|A Refuge for Wildlife
Down in the Sacramento Valley, just outside Corning in Tehama county
lies a wetlands wildlife oasis. The Paskenta band of Nomlaki Native Americans
purchased close to nine hundred acres of former pasture to preserve it
as a wetlands. Everett Freeman is the Tribal chairman of the Paskenta
band of Nomlaki Native Americans, the tribe that owns this land, "Tehama
county is our aboriginal territory. This is where my grandfather's folks
Wetlands and grasslands once covered most of California's broad valleys.
They provided a winter haven for millions of waterfowl migrating along
the Pacific flyway. Today, many wetlands have been drained and covered
by development, leaving birds to rely on farmland and the occasional wildlife
refuge to rest their weary wings. In essence, the Paskenta band is turning
the clock back to recapture the lost habitat. But in order for the restoration
to benefit the tribe it needs to be economically viable. The Rolling Hills
casino is the tribe's main source of income, but they're looking for other
ways to sustain themselves.
Like the rest of the tribes in California here we're hoping we don't
have to be dependent on gaming we hope we can bring in other economic
developments and get away from gaming if that's possible and that's one
of our goals, Everett explains.
And that's where Brad Henman comes in. He leases out land for the Clear
Creek Sports Club, a hunting lodge he maintains on the reservation. To
attract ducks and geese, game birds such as pheasants, deer, turkey and
the predators that follow require different habitats and different types
of food. Of course, the real key to creating wetlands is water, a resource
that's part of the tribe's history. A modern irrigation system provides
water when rain isn't enough. This wetlands restoration is a relatively
new project, but ultimately, the Paskenta people hope it creates a lasting
place that birds and other wildlife can call home.