MEA Partnerships  

Mendocino Land Trust
Salmon Restoration Association
Mendocino Area Parks Association 
Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc.  

MEA has formed partnerships with these four important local environmental organizations. 

In 2013 we added the Mendocino Land Trust (MLT) as a new partner.  Specifically, we hope to aid their efforts in conserving and restoring the watershed habitats which feed Big River.

We are continuing our alliance with the Salmon Restoration Association (SRA), which supports improvement of salmon fisheries and provides environmental education; and Mendocino Area Parks Association (MAPA), a non-profit organization which provides education and restoration support for the seven state parks in our area.   


The Mendocino Land Trust (MLT) is a non-profit organization formed to conserve important natural resources of Mendocino County, including working farmlands and forests, wildlife habitat, open space, scenic vistas, watersheds, and to facilitate public access.  To date their efforts have resulted in the conservation of over 11,000 acres of land in Mendocino County. This includes 7,334 acres of the Big River estuary and surrounding forestland, over 3,500 acres in conservation easements throughout the county, 1,689 acres at Ridgewood Ranch, 75 acres at Caspar Beach and Caspar South Uplands and 55 acres at Navarro Point Preserve.

The Land Trust is pursuing additional conservation opportunities throughout Mendocino County. Mendocino Eco Artists (MEA) has formed a partnership with the Mendocino Land Trust to help specifically with their efforts to restore the forest and stream habitats of the watershed which feed Big River.  This region has been seriously degraded over the past 150 years by logging and milling practices which are, fortunately, no longer used.  The health of the forest and watershed is also threatened by illegal activities happening now.            
A watershed can be compared to a tree’s roots: the tiniest roots feed into larger and larger roots which eventually bring water and nutrients to the tree growing upward.  In the same way, the smallest streams collect water and flow into larger and larger streams which eventually feed into Big River.  Big River flows miles down to where its fresh water mixes with the tidal flow of the Pacific Ocean’s salt water to form the Big River Estuary.  The estuary is an amazingly rich habitat of plants and animals.  Big River has the largest watershed in Mendocino County. stretching inland from a few miles north of Highway 20 and southeast along Comptche Ukiah/Low Gap Road to the Montgomery Forest.  The lands in the watershed are owned by Jackson State Forest, the California State Parks Department, many timber companies and private land owners, and the Mendocino Land Trust.  All of these owners are stakeholders in the Big River Watershed Coalition (BRWC), the arm of MLT concerned with the restoration and conservation of the entire watershed area.  

The SRA is a group of fishermen, biologists, and concerned businesses and citizens of the area which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year at its annual July fundraising event, the “World’s Largest Salmon BBQ,” in Fort Bragg.  The barbeque has given their mission national exposure and has become a media event featured in travel and food magazines and related television programs.  

The original goal of the SRA was to raise funds for the purpose of propagating young salmon in hatcheries located in their native streams.  The young salmon (“smolts”) were to be later released to continue their life cycle by migrating to the open ocean, maturing there, and then returning to the rivers and creeks where they began life to spawn.  This effort was found to be far less successful than biologists had hoped.  The water became too shallow and warm in the summer, and the sediment-filled creeks could not maintain enough oxygen for healthy growth.  New strategies needed to be adopted.  The Salmon Restoration Association was asked to focus its efforts on habitat restoration and particularly the Coho salmon.  The SRA now works to clean up the streams and creeks and to restore them to healthy habitats where Coho salmon can spawn on their own and their young can mature until time to return to the ocean.

Many local non-profit environmental organizations, as well as the California Conservation Corps, NOAA and other government entities are involved in this project.  


is a non-profit organization formed to benefit the local state parks.  MAPA provides high quality educational activities, interpretive programs and informative exhibits for our local state parks and promotes the restoration and conservation of park structures.  In addition they maintain year-round museum/visitors centers at six of the parks.  The well-trained volunteers who meet the public are supported by a small staff of naturalists and historians, some full-time but most seasonal. 

MAPA’s original mission was purely educational, but they have broadened their scope to include conservation and restoration of park facilities and historical structures.  And now, they are also working hard to raise public awareness of the great risk we take in letting the local parks be closed.

Each of the parks has its own individual gift to offer visitors, and each park has its own needs for maintenance, conservation and protection, as well as educational interpretation.  Each beach is different, each redwood grove is different, each historic structure is different.  They are all state treasures too valuable to be discarded.

These parks belong to all the residents of California, but many were once private property.  One of the treasures, Jughandle Creek Farm, was the residence of John Olmstead, son of Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr. whose survey of potential parklands identified Yosemite as a national park and led to the formation of the California State Parks system.  Jughandle, now part of a vital education center, is on the list of potential closures.  Other state parks on the “at risk” list are Point Cabrillo Light Station, Russian Gulch,Westport, Hendy Wood, Greenwood and Manchester.      



RFFI is located in Mendocino County and operates throughout California's redwood region.  RFFI is a unique partnership between foresters, industry representatives, environmentalists and community leaders, all focused on improving the future viability of both the forest ecosystem and forest-based communities.  It seeks to link all aspects of a community in a way that incorporates economic, ecological and social equity values into all decisions.

Community-based management means that residents with long-term interests define goals and decide how to sustainably manage their forestlands.  In order to make this possible, RFFI buys a large tract of forest and puts a conservation easement on it to permanently protect it from development, fragmentation and over-harvesting.  

RFFI is pioneering a unique funding strategy for conserving natural resources. The purchase of depleted forest lands is funded by private financing, e.g. Bank of America loan. The sale of a conservation easement and a tract of ancient redwoods to Save the Redwoods League,  along with funding from forest revenues and ecosystem services are being used to pay the debt. RFFI is actively pursuing financial support for conserving redwoods as a way to sequester carbon and address climate change. Public funds and private donations are being used to restore the forest and its watersheds.

RFFI began in 1997 and was the first non-profit (501(c) 3) organization in the nation created to own and manage industrial timberland for long-term regional, environmental, social and economic benefit.  In 2007, the first property purchased was the Usal Redwood Forest, a 50,000 acre tract in Mendocino County.  In the seven years since, RFFI has improved roads, restored streams, created fire breaks, conducted salmon spawning surveys, and used Best Management practices to improve habitat, water and soil quality.

For more information see


is a non-profit organization providing educational programs for youth and the public and hands-on opportunities to do the unexpected, like help rearticulate a giant 73-foot blue whale skeleton!  The vision for the Noyo Center includes research and educational programs, and the building of a world-class facility for research, education and tourism.  Their Mission Statement:  To explore our dynamic connection to the ocean.  We envision making our dramatic (and previously inaccessible) coastline available for innovative scientific research, hands-on education and natural resource stewardship.  


Mendocino Eco Artist members are continually creating works of art which showcase the natural beauty of our region.  These are exhibited and offered for sale with 30% of the proceeds going to our partners’ projects.  

Original paintings, donated by the artists, are raffled with 100% of the ticket sales going to the organizations.  At each of the exhibits, there are informational materials about the organizations, their missions and projects, and suggestions on how everyone can help.  Many MEA member artists also participate in local arts and environmental events to help increase awareness of the important missions of our partner organizations.  

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