuk land responding to climate change and past mismanagement regimes. Karuk people have long been part of the ecosystem. Climate adaptation is about restoring human responsibilities and appropriate relationships to the natural world. Climate adaptations for species and habitats center around the revitalization of Karuk cultural management, the restoration of traditional fire regimes, reducing impacts from intervening factors, the expansion of Karuk tribal management authority and capacity, community engagement and public education, increased interjurisdictional coordination, and expanded research and monitoring.

Capacity Building Projects

  • Project 1: Develop a Fire and Fuels dashboard for sharing data within the interagency collaboration. Assist with the development of data collection tools for completed activities, including prescribed fire burn footprints and pile burn locations, with quantitative and qualitative metrics. This work will allow for enhanced collaboration and planning for prescribed and cultural burning across the landscape. 

  • Project 2: Assist in the development of a fire and fuels model for prescribed fire ignitions, using historical data, literature review and ethnographic interviews, in collaboration with the USFS, and Pacific Southwest Research Station. This work will grow Karuk Dept. of Natural Resources' ability to implement prescribed and cultural burning across the landscape. 

  • Project 3: Continue with the development of the Wildlife division field data collection tools. Aid in the development of a data display portal. Some of the current data driven projects that the Wildlife Division is engaged in focuses on Game Cam deployment and AI based image sorting, Elk habitat/ migration accessibility, and mapping. 

  • Projects 4: Contribute to capacity building through the development of documentation for use of data collection tools, while also providing training opportunities for staff in use of tools and applications. 

In 2021, our GrizzlyCorps Fellow focused primarily on supporting the Karuk Dept. of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Division with the development of the Wildlife division field data collection tools and aided in the development of a data display portal, providing essential support for some of the current data driven projects that the Wildlife Division is engaged in focuses on Game Cam deployment and AI based image sorting. In the coming year, it would be highly beneficial to the Wildlife Division for a Fellow to continue to build off the work from the previous year by helping to enhance their ability to track Elk habitat/migration accessibility, and mapping. 

Additionally, the projects for year 2022 would help to further build capacity for other divisions within the Department of Natural Resources while supporting shared project goals for the Karuk DNR and support the Fellow’s personal and professional growth. A majority of focus for year 2022 will be within the scope of prescribed fire and fuels reduction related activities that support project planning, implementation and interagency collaboration. It is important to continue to build transparency and data access related to prescribed fire in an effort to continue to build support and empower current employees.

Organizational & Community Highlights

The Karuk Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is a Tribal department that has seen exceptional growth since it was established in 1989. Founded with a single employee after Congressional appropriations were allocated to support fisheries management and the restoration efforts of the Tribe, DNR has grown into a multi-program department all sharing the common mission of protecting, promoting and preserving the cultural/natural resources and ecological processes upon which the Karuk depend. A focus of the department is to integrate traditional management practices into the current management regime, which is based on certain principles and philosophy. Our small but very talented and dedicated staff of less than 100 ensure that the integrity of natural ecosystem processes and traditional values are incorporated into resource management strategies. We work in a supportive and interdisciplinary/interdepartmental manner, recognizing how all of our collective work ties together to accomplish shared goals. Our employees include parents, students, care-providers, and dedicated community members, etc. and we recognize that our priorities might sometimes lie outside our work commitments, despite how important our work is. 
​The Karuk DNR is located in Northern California in Orleans, California, near the border between Humboldt and Siskiyou counties, and near the confluence of the Klamath and Salmon Rivers. It is one of the most beautiful and unique rural places with plenty of opportunities for people who love being in nature to explore and spend time hiking, swimming, fishing, and more. Although there are small local grocery stores, gas stations, post office, and a thriving food vendor schedule, the drawback to living in such a stunning place is that there is not much more until the towns of Eureka/Arcata roughly 80 miles to the southwest, or Ashland/Medford, OR roughly 140 northeast. The community is a small and tight-knit one, with a large demographic of tribal people native to this area, but is very welcoming and accommodating.

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