Yurok Tribe Lake Prairie Power Line Extension Environmental Assessment

The Yurok Tribe (Tribe) retained LACO to prepare an environmental assessment (EA) to extend power and telephone services to remote rural communities near the village of Weitchpec, Humboldt County, California.

The Tribe has been working for many years to provide basic energy services to Tribal members on the Reservation. Because of the remote location of the Reservation in a deep canyon along the Klamath River between its confluence with the Trinity River and the Pacific Ocean, grid electricity is still unavailable to a substantial portion of the Reservation’s residents, causing hardship for Tribal members and severely thwarting economic development. The Reservation’s location, straddling two counties in the most remote corners of two large utility companies’ service territories, presents numerous difficulties in providing adequate and consistent energy services to all residents. Efforts to promote sustainable development on the Reservation are impossible without a reliable and affordable source of electrification and basic phone service. The Tribe is particularly sensitive to the needs of tribal elders, of which there are many on the upriver section of the Reservation. The Tribe’s goal is to provide reliable, safe power and telephone service needed for these elders, the handicapped, and the general population.

Our project team assisted the Tribe in achieving their goal by preparing an the EA under the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Bulletin 1794A-601 and in accordance with the revised Environmental Policies and Procedures, 7 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1794. The proposed project involves approximately 2 miles of power line to be extended from the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) grid in Weitchpec near State Route 169, up and along portions of several named and unnamed, unimproved rock surfaced roads. The power line will be installed above ground through steep and rugged, predominantly forestland of redwood, Douglas fir, and oak, and will require approximately 100 power poles. In addition, Verizon will string overhead telephone lines from on the newly installed poles.

This project will extend power and telephone service to single family residences and a small community water system within the Yurok Indian Reservation in the Weitchpec District where those services were previously unavailable.

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